This festive cake was a joy to make. We baked it on Saturday and devoured the majority of it today on Easter Sunday. It is definitely best enjoyed the day after cooking as it gives all the wonderful flavours and all the spices a chance to infuse properly. I am a fairly recent convert to marzipan and fruit cakes. Growing up I tasted a lot of dry, lacklustre fruit cakes but this recipe is something quite special. It has an immensely satisfying chewy and moist crumb which I was particularly pleased with as it's not always easy to achieve with this type of cake. My love of dried fruit knows no bounds and I usually add a handful to a bowl of coconut yoghurt most evenings so it's fun to mix it up and add lots of lovey fruit to an occasional indulgent sweet treat such as this.
This recipe is gluten-free and I adapted it from a recipe I found by Susannah Booth who specialises in gluten and dairy free recipes. I would highly recommend this to any marzipan or fruit cake sceptics as I have a strong feeling this cake might just convert you to a new found love of both ingredients! We topped the cake with lots of lovely marzipan balls as there was a lot leftover after we'd created the marzipan layers. We also topped it with deliciously decadent Doisy and Dam dark chocolate buttons and their vegan mini eggs. This cake is relatively easy to make and a lot of fun. Highly recommended!
Vegan Gluten-Free Simnel Cake
50g glace cherries
2 dried pineapple rings, soaked in warm water and chopped
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
4 cardamom pods, ground with a pestle & mortar or spice grinder
500g white marzipan
50g dairy-free sunflower margarine
50g dark muscovado sugar
3 tbsp marmalade
1 large banana
100g gram flour
50g ground almonds
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
100ml apple juice
1 tbsp apricot jam
Icing sugar, for dusting
Turn the oven to 140C. Line a 18cm-diameter tin with baking parchment.
Rinse the glace cherries and chop them up, then place in a small bowl with the raisins, currants, pineapple and spices. Stir to coat all the fruit in the spice. Roll out the marzipan to a 3mm thick sheet (use a little icing sugar for dusting). Place your baking tin on the marzipan and use it as a template to cut two circles which will be the two layers, one in the middle of the cake and the other on top.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the margarine, sugar and marmalade. Gradually mash in the banana and stir in the gram flour, ground almonds and baking powder. Add the spiced fruit mix and apple juice, then stir until everything is well combined.
Spoon half of the mixture into the tin, followed by one of the marzipan circles. Spread the rest of the mixture on top, smoothing it out evenly with a spatula.
Cook for 1 hour and 40 minutes until the cake is browned (an inserted skewer or toothpick should come out clean). Cool in the tin. Brush with the jam and top with the second marzipan circle. Decorate with marzipan balls, vegan chocolate eggs and some fresh berries if desired.
We hope you all enjoy the rest of the Easter bank holiday weekend and we'll bring you more delicious seasonal recipes soon.