Simnel Cupcakes for Easter
Happy Easter everyone! It may still be snowing here in Scotland but it is still time to get in the spring mood and celebrate Easter. Just because the daffodils are still refusing to flower, doesn’t mean I can’t pretend spring is upon us. One of my favourite Easter treats is Simnel cake, but as its only my partner and myself at home this year a whole cake seemed a little indulgent and not good for the waistline so I decided to make them smaller and make Simnel Cupcakes instead.
Simnel cake is a traditional Easter treat, dating back to the medieval times when it was baked as a gift for Mothering Sunday, keeping to the rules of Lent it was then kept and eaten at Easter.
It should also have eleven marzipan balls on top to represent the true disciples the 12th is missing as Judas is left out. Sometimes you will see a 12th ball in the middle, representing Judas being the outcast. — History Lesson Over! —
So back to the cake, which lets face it is why we are all here. Simnel Cake is a light and spicy fruit cake and in the middle is a layer of marzipan, which is baked into the cake, it gives it such a wonderful flavour.
Then on top another marzipan layer is added with the 11 marzipan balls on top of that. Then it’s toasted for a minute or 2 under the grill to give it a lovely toasted look and taste.
Over the years this cake has been modified to suit all tastes, I had some adorable mini eggs so I topped a few of the simnel cupcakes with these also.
For some these cakes have too much marzipan and the chocolate eggs make a good substitution for the balls on top.
But each to there own, stay traditional or go wild and come up with your own variation. I wanted to stay a little more traditional this year; I don’t know why I just fancied staying a little closer to the original version.
These also make wonderful little gifts to give to friends or neighbours.
*Measurements in cups is a guide this recipe was made using metric weight*
- 150 grams unsalted butter, (2/3 cup)
- 150 grams light brown sugar, (3/4 cup)
- 4 medium eggs - beaten
- 200 grams Plain flour (All Purpose), (1 and ¾ cup)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder - heaped
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 350 grams mixed dried fruit, (2 and ⅓ cups)
- 1 tablespoon rum - optional
- 500 grams marzipan, (2 and ¼ cups)
- 2 tablespoons light coloured jam - seedless
- Preheat your oven to 190C / 375F / Gas mark 5. Prep your cupcake tins with liners or lightly grease them.
- Grate 200 grams of the marzipan with a course grater.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs a little at a time, mixing after each addition.
- Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spice together.
- Gently fold the flour mix into the egg mix.
- Add the lemon zest and mix gently again until well incorporated.
- Add the mixed dried fruit and Rum if using to the cake batter and gently mix in.
- Fill the cupcake cases ⅓rd full with the cake batter.
- Place a layer of grated marzipan into the cupcake cases on top of the batter. Be quite generous.
- Place more cupcake batter on top of the marzipan layer until the cases are at least ⅔rds full. These cakes don’t rise too much but you still need to leave a little room as they will rise a little.
- Bake them for 25 minutes
- When they are baked and firm to the touch, take them out of the oven but keep them in their tins for at least 10 minutes.
- Then place them on a cooling rack to fully cool down.
- Roll out the marzipan to 5 millimetres thick and use a 68 millimetre round cutter to cut out the 12 rounds. Roll out 132 small balls, calm down honestly it doesn’t take too long!
- Heat your jam; traditionally you should use apricot jam. I just used my [a href="http://baketheneat.com/vanilla-and-yellow-plum-jam/" target="_blank"]vanilla and yellow plum jam. [/a]The trick is to use a light coloured jam with no bits in it. I found 15 seconds in the microwave on full power was more than enough.
- Carefully brush the warm jam onto the back of one of the rounds of marzipan and place on top of the cupcake.
- Carefully dip the bottom of the small marzipan balls into the warm jam and place 11 on each cupcake.
- Pop them under a grill for a couple of minutes keeping a close eye on them to lightly toast the marzipan. You could use a chef’s torch if you have one.
- Add any other decoration you wish.
- Serve and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea, or coffee if you like or be a little cheeky and pour yourself a rum!