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This article was taken from our July 2018 Issue

Simnel Cake

This recipe was taken from ‘The Modern Baker: A New Way to Bake’ by Melissa Sharp with Lindsay Stark. You can buy a copy of the book here! Photos by Laura Edwards.

This Simnel cake goes down a treat in the lead up to Easter. Apart from upgrading many of the ingredients for better health, their twist is the addition of goji berries and a few of their favourite spices. The use of dried berries and fruits adds chew and important fibre. Don’t put too much on your plate – this is a rich one!

Makes 20cm round cake


  • For the cake:
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 175g coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g spelt flour
  • 175g sultanas
  • 90g dried cranberries
  • 30g dried goji berries
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the decoration:
  • Honey or melted butter, for brushing
  • Edible flowers, such as nasturtiums and violets, to decorate
  • Raw marzipan:
  • 340g ground almonds
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 drops of almond extract (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170℃/fan 150℃/Gas mark 304 and line a 20 cm round, deep, loose bottom cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a large bowl. With an electric whisk, beat them together until well combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 1-2 hours until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  4. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
  5. Once it’s cool, use the cake tin as a template to cut out a round disc of raw marzipan.
  6. Brush a little melted butter or honey over the top of the cake and lay the marzipan disc on top.
  7. Use the remaining marzipan to make 11 equal sized balls to decorate the top of the cake. You can use honey to stick these on as well.
  8. Top the cake with edible flowers such as nasturtiums and violets.

Raw marzipan:

Our raw marzipan is quick and easy to make, with the maple syrup helping to keep the delicious almond flavour. If you particularly like your marzipan you can also add a few drops of almond extract.

  1. Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Wrap in greaseproof paper and chill until ready to use.
  2. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking parchment to 2-3mm. You don’t want to use flour to stop it sticking to the surface, and the paper will also make it easier to pick up.