This fruitcake with a marzipan layer is a traditional Easter treat, the 11 balls on top representing the 12 apostles, minus Judas. The fruit needs to be soaked in whisky overnight, but it’s worth the wait.
Whisky Simnel Cake
- 4 pieces of stem ginger
- 200 g sultanas
- 150 g currants
- 60 g mixed peel
- 50 g glacé cherries
- 1 orange
- 100 ml Scotch whisky
- 240 g unsalted soft butter
- 240 g light brown sugar
- 220 g self-raising flour
- 4 large free-range eggs
- ½ teaspoon mixed spice
- FILLING & TOPPING
- 500 g marzipan
- 4 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 large free-range egg
- The night before you want to bake the cake, chop the stem ginger, then place in a bowl with all the dried fruit, the orange zest and whisky. Set aside to soak.
- The next day, drain the soaked fruit (discard any whisky that hasn’t been absorbed), line a 20cm cake tin, and preheat the oven to 150ºC/gas 2.
- In a bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and mixed spice with an electric whisk for 2 to 3 minutes until combined, then stir through the soaked fruit.
- Spoon half of the mixture into the tin and level the surface.
- Take a third of the marzipan, roll it out to 20cm in diameter, then place it on top of the cake mix in the tin.
- Spoon the rest of the mixture on top and level it out evenly.
- Pop it in the oven and bake for 2 hours, or until golden. Test the cake by inserting a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s cooked (remembering there’s a layer of marzipan in the middle). If it doesn’t, bake for 10 more minutes, covering it with tin foil if it’s browning too much.
- Remove it from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes, then take it out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Melt the apricot jam in a pan, then brush the top of the cake with it. Roll out another third of the marzipan to 20cm in diameter, and place on top, pinching the edges to decorate.
- Take the final third of marzipan and roll out 11 balls, arranging them around the edge of the cake.
- Brush the top with beaten egg, then pop it under a hot grill for a couple of minutes, or until the marzipan is golden.