If you haven’t already dressed the Easter table with something special, there’s still time for some baking. Today on the blog it seemed appropriate to share a seasonal recipe from Mary Berry. ‘This is now a traditional Easter cake,’ says Mary, ‘but originally it was given by girls to their mothers on Mothering Sunday. The almond paste balls represent the disciples of Christ.’ Enjoy baking and decorating Mary Berry’s authentic recipe here…
Mary Berry’s Simnel Cake
Cuts into 12 slices
175 g (6 oz) soft butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing
175 g (6 oz) light muscovado sugar
175 g (6 oz) self-raising flour
175 g (6 oz) sultanas
90 g (3 oz) currants
90 g (3 oz) glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed, and dried
30 g (1 oz) candied peel, roughly chopped grated zest of 1 large lemon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
Filing and decorati on 500 g (1 lb) almond paste
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 egg white
Deep 18 cm (7 in) round loose-bottomed cake tin
1 Roll out one-third of the almond paste. Using the base of the cake tin as a guide, cut out an 18 cm (7 in) round.
2 Grease the cake tin and line the bottom and side with greaseproof paper.
3 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 round of almond paste.
4 Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.
5 Bake in a preheated oven at 150°C (130°C fan, Gas 2) for 21⁄4 hours or until golden brown and firm to the touch.
6 Cover the top of the cake with greaseproof paper if it is browning too quickly. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin, and leave to cool completely.
7 Warm the jam and use to brush the top of the cake.
8 To decorate the cake, roll out half of the remaining almond paste and use the tin to cut out an 18 cm (7 in) round. Put on top of the jam and crimp the edges. Roll the remaining almond paste into 11 even-sized balls. Place around the edge of the cake, attaching them with egg white.
9 Brush the tops of the balls and the almond paste with egg white. Place under a hot grill for 1–2 minutes, until the balls are golden.
Recipe taken from Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook, DK, £25, dk.com
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