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Easter recipe: Sopwell House Simnel Cake

This easy Easter cake is a great treat to bake with the kids…

Gopi Chandran, Executive Head Chef at hotel and restaurant, Sopwell House, has shared his fool-proof Simnel cake recipe with A traditional Easter treat since Medieval times, Simnel is a light fruit cake with a hidden almond centre, decorated with eleven almond paste balls to represent the disciples (minus Judas). Time for your own Bake Off…


175g soft butter or margarine

175g light muscovado sugar

3 eggs

175g self-raising flour

175g sultanas

45g dried apricots

45g dried apples

90g glacé cherries, quartered, rinsed, and dried

30g candied peel, roughly chopped

Grated lemon zest

1 tsp ground mixed spice

For decorating

500g almond paste

2tbsp apricot jam

1 egg white


7 inch deep round loose-bottomed cake tin

How to make it

Preheat the oven to 165°C.

Roll out one-third of the almond paste. Using the base of the cake as a guide, cut out an 18cm disc.

Grease the cake tin, then line the bottom and side with greaseproof paper.

Combine all the cake ingredients in a bowl. Beat well until thoroughly blended. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Top with the pre-cut disc of almond paste.

Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top of the disc and smooth the surface.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. If the cake is browning too quickly cover the top of the cake with greaseproof paper.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin, and leave to cool fully.

Warm the apricot jam and brush on top of the cake.

To decorate the cake, roll out half of the remaining almond paste and use the tin to cut out another 18cm disc. Put it on top of the jam and crimp the edges. Roll the remaining almond paste into 11 even-sized balls. Place the balls evenly around the edge of the cake, attaching them with egg white. 

Brush the tops of the balls and the almond paste top with egg white. Place under a hot grill for 1-2 minutes until golden.

Then serve and enjoy! 

Sopwell House is a Georgian manor house located in the city of St. Albans, deep within the Hertfordshire countryside. Located only 20 minutes from London St. Pancras, the hotel has two restaurants, a cocktail lounge and conservatory bar, overlooking 12-acres of beautiful gardens.


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