Spice up your Easter!! If you need some lockdown Easter fun inspiration, here is an easy gluten free simnel cake recipe for anyone to do. It’s surprisingly easy to make and particularly fun if you make individual mini ones Eggainst The Grain style in baked beans tins. So much fun!! So come on kids – get baking…!
A little bit of history in case you were wondering : Simnel cake is a rich fruit cake with marzipan on top and traditionally decorated with 11 marzipan balls. It’s a Christian pre Easter treat dating back to Tudor times. The 11 marzipan balls are placed around the edge, representing the apostles. Judas, one of the 12 apostles does not merit his own marzipan ball as he betrayed Jesus.
Whether you celebrate Easter or not, or are religious or not, this simnel cake is delicious and so easy to make. I have a particular love of marzipan, so any excuse to stick it on a cake makes me very happy.
To make it more fun and for the kids to make their own individual ones, we made them using half can baked bean tins. You could actually use full cans and fill a little way up if you don’t have any small cans knocking around.
We had a lot of fun making ours, and we even made this in one of our GF cook clubs just before the lockdown. My eldest discovered the sugar free gluten free fruit cake recipe from Doves Farm. It’s sweetened with the dried fruit and apricot puree and it really is sweet enough. Of course the Marzipan topping is packed with sugar, so I can’t actually claim this is a totally sugar free cake.
The recipe is super easy to mix together and then the kids had lots of fun making the toppings. You can get really creative with this bit, you don’t have to stick to the traditional 11 balls at all.
Here is our photo gallery of our creations. Please do send me yours if you or your kids make them. We’d LOVE to see them.
So here is the recipe. You may find the store at the bottom of the page helpful to source some ingredients. As it’s a difficult time to shop and source some food at the moment, please do replace anything you can with whatever you have. Ask me in the comments if you have any questions. Enjoy!!!
Gluten Free Simnel Cake
- 175g dried apricots
- 200ml cold water
- 75g glace cherries
- 150ml boiling water
- 300g mixture of raisins, sultanas, currants or dates
- 200g gluten free flour
- 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
- 1 orange, rind and juice
- 200g butter, softened
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbps apricot jam
- 500g read to roll marzipan
- cocoa