Just in time for Easter, Executive Head Chef at Sopwell House, Gopi Chandran, has shared his fool-proof Simnel cake recipe. The traditional Easter treat has been enjoyed since the Medieval times as a cake symbolic of the Easter story. Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with a hidden almond centre and is adorned with eleven almond paste balls to represent the disciples (minus Judas).
•175 g soft butter or margarine
•175 g light muscovado sugar
•175 g self-raising flour
•175 g sultanas
•45 g dried apricots
•45g dried apples
•90 g glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed, and dried
•30 g candied peel, roughly chopped
•Grated Lemon zest
•1 tsp ground mixed spice
•500g almond paste
•2tbsp apricot jam
•1 egg white
Equipment: 7 inch deep round loose bottom cake tin.
1.Preheat the oven to 165?C.
2.Roll out one-third of the almond paste. Using the base of the cake as a guide, cut out an 18cm disc.
3.Grease the cake tin, then line the bottom and side with greaseproof paper.
4.Combine all the cake ingredients in a bowl. Beat well until thoroughly blended. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Top with the pre-cut disc of almond paste.
5.Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top of the disc and smooth the surface.
6.Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. If the cake is browning too quickly cover the top of the cake with greaseproof paper.
7.Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin, and leave to cool fully.
8.Warm the apricot jam and brush on top of the cake.
9.To decorate the cake, roll out half of the remaining almond paste and use the tin to cut out another 18cm disc. Put it on top of the jam and crimp the edges. Roll the remaining almond paste into 11 even-sized balls. Place the balls evenly around the edge of the cake, attaching them with egg white.
10.Brush the tops of the balls and the almond paste top with egg white. Place under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes until golden.
Sopwell House is a stunning Georgian manor house located in the city of St. Albans deep within the Hertfordshire countryside. Located only 20 minutes from London St. Pancras, the hotel is the idyllic getaway just outside of the hustle and bustle of the capital. The hotel is the perfect place to dine boasting two restaurants, an elegant cocktail lounge, and conservatory bar, all of which look out on 12-acres of beautiful gardens.
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