Easter is one of our favourite times of the year because not only is there chocolate in abundance but also lots of lovely cakes and baked goodies. This simnel cake is a particular favourite and it wouldn’t be Easter without it.
200g (7 oz) plain flour
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
175g (6 oz) butter
175g (6 oz) light soft brown sugar
1 lemon, grated rind
4 eggs, beaten
55g (2 oz) ground almonds
700g (1lb 9 oz) mixed fruit with peel
85g (3 oz) glace cherries, quartered
55g (2 oz) blanched almonds, chopped
700g (1lb 9 oz) white almond paste
1 egg white or 1 tbsp apricot jam
Butter and line a 20cm (8 inch) round cake tin. Sift the flour and the spices together. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy and gradually beat in the eggs and lemon rind, adding some flour towards the end to avoid the mixture curdling. Fold in the remaining flour and ground almonds, then the fruit, cherries and chopped almonds.
Place half the mixture into the cake tin. Roll out a quarter of the almond paste and lay on top of the mixture and press down lightly, spread the remaining fruit cake mixture on top and level.
Bake for about 5-6 hours on the grid shelf placed on the floor of the Simmering Oven. Alternatively cook in the Aga Cake Baker in the Roasting Oven for 1¼-1½ hours.