Home Recipes Guide A simple Simnel cake recipe for your Mothering Sunday party

A simple Simnel cake recipe for your Mothering Sunday party

A Simnel Cake is the traditional two-layered light fruit cake that is made for Laetare Sunday, the middle Sunday of Lent that is also nicknamed Simnel Sunday, Sunday of the Five Loaves, Mothering Sunday and Refreshment Sunday in the UK, Ireland and other neighboring countries. Developed in medieval England, the cake is topped with eleven or twelve marzipan balls to represent Jesus and the twelve apostles excluding of course the notorious Judas. Here is an easy to follow but traditional take on the classic Easter recipe.

Prep time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 2 Hours

Servings: 10-12

Type: Fruit cake

Course: Dessert

Place of origin: UK


For the cake layers

Butter or margarine 175gms

Brown sugar 175gms

Beaten eggs 3 free-range

Plain flour 175gms

Salt a pinch

Ground mixed spice ½ tsp (optional)

Sultanas, currants and mixed raisins 350gms

Chopped mixed peel 55gms

Grated lemon zest ½

Apricot jam 2 tbsp

For the almond paste

Caster sugar 250gms

Ground almonds 250gms

Beaten eggs 2

Almond essence 1 tsp

For the glazing

Beaten egg 1 free-range


For the cake

Combine sugar and butter together till fluffy and pale and beat in eggs. In another bowl, soft flour, mixed spice and salt together and fold in the egg, sugar and butter mix. Stir in grated lemon zest, peel and mixed dried fruit. Pour the mix into a lined and greased 7 inch cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 140C or 275F for around 1 and ¾ hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool.


For the almond paste

In a bowl, combine ground almonds, sugar and beaten egg and mix till soft. Add almond essence and knead till smooth. Use the paste to roll out two 7 inch diameter circles and use the rest to make 11 or 12 small balls.

Decorating and finishing the cake

When cooled, cut the cake into two evenly thick circles. Brush the tops of both cake circles with apricot jam. Place the almond cake circle on the bottom half of the cake and place the other half of the cake on top. Place the second almost paste circle on top of it. Set the almond paste balls around the edges of the cake and glaze with lightly beaten egg. Place the decorated cake in preheated oven and grill on high for 1-2 minutes till the top begins to brown a bit.

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