Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake Recipe

Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 2 Hr 30 Mins Total Time: 3 Hr

Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake is a classic recipe that brings the essence of Easter celebrations into your home. Known for its distinctive layers of almond marzipan and rich mix of dried fruits, this cake offers a perfect balance of sweetness and texture. Ideal for Easter gatherings, Mary Berry’s version updates the traditional recipe with clear, step-by-step instructions, making it accessible for bakers of all levels. Whether you’re continuing a family tradition or starting a new one, this Simnel Cake recipe promises to be a memorable part of your Easter feast.

In this article, I will guide you through the process of making Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake step by step, offering practical tips and insights to ensure your cake is as delightful as the occasion it celebrates.

What is Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake?

Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake is a traditional British dessert, renowned for its rich mixture of dried fruits, spices, and marzipan. This cake is distinguished by its characteristic almond paste layer and marzipan decorations, symbolizing the arrival of spring and the celebration of Easter. Serving 8-10 people, this recipe can be completed in about 2.5 to 3 hours, including both preparation and baking time. 

Easter Simnel Cake Recipe Mary Berry

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Rich and Flavorful: Combines dried fruits, spices, and marzipan for a deeply satisfying taste.
  • Perfect for Celebrations: A traditional Easter centerpiece that brings joy and festivity to your table.
  • Versatile: Adaptable to your taste preferences with options for different dried fruits or nuts.
  • Family Favorite: Loved by all ages, it’s a great way to involve the family in holiday preparations.
  • Timeless Tradition: Connects you with a centuries-old baking tradition, enriching your holiday experience.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake

For the Cake:

  • 225g (8oz / 1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature (plus extra for greasing)
  • 225g (8oz / 1 cup) light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g (8oz / 2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 225g (8oz / 1.5 cups) mixed dried fruits (such as raisins, currants, and sultanas)
  • 100g (3.5oz / 0.5 cups) glace cherries, halved
  • 50g (2oz / 0.4 cups) ground almonds
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the Marzipan:

  • 500g (1lb / 2.2 pounds) marzipan
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 1 large egg, beaten (for glazing)

Equipment Needed

  • 8-inch (20 cm) round cake tin
  • Baking parchment
  • Rolling pin
  • Pastry brush
  • Electric mixer or wooden spoon
  • Cooling rack

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake

Preparing the Cake Batter

  • Preheat and Prepare: Begin by preheating your oven to 150°C (300°F / Gas Mark 2). Grease and line a 20cm (8in) round cake tin with parchment paper.
  • Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and light brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add Eggs: Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a spoonful of flour.
  • Fold in Dry Ingredients: Gently fold in the self-raising flour, mixed dried fruits, glace cherries, ground almonds, mixed spice, and lemon zest, until the mixture is just combined. Stir in the milk to reach a dropping consistency.

Assembling the Cake with Marzipan

  • Divide Marzipan: Roll out one-third of the marzipan to form a circle the size of your cake tin.
  • Layering: Spoon half of the cake mixture into the prepared tin, gently place the marzipan circle on top, then cover with the remaining cake mixture.
  • Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for about 2 hours until well risen, golden, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cooling in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.

Decorating with Marzipan

  • Roll Out Marzipan: Roll out half of the remaining marzipan to cover the top of the cake. Brush the top of the cooled cake with apricot jam and then place the marzipan on top.
  • Form Balls: With the remaining marzipan, form eleven balls representing the disciples and arrange them around the edge of the cake.
  • Glaze: Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and briefly return the cake to a hot oven (220°C / 425°F / Gas Mark 7) for 1-2 minutes to brown the marzipan slightly.

Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake Recipe

What Do I Serve With Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake?

Pairing the right accompaniments with Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake can elevate your dessert experience, making it unforgettable. Whether you’re serving it as part of your Easter celebration or as a special treat, here are some perfect pairings that complement its rich flavors and textures.

  • Aromatic Tea: A pot of freshly brewed Earl Grey or English Breakfast tea complements the spiced, fruity flavors of the cake.
  • Rich Coffee: Serve with a strong espresso or French press coffee to cut through the sweetness.
  • Whipped Cream: A dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream adds a luxurious touch to each slice.
  • Lemon Curd: A spoonful of tangy lemon curd on the side brightens the palate and complements the cake’s citrus notes.

