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Simnel Cake

Almond paste:

1 cup or 9 oz. sugar

1 cup or 9 oz. ground almonds

2 eggs, beaten

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1 tsp almond extract

Cake:

12 tablespoons butter

¾ cup soft brown sugar

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3 eggs, beaten

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 cup chopped dried fruit

zest of one lemon

zest of 1/2 orange

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1 to 2 tbsp apricot jam

1 egg, beaten for glazing

Method

1. For the almond paste, place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. Add enough beaten egg and mix to a fairly soft consistency.

2. Add the almond extract and knead for 1 minute until the paste is smooth and pliable.

3. Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 7 inches in diameter and reserve the remainder for the cake topping.

4. Preheat oven to 275°. Grease and line a 7-inch cake pan.

5. For the cake, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated and then sift in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice a little at a time.

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Finally, add the mixed dried fruit and grated zest and stir into the mixture.

6. Put half the mixture into the cake pan. Smooth the top and cover with the circle of almond paste. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top leaving a slight dip in the center to allow for the cake to rise.

Bake in the preheated oven for one hour, 45 minutes.

Test by inserting a skewer in the middle "” if it comes out clean, it is ready. Once baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

7. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam.

Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half; roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake with one half and form 11 small balls with the other half.

8. Place the circle of paste on the jam glaze and set the balls round the edge. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg.

9. Preheat the broiler. Place the cake onto a baking tray and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the top of the marzipan begins to brown.



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