My Mum-in-law taught me how to make this cake and when I first married. It was the weekly cake that was used for packed lunches, afternoon teas and always with a cuppa! I like to make the cake in a loaf tin as it’s easy to portion up for packed lunches. It also makes an excellent round cake for a celebration cake. Over the years I have developed it into the fruit cake it is today - but a cake can always be improved on! For the every day loaf and round cake I don’t soak in port but in either 2 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice or one cup of orange juice and one cup of cider.
I make Simnel cake which is is a fruit cake decorated with marzipan and eleven marzipan balls one for each of Christ’s disciples, the missing one being Judas. The tradition of making this cake comes from the 4th century and was made more popular from the 1700s onwards when a Simnel cake was given to Mothers on Mother’s Day. This cake was made at the end of Lent when eggs, flour, dried fruits were once more free to eat.
Today’s recipe is a twist on the traditional Simnel Cake instead of putting a layer of marzipan in the middle of the cake which often affects the way the cake rises I cube up a quantity of marzipan and fold it into the mixture with the flour. When the cake is cut you will see these delicious chunks of marzipan.