How to bake the perfect simnel cake

Simnel cake

Simnel cake - Credit: Archant

Kim Dearing of Oooh La Laa suggests a classic recipe that is easy to make and tastes delicious


8oz butter, softened

8oz soft brown sugar

4 free range eggs

8oz plain flour

Pinch of salt

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1 tsp mixed spice

1lb 5oz mixed fruit

1 lemon, zested

1 orange, zested

2lb good quality golden marzipan

2 tbsp apricot jam

Icing sugar

1 Preheat the oven to 140?C. Line an 8 inch deep round cake tin with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.

2 Dust the worksurface with icing sugar and roll out a third of the marzipan in a circle to fit the tin. Place to one side.

3 Beat the butter and sugar, adding one egg at a time to the mix. Add the mixed fruit, salt, mixed spice, lemon and orange zest and sieved flour. Mix thoroughly.

4 Spoon half the mixture into the tin, spreading evenly, then lay the circle of marzipan on top and spoon on the rest of the mixture.

5 Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 2 hours, until the cake is well risen and firm to touch. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before turning the cake out onto a wire rack.

6 Once cool, warm the apricot jam with a tablespoon of water and brush over the top of the cake with a pastry brush.

7 Roll out half the remaining marzipan in a circle to fit the top of the cake, place on top and crimp the edges using your fingers and thumb.

8 Roll the rest of the marzipan into a long sausage and cut into 11 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place evenly around the edge of the top of the cake. To help them stick, brush with a little water.

9 Lightly sieve icing sugar over the top of the cake. Place under a hot grill to brown, watching carefully to prevent the marzipan burning. Alternatively, use a kitchen blowtorch.

About Kim: Kim Dearing studied Home Economics at Sheffield University before setting up Matlock-based Oooh La Laa Cakes several years ago, selling homemade products at farmers markets, festivals and county shows. After spotting a gap in the market for French crêpes, Kim travelled to Brittany and trained in the art of making the traditional Breton-style crêpes. She has since expanded her business to include them, creating them with flour from Caudwell’s Mill in Rowsley.

Last year, Kim created a Derbyshire flag cake which was presented to HM The Queen on her visit to Chatsworth. In April, Kim will be attending: 3rd and 9th Buxton Pavilion Gardens; 2th-6th Denby Pottery Spring Food & Gift Fair; 11th-12th BASC Gamekeepers’ Fair, Catton Hall; 25th-26th Bakewell Food Festival. Oooh La Laa Crêpes is also available for private events.

Further details can be found at

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