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Simnel Cake – traditional British Easter Cake
makes 1 x 25cm cake

strong>for the cake
250g plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, very soft but not melted
50g milk, warmed to blood temperature
2 pinches of saffron strands
250g caster sugar
4 extra large eggs (61g), warmed in hot tap water
350g cake flour
5g baking powder
10g mixed spice
100g chopped mixed candied peel
300g of sultanas
350g currants
2 large lemons, grated rind and strained juice
brightly coloured foil wrapped small Easter eggs
3 or 4 ornamental little Easter chickens
1.5 meters wide satin ribbon
1 sheet of plain cellophane

for the marzipan
50g warmed sieved apricot jam
500g blanched flaked almonds
350g caster sugar
10g bitter almond, available from most speciality food shops
egg white

tin 25cm seamless cake tin

Method
Using the extra tablespoon of butter, carefully butter the tin and line the base and sides with baking paper. Add the saffron to the milk and heat until just below boiling, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Cream the butter, then add the sugar a little at a time and continue working until it is incorporated and worked into the butter. The grittiness should be gone — see tip
Add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next egg. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and adding milk a little at a time mix in the milk. Fold through the fruit, lemon rind and lemon juice and then turn the cake mix into the prepared tin.

Pre heat the oven to 150°ree;C
Watching that the cake does not burn bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 3 to 3. 5 hours, and turning the oven down if necessary. Test the cake by inserting a metal skewer into the centre of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven, run a knife carefully around the edge of the tin and allow it to cool until it is just warm to the touch at the bottom of the tin. Run the knife around the tin again, then invert the cake onto a rack and allow to cool completely.

to finish the cake
If you have a small food processor make the marzipan in two batches, however if you have one of the large Magi Mix it can be made in one batch. Put the almonds and caster sugar into a food processor and process on pulse until they are a coarse meal. With the motor running add the bitter almond, then sufficient egg white a little at a time until you have a firm, but not dry consistency.
Prick the cake with a skewer, brush the top and sides of the cake with the apricot jam, then transfer it to a serving plate. Take sufficient of the marzipan to cover the top of the cake, place it between two sheets of baking paper and roll it out. Remove the top sheet, and then carefully transfer the marzipan onto the top of the cake, press it down with your fingers, and then remove the paper. Use a metal spatula to smooth the top and sides of the marzipan. From the remaining marzipan make 11 small balls and arrange them around the edge of the cake, pressing them into the marzipan.
Fold the cellophane up along the long edge of the sheet until it is about 15cm, then fold in half, and using the scissors fringe the unfolded edge leaving about 3cm uncut on the fold. Unfold the cellophane to the 15cm again, and then wrap around the cake and secure wit h Sellotape. Tie the ribbon around the cake, making an attractive big bow on the best side of the cake. Arrange the coloured eggs and chickens decoratively in the middle of the cake.

tip
We powder caster sugar in our Thermomix or blender it speeds up the creaming process and improved the texture of cakes.
Dirty, greasy ovens smoke when hot and will darken the top of a cake far quicker than a clean oven.

history
“The fourth Sunday in Lent is traditionally kept as refreshment Sunday or Mothering Sunday and Simnel Cake is associated with it. Young country girls in service would visit their mothers on that day and give them a cake decorated with a crocus yellow crust of saffron bread. Today Simnel Cake has toasted marzipan on top to give a golden appearance and eleven marzipan balls are placed around the edge to represent the apostles (excluding Judas). For many years now Simnel cake has become a part of the Easter morning breakfast.”

Ref Feasts and Festivals published by the Mitcham Anglican Parish, South Australia


the people behind Galaxy Guidesfood editor and publisher
Ann Oliver
food-editor@galaxyguides.com

champagne editor
Kaaren Palmer
kaaren.palmer@galaxyguides.com

Contibutors

Jan Bowman
Political comentator, briliant photographer…farmers’s market obsessed…Brisbane based.

Olivia Stratton Makris
Masters of Gastronomy, NYC, Spain and constant assistance and editorial suggestion…Adelaide based.

Michael Martin…Northern America 2016.Photographic assistance Kym Martin…Adelaide based.

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copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver & Kaaren Palmer 2016.