As it's Easter I decided to make a traditional Simnel cake.
A Simnel cake is a light fruit cake which has a layer of marzipan in the centre and also on the top, the top is also decorated with eleven balls of marzipan around the edge which symbolise the true Apostles of Jesus. Judas is omitted. This cake is traditionally made at Easter time in Britain and Ireland, although it is not really that common any more which I think is a shame.
Originally the cake was made by girls to bring home to their Mothers on Mother's Day. The name Simnel is thought to be derived from the word Simila, which is the fine wheat flour from which they are made.
Their are several different versions of the cake but the most common and the version I have made is the Shrewsbury cake, some other versions use a raising agent or leave the marzipan out from the centre. I have also seen some which add chunks of marzipan mixed into the batter.
We ate ours after a fantastic Easter lunch of roast Lamb and I was very pleased with the result. I used a recipe from the BBC website although I made a few changes. I used a lot of dried apricot as well as the raisins and currants, just because I like the flavour, this made for a much lighter colour than usual. I also soaked the fruit in boiling water for a few minutes first which helped make the cake really moist and delicious.
I would certainly recommend this recipe, it is a lot simpler than it looks, and tastes really good, a lot lighter than Christmas cake and really fruity.
Recipe can be found here: Simnel Cake