I unearthed this recipe from my mum's battered, handwritten recipe book - so well used, the brown cover is mottled with the fingermarks of bakers past. To be honest, I've a few cherished recipes where the pages stick together as I'm always turning them with cake batter, or flour on my fingertips. The simnel cake began life in medieval times as a bread and the name Simnel is derived from the type of flour used to bake it Simila. This was a high grade flour. It evolved into a boiled pudding before becoming the cake we know now. In my view, the marzipan is the element that raises this cake into utter yuminess. Best enjoyed with a cup of filtered coffee in my view.
225g softened butter
225g SR flour
2 tsp mixed spice
400g mixed dried fruit
150g light brown sugar
50g golden syrup
4 medium eggs - beaten
Dessert spoon apricot jam
Icing sugar for dusting
1) pre-heat oven to 170c (150 fan) gas mark 3
2) Grease a 20cm round cake tin with butter and line with baking parchment
3) Stir flour, mixed spice and dried fruit together in a large bowl
4) In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine with a large spoon.
5) Put into the prepared tin and bake for 1.5 hours or until the cake is has risen and is springy to touch. Set aside to cool.
6) Dust a surface with some icing sugar and roll ou the marzipan. Size using the baking tin. Warm the jam in a small dish in the microwave or over a small pan of water. When runny, spread over the cake. Stick the marzipan to this. Shape the edges as desired.
7) Roll any leftover marzipan into balls with your palms.. Use a blow torch to brown them off. Use a teaspoon to create a channel around the edge of the marzipan on the cake so the balls won’t roll off.
100g ground almonds
125g Caster Sugar
300g Plain flour
1 medium egg
1 medium egg yolk
Baking tray, greaseproof paper/parchment, cookie cutters of choice - one large, others smaller to cut holes in the top section of the cookie.
100g icing sugar
dash of vanilla extract
Jam of choice
1) grease a non stick baking tray and line with a baking sheet.
2) Mix the ground almonds and flour together.
3) Cream the sugar and the butter.
4) Whisk the eggs and beat very slowly into the sugar and butter mixture
5) Add the flour mixture gradually, beating as you go until you have a soft dough.
6) Divide in 4 patties and store in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight)
7) Pre-heat oven 180 degrees, fan 160 degrees, gas mark 4
8) Take the dough from the fridge and let it rest for about 10 minutes. When it feels soft enough to roll out do so to a thickness of 2mm. Use your cutter to make the shapes you want and place on the baking tray. This mix doesn't spread so you don't have to leave a lot of space.
9) roll out the second batch and use the same cutter for the shape. Then cut out your centre hole with the smaller cutter.
10) Place on a baking tray.
11) cook for about ten minutes until golden.
12) Leave to cool and repeat process with the other two dough patties to make more cookies.
13) Make the buttercream by beating the butter and icing together. Spread this on the cooled cookie bases and add a blob of jam the size of the hole in the lid section.
14) Dust the lid with icing sugar if desired and then place on top of the filled base.
I had some oranges knocking around the house, and for Pancake Day I was inspired to try a this recipe from my dear friend Adina's website Pancake Planet. Sauce my own.
You will need:
375 ml of milk
100g of flour
1 teaspoon of sunflower oil
Juice and zest of 1 large orange
2 tblespoons of caster sugar
Melt the butter in a small pan until it turns a light brown and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour into a bowl. In another separate bowl, mix the milk with the eggs for 2-3 minutes using a hand mixer until you have a foamy, airy mixture.
Gradually add the milk and egg mixture over the flour and whisk until combined. Then add the butter and whisk again.
Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes.
Now prepare the sauce.
Pour the orange juice into a saucepan, and add the zest, butter and sugar. Bring to the boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer, cooking for a further 10-15 minutes, until the sauce becomes syrupy. Set aside.
When the pancake mixture has rested, oil your pancake pan or a non stick frying pan and set on a medium heat. Use a ladle to add some of the mixture to the pan - enough to leave a thin layer over the base. heat until the underside sets and turns golden (a couple of minutes) and then turn with a spatula until cooked both sides. Slide onto a serving plate, and continue to bake as many as you wish from the mixture (does about 8)
Serve with the orange sauce, or topping of your choice.
What reminds you of winter?
A Wedding Breakfast