Expert Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake

Achieving perfection in baking Mary Berry  Easter Simnel Cake involves attention to detail and embracing some expert tips.

Here’s how to ensure your cake turns out beautifully every time.

  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Start with all ingredients at room temperature to ensure a smooth batter and even baking.
  • Don’t Overmix: Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined to keep the cake tender.
  • Test for Doneness: Insert a skewer into the center of the cake; it should come out clean when the cake is done.
  • Cool Completely: Allow the cake to cool thoroughly before applying the marzipan to prevent it from melting.
  • Thin Marzipan Layers: Roll the marzipan thinly to ensure it cooks evenly under the broiler without becoming too tough.

Variations of Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake

Giving Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake your personal touch can make this traditional treat even more special.

  • Chocolate Delight: Mix in chocolate chips for a sweet twist.
  • Zesty Flavor: Add orange zest for a citrusy punch.
  • Nutty Crunch: Top with sliced almonds before baking for texture.
  • Gluten-Free: Swap in gluten-free flour to accommodate all guests.
  • Rum-Soaked Fruits: Soak dried fruits in rum for a richer flavor.
  • Coffee Marzipan: Blend espresso powder into the marzipan for a coffee kick.

How do I Store Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake Leftovers?

Storing your cake properly ensures it stays delicious for days.

  • Cool Then Store: Wait until completely cool, then use an airtight container.
  • Room Temperature: Best if enjoyed within a few days.
  • Refrigerate: Wrap tightly and refrigerate for longer storage.

How do I Reheat Mary Berry Easter Simnel Cake Leftovers?

Reheating Simnel Cake is easy but requires gentle care to maintain its texture and taste.

  • Oven Warmth: Briefly heat in the oven at 160°C (320°F) for a few minutes.
  • Room Temperature: Alternatively, let it naturally come to room temperature for serving.

Nutrition Value List:

Nutritional Value Per Slice (1/12th of the Cake)

  • Calories: 320 kcal
  • Total Fat: 14g
    • Saturated Fat: 5g
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 55mg
  • Sodium: 210mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 45g
    • Dietary Fiber: 2g
    • Sugars: 30g
  • Protein: 6g


What does Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake taste like?

Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake is a delightful treat that balances richness with a light, fruity flavor. The cake itself is moist and aromatic, with a deep almond essence stemming from the marzipan. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg add warmth, while the dried fruits bring a burst of sweetness and texture. The toasted marzipan layer on top introduces a slightly chewy contrast to the softness of the cake, making every bite a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Can I Make Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake in Advance?

Yes, you can make Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake in advance. It’s actually beneficial as it allows the flavors to meld together, enhancing the overall taste. Ideally, bake the cake 2-3 days before serving and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Decorate with marzipan and final touches a day before or on the day of serving to keep it fresh and visually appealing.

How Can I Ensure My Marzipan Doesn’t Melt While Baking?

To prevent the marzipan from melting into the cake while baking, first, ensure that the cake batter is cool. Then, roll the marzipan to about a quarter inch thickness and place it carefully in the middle of the cake batter. Baking at a lower temperature, around 150°C (300°F), also helps in keeping the marzipan layer distinct and prevents it from melting.

What Substitutions Can I Make If I Don’t Have Mixed Spice?

If you don’t have mixed spices available, you can create a homemade blend using cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. A common substitute is to mix 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon of allspice. This blend will give you a similar warm, spiced flavor profile that is perfect for an Easter Simnel Cake.

Is It Possible to Make a Gluten-Free Version of This Cake?

Absolutely, making a gluten-free version of Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake is straightforward. Simply replace the self-raising flour with a gluten-free self-raising flour blend. Ensure that your baking powder and any other additives are also gluten-free. Remember to check the labels on your mixed dried fruits and marzipan to ensure they’re gluten-free as well.

Final Words

Creating Mary Berry’s Easter Simnel Cake is more than just baking; it’s about embracing tradition, sharing love, and making memories. This cake, rich with history and flavor, is sure to be a centerpiece at your Easter gathering. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or trying this recipe for the first time, the joy of sharing this delightful cake with family and friends is what makes it truly special. Here’s to a sweet and memorable Easter filled with the flavors of love and tradition. Happy baking!

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