Simnel Cupcakes

Simnel Cupcakes for Easter

6 simnel cupcakes together


Happy Easter everyone! I can’t wait to share these Simnel Cupcakes with you, they are just so good. 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 that 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.


traditional simnel cupcakes in front


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.


a solo simnel cupcake


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! —


2 simnel cupcakes with mini chocolate eggs for decoration


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.


Simnel cupcake cut open to show marzipan inside


close up of open simnel cupcake


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.


overhead of simnel cupcake


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.


overhead of a simnel cupcake with mini eggs on top


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*


Simnel Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Simnel Cupcakes a lightly spiced fruit cake with marzipan inside and on top. A traditional Easter bake.
Recipe type: Cakes / Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: British
Serves: 12 Cupcakes
  • 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
For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 190C / 375F / Gas mark 5. Prep your cupcake tins with liners or lightly grease them.
  2. Grate 200 grams of the marzipan with a course grater.
    coarsely grated marzipan
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the beaten eggs a little at a time, mixing after each addition.
  5. Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spice together.
    dry ingredients being sieved into wet
  6. Gently fold the flour mix into the egg mix.
  7. Add the lemon zest and mix gently again until well incorporated.
  8. Add the mixed dried fruit and Rum if using to the cake batter and gently mix in.
    A bottle of OVD dark rum
  9. Fill the cupcake cases ⅓rd full with the cake batter.
    cases with only a third of the batter in them
  10. Place a layer of grated marzipan into the cupcake cases on top of the batter. Be quite generous.
    the grated marzipan in the cake batter
  11. 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.
    cupcake cases full with batter
  12. Bake them for 25 minutes
  13. 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.
  14. Then place them on a cooling rack to fully cool down.
    simnel cupcakes cooling on a rack
To Decorate
  1. 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!
  2. Heat your jam; traditionally you should use apricot jam. I just used my [a href="" 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.
  3. Carefully brush the warm jam onto the back of one of the rounds of marzipan and place on top of the cupcake.
    getting ready to stick the marzipan on top of the cake
  4. Carefully dip the bottom of the small marzipan balls into the warm jam and place 11 on each cupcake.
    simnel cupcakes marzipaned
  5. 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.
    mini eggs on top of a simnel cupcakes
  6. Add any other decoration you wish.
    simnel cupcake decorated with mini eggs
  7. Serve and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea, or coffee if you like or be a little cheeky and pour yourself a rum!


Author: Emma

I make, photograph and write every post on Bake Then Eat. If you ever come over to visit you will be presented with a plethora of home bakes, expect to leave my home a few pounds heavier and with a doggy bag!

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  1. Simnel cake is so good! I love the spicy fruit and marzipan combination, though I must confess, I have a habit of eating the marzipan first and the cake after. Is that very bad?

    Post a Reply
    • I don’t think so I often do that as well and not just with these cakes but almost all cakes, these is just something about eating the decoration first! 🙂

      Post a Reply
  2. These look very cute. I love simnel cake and made a big one this year, but mini ones might be a thought for next year.

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you for your lovely comments, I enjoy simnel cake as well but like I said in my post because there was only 2 of us at home this year, thats why I only made small ones also it stopped me from just eating half a cake because it’s there! I could limit myself to 1 a day 😉

      Post a Reply

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