Jamie’s Easter Simnel Cake

Jamie
Jamie

Series 10

Lovers of marzipan will be in heaven with this fabulous cake – there are four layers of it to feast on!

Serves: 11
Difficulty: Easy
Hands-On Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
Baking Time: 1 hr
  • Ingredients
  • Method
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Method

Step 1
Make the marzipan. Place the egg and sugar together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved and the egg mixture is just warm. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk again for 5 minutes, until thick, creamy and cool. Mix in the almond extract, food colouring and ground almonds, then use your hands to knead until smooth. Divide the marzipan into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, to a circle measuring 15cm in diameter (use the cake tin as a guide).

Step 2
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4. Make the sponge. Beat the butter, sugar and golden syrup together in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until well combined, then stir in all the remaining sponge ingredients. Mix to a soft dropping consistency.

Step 3
Spoon one quarter of the mixture into one of the prepared tins, smooth the top, then top with a circle of marzipan. Spoon over another quarter of the mixture and smooth out. Repeat for the second cake tin.

Step 4
Place sponges in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 170°C/150°C fan/Gas 3. Bake for 45–50 minutes, until firm to the touch, then leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 5
Meanwhile make the jam. Put the strawberries into a medium pan over a low heat. Add the sugar and the lemon juice and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, then boil, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Skim off any foam from the top of the jam, then spoon into a bowl and allow to cool. (This will make too much jam, but use the remainder for toast or in a Victoria sponge.)

Step 6
To decorate the cake, brush the top of one cooled cake with a little jam and place one circle of marzipan on top. Brush with a little more jam. Place the second cake on top and press down. Brush the top and sides of the cake thinly with more jam and place the final circle of marzipan on top.

Step 7
Colour 250g of the sugar paste with green food colouring until you reach the desired shade. Place the sugar paste on a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and roll out to a 50 x 9cm rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut differently sized V-shapes all along one of the long sides to look like points of grass and then wrap the icing around the cake, points upwards. Trim the base to neaten.

Step 8
Colour 100g of the remaining sugar paste with yellow food colouring. Divide into 11 pieces and shape each piece into a chick using a knife to cut little V-shapes for wings. Colour the remaining icing orange and shape into beaks (discard any icing you have left over). Then, using the cake-decorating paintbrush, paint on the eyes with tiny dots of black food colouring. Arrange the chicks around the edge of the top of the cake to finish.