Simnel Cake is a traditional Easter favourite and this version made with vitamin-rich Carotino Healthier Cooking Oil has a wonderful deep colour from the naturally golden, carotene-rich oil. The 11 marzipan balls on the top are said to represent 11 of the apostles - minus Judas!
170ml Carotino Healthier Cooking Oil
250g self-raising flour
250g demerara sugar
5 medium eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
75g chopped glace cherries
50g ground almonds
1kg dried mixed fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants)
50g apricot jam
Before you start, preheat the oven to 140°C/ 275°C and grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
Mix the milk, sugar and Carotino Healthier Cooking Oil together in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and then fold them into the oil and sugar. Next, sieve the flour, cinnamon and mixed spice into a separate bowl and add the ground almond. Fold the mixture into the bowl with the milk, sugar and oil to make a smooth batter. The add the mixed fruit and glace cherries and fold in.
Next, spoon half the mixture into the cake tin. Roll out around half the marzipan to circle a little smaller than the diameter of the cake tin and place it on top of the cake mixture. Pour the remaining mixture on top and level the surface, spreading it out as evenly as possible. Leave it to one side to rest for 10 minutes before baking and cover with greaseproof paper.
Bake for 2 hours 45 minutes until cooked thoroughly and firm to touch, but be prepared to add a little extra time if needed. (Use a skewer to test it. If the skewer comes out clean it’s ready.)
Turn out the cake onto a wire rack and turn and leave to cool. Once the cake is room temperature, heat the jam and brush it over the top to act as ‘glue’ to stick on the marzipan topping. Leave aside a chunk of marzipan sufficient to make 11 small balls, then roll out the rest of the marzipan to into a circle to fit over the top of the cake. Finally place under a grill for a few minutes to brown the top. Decorate with Easter themed trimmings!