Sunday, March 18, 2012

Traditional Mothering Sunday Simnel Cake


Almond Paste

  • 400 g icing sugar , sifted 
  • 250 g ground almonds 
  • 1 large egg yolk , beaten lightly 
  • 3 -4 tablespoons orange juice 
  • 5 drops almond essence

  • 250 g plain flour 
  • 1 pinch salt 
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 280 g currants 
  • 250 g sultanas 
  • 110 g mixed peel 
  • 160 g butter 
  • 160 g caster sugar 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 200 ml milk , to mix 


CHECK LIST: a sifter, nest of bowls, food processor or electric beater, spatula, wooden spoon, 24 cm round cake tin, baking paper, brown paper and twine, rolling pin, thin metal skewer.


  • To make your own almond paste you will need a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Don't be tempted to use store-bought almond paste because it contains lots of sugar and few almonds, it will turn to liquid under the grill. 
  • Place icing sugar and almonds in food processor bowl. Process, slowly dripping in egg yolk, orange juice and almond essence. The mixture should form a pliable paste. 
  • Set aside a small portion for balls with which to decorate the cake. 
  • Roll out the remaining paste into 2 circles which are the approximate size of the tin. Set aside.  


  • Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F. 
  • Use a sturdy non-stick cake tub or line the buttered base with baking paper. As the baking period is long (1-1 1/2 hours), prevent the cake drying out by wrapping a double thickness of brown paper around the pan and securing it with twine. 
  • Sift flour, salt and spices together, then stir in fruit and peel. 
  • Cream butter and sugar thoroughly until light and creamy then beat in eggs one at a time, until the mixture is fluffy. (Reserve a drop of egg yolk for brushing over top layer of almond paste.). 
  • Stir flour and fruit into creamed mixture (you may need to add a little milk to give the mixture a dropping consistency).  


  • Place half the mixture into a greased and lined cake tin. 
  • Place one pre-rolled round of almond paste over the top. 
  • Cover with remaining cake mixture. Before baking the cake, give the pan of mixture a sharp tap on to a firm surface. This settles the mixture and prevents holes from forming in the cake. 
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a thin metal skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out without a trace of stickiness. 
  • Level the cake by placing a weighted plate on top of the cooked cake while it is still hot. 
  • Turn out cake on to a wire rack after leaving it to settle in the cake tin for between 10 and 15 minutes. Peel off paper and leave to cool completely. 


  • Cover the top of the cake with a second round of almond paste. Roll 11 small balls of paste and place evenly around the top of the cake. Brush the top with a little beaten egg and very lightly brown under the grill until the almond paste turns light golden brown. 
  • Remove and leave to cool.

Serves: 6-8
Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time: 2 hrs 30 mins 1 hrs 30 mins

by French Tart from