Monday, March 31, 2008

Cake Everlasting - Simnel Cake

For those who live in dread of that other holiday fruitcake,
the Simnel cake just might be the one to convert you.

A rose for every apostle save Judas.

A rose for every guest who graces your table.

Simnel Cake – Heavily adapted from the Diana’s Desserts recipe


1 ½ sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 ¾ cups light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups mixed candied fruit peel and/or dried fruit, chopped and coated in all-purpose flower to prevent clumping (I used 1 cup currants, ½ cup candied orange peel, and ½ cup candied citron. Each measure was packed and generous.)

2 pounds prepared marzipan (I used Odense.) Directions here for making the roses.
1/3 cup jam, any flavor


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, dissolve the spices in the vanilla extract. Add to the creamed butter and sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour in ½ cup increments, again, beating well after each addition. Batter will be thick but light. With a wooden spoon or spatula, incrementally stir in the candied peel/dried fruit until well distributed.

Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-by-3-inch cake pan. Cut out a circle of parchment to line the bottom of the pan as well as one or more strips of parchment to line the sides of the pan. (If using multiple strips, it is helpful to use bag clips to hold them in place as you pour the batter in). Grease all surfaces of parchment with butter or a non-stick spray. Carefully pour the thick batter into the pan, removing clips, if applicable. Smooth the batter uniformly in the pan.

Bake for 60 - 80 minutes or until a knife or skewer pulls clean when inserted in the center of the cake. Start testing at 60 minutes, then every 5-10 minutes thereafter. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting over a large plate and peeling off the parchment paper. Keep the cake inverted. The underside will be crisply planed for decorating.

Divide marzipan in half. Roll each half between sheets of waxed paper. Roll one half to an 8 ½ inch round to cover the top of cake. Leave smooth or press in a design of your choosing. (I made the diamond pane with skewers.) Trim off any excess marzipan from cake edges. Roll the second half to cut out enough circles to create the roses (three circles per two roses). [Decorate with as many roses as desired; Christian tradition is eleven.] Gather up and roll again any leftover trim should you need to use it.

Arrange roses on top of cake. Either serve as is or toast the marzipan under the broiler until golden brown (about 8 minutes, but watch it carefully). The cake will more uniformly brown if you first toast the flat topping, then on a separate cookie sheet, toast the roses. Affix each rose to its position with a dab of jam.

Serves 8-10. --
Buttery and richly decorated with marzipan, yet crumbly
and light with currants and candied peels.

This post is dedicated to my Aunt Lloraine, who died on March 9, and my Aunt Doris, who died on March 23.

I am sending this post to Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie, hosting Easter Cake Bake - Round 2.

Been There, Done That ~

Easter Cake Bake 2007 - Lemon Curd Cheesecake
Maple Walnut Cake
Peach Rum Savarin


glamah16 said...

I have never heard of this cake.Its so beautiful. I love marzipan. My CS doesnt like a lot of sweets but would eat this!

Toni said...

OMG.......This is beyond the beyond. I can't imagine making roses for a cake. You've outdone yourself, and that's not an easy task!

TBC said...

Just checked out the Wiki link... have never heard of a Simnel cake before. It looks too pretty to be eaten!

Sorry to hear about the losses in your family, Susan. Hope you are coping well.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Sorry about the losses, Susan. And that is a beautiful way of mentioning them - the cake is beautiful.

Kelly-Jane said...

Sorry to hear of your sad news Susan.

A beautiful cake, made so pretty with your roses. You have been very inspired to make roses rather than the more ubiquious balls, bravo :)

sra said...

So sorry to hear about your Aunts Lloraine and Doris, Susan. May they RIP. The roses are pretty.

Simona said...

Beautiful cake, Susan. Sweet, and sad too.

Lisa said...

Very sorry to hear about your loss Susan. This is a lovely tribute. The roses are just perfect. I'm not a big fan of fruit cake, but this sounds wonderful.

The Passionate Palate said...

You're right - this looks like it convert non-fruitcake lovers. You are so talented; this is beautiful!

Vaishali said...

Susan, this is such an exquisite-looking cake. I was sitting next to my husband while looking at your site, and he was craving it rightaway! I don't know if a vegan version would be any good, but I'm tempted to try.

Lucy said...

A fitting tribute, my friend. A lovely, solemn cake presented with a balance of flair and restraint.

Reckon it'd do it for me. I really do hate that other fruit cake!

Lori Lynn said...

Beautiful cake.

So sweet and touching your dedication. Isn't it neat that we can share this through a blog? So sorry for your loss.

Nanditha Prabhu said...

you are an artist!....its so tempting , Susan!

Johanna said...

I love your roses - they are gorgeous! A fitting dedication to your aunts!

And I have never even considered toasting marzipan under the grill - but loving roasted almonds I imagine it tastes and smells wonderful!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Sorry to hear about your aunts, that is sad.

Your cake is really beautiful. Something I have never heard of before and am curious to taste!

Richa said...

those roses are soooo pretty!

sorry to hear about ur loss,Susan!

KayKat said...

Sorry about your aunts, Susan.

This cake looks sinfully good, I love those pictures!

Ann said...

Very beautiful-- both the cake and your words, as always.

Susan said...

Dear All - Thank you very much for your dear condolences. They mean a great deal to me. I will reply individually to your comments very soon. Kindest Regards. : }

syrie said...

Absolutely Stunning.

Sorry to hear your aunts.

Ricki said...

This looks so fantastic. I am glad you have this to channel your feelings of loss. This shows all your love, and the best tribute you could give them.

srikar's kitchen said...

looks fatastic dear.. great click... mouth watering... that roses are looks rael one... wow fantastic and delicious receipe....

Susan from Food Blogga said...

"Heavily adapted." I like your diction, Susan. I also really like this cake.

Cynthia said...

I am bowled over by the beautiful presentation of that cake. Simply outstanding.

eliza said...

i just have to sigh the minute i saw your cake. what a beautiful cake you made, looks so neat and perfect!

Margaret said...

This cake is very sophisticated. I love it.

Kim said...

Lovely tribute to your Aunts. I love the elegant simplicity of your cake.

Dhanggit said...

i have never tasted this cake before but judging from your beautiful photos i bet they are delicious. The combination of marzipan and buttery cake sounds sounds really good! allow me to borrow this recipe for my mom in law's bday next week :-) she loves marzipan :-)

have a nice weekend susan :-)

Susan said...

Thanks, Coco. I grew up on those little German pink marzipan pigs. Can’t resist marzipan, ever!
Toni – Thanks! The roses, believe it or not, were very easy.
TBC – Thank you for your kind words.

I am not fond of Wikipedia, but in this case the explanation was remarkably straight forward and correct.
Thank you very much, Patricia.
Thank you, dear Kelly-Jane. Making perfectly round, identically sized balls is a bit of a challenge. I will take a bow for the roses, though. : )
Thank you, Sra.
Simona – Yes, sad, too. It’s been a struggle. Thank you.
Thank you, Lisa. I’m not too fond of traditional fruitcake, either, but this one was worth it. I did bake another, with candied cherries for the currants, which I enjoyed even more.
Thank you, Jeni!
Vaishali – Thank you very much. I’m sure you could add some candied/dried fruit to your standard vegan cake recipe with good results.
An ideal description, Lucy. Solace is always enhanced with beauty.
Thank you, Lori Lynn. As my sister-in-law mentioned, blogging is a good way to channel thoughts and feelings, to connect with others who, perhaps, are going through the same things.
Thank you, Nanditha!
Johanna – Thank you. Toasting marzipan is a lovely way to enhance its sweet nuttiness.
Thank you very much, Gretchen.
Thank you, dear Richa.
KayKat – Thank you very much.
Ann – Thanks for your kind words.
Thank you for your visit, Syrie. I appreciate your kind words. Welcome.
Ricki – Thanks, Sweets. I must bake more often. : }
Thank you very much, Srikar. Good to see you. Welcome!
Thanks, Susan. The cake *was* heavy, too. : )
Cynthia – Thanks so much. I came out better than I expected.
Thank you, Eliza! Welcome. The marzipan sculpted beautifully. It was fairly easy to work with.
Welcome, Margaret! Thank you very much.
Kim – Thank you for your kind words and your visit. Hope to see you again.
Dhanggit – Thanks, dear girl. I hope your MIL likes it. I’ve just sent you some additional baking tips.

Baol said...

looks very very good :)

sunita said...

Susan, really sorry to hear about your losses. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

The cake, on the other hand is a thing of beauty. I have heard about simnel cakes and wanted to try it out for a long, I know where to look for inspiration :-)

Lisa said...

How wonderful! And—you had me at marzipan.

Susan said...

Benvenuto, Baol! Grazie. E 'bello vederla qui.
Thank you very much, dear Sunita. You are living in the ideal country for this cake. I've known about Simnel for a long time, but only made it this year. Somehow, the timing was just right.
Thanks, Lisa. Marzipan does me in, too. : D

Shaun said...

Susan, lovie ~ As much as I love almonds, I've never quite been sold on the stolid quality of marzipan. I love to look at it, though - it must be the pure white glow or ivory goodness. Fruit cake, however, I am a sucker for, providing it isn't dry - your Simnel cake looks divine (excuse the pun) - citrus peel and spice are essential to making a fuit cake with, well, balls.

Mansi Desai said...

that loks very very pretty! and the marzipan roses are indeed a great festive touch to the fabulous cake! lovely reicpe Susan! thanks for sharing:)

ANJALI J. said...

what a lovely cake.. u have amazing recipes..loved ur blog

Rebecca said...

This cake is beautiful! I love the design and marzipan-yum!

ratu said...

beautiful cake.. like my mother's cake..looks tasty!!