It’s not Easter without something sweet to eat, so go traditional and make this easy but impressive simnel cake.

Simnel cake recipe | Woman's Weekly | Recipes | Cakes



    • 250g(8oz) butter, softened
    • 250g (8oz) light soft brown sugar
    • 4 medium eggs
    • 250g (8oz) self-raising flour
    • 2 level tsp mixed spice
    • 250g (8oz) sultanas
    • 125g (4oz) currants
    • 175g (6oz) glacé cherries
    • 125g (4oz) ready-to-eat dried figs, chopped
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • Grated zest of 2 oranges
    • 2 x 500g packs white marzipan
    • 2tbsp ground almonds
    • 11 flaked almonds
    • 18cm (7in) square cake tin, lined with baking parchment


    1. Set the oven to cool, gas mark 2 or 150°C.
    1. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together. Add the eggs, flour and mixed spice alternately and mix well. Add all the fruit and citrus zest and mix again.
    1. Cut 1 block of marzipan into 4 equal lengths and then in half again, lengthways, to make 8 sausage-shaped strips to fit the width of tin. Put a third of the cake mixture into the tin and spread evenly over the base. Lay 4 of the marzipan strips across the mixture.
    1. Put half of the remaining cake mixture into the tin and lay the remaining 4 marzipan strips across, the opposite way to the first layer. Top with the rest of the mixture and level the top. Cook in the centre of the oven for 3-3¼ hrs, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then remove cake from tin and level the top. Turn the cake over.
    1. Cut a third off the second block of marzipan and reserve. Roll out the larger piece to measure about 30 x 20cm (12 x 8in) and cut into thin strips. Take 2 strips and place at right angles on top of the cake, along 2 of the sides. Place 2 more strips next to them and weave them in. Keep laying on more strips, under and over each other, to make a woven pattern on top. Put under grill to brown slightly.
    1. Use the reserved marzipan and trimmings to make 11 neat cubes and 11 balls. Roll the balls in the ground almonds.
    1. Arrange the cubes in a circle on top of the cake and place a ball on each one, using a little water to hold in place. Stick a flaked almond in each ball.

Use either metric or imperial measures – do not switch from one to the other. Calorie and fat contents given are approximate values and assume you are making the maximum number of servings stated.Recipe and props stylist: Judy Williams. Photo: Chris Alack

Nutritional information per portion

fat 18.0g calories 463(kcal)


This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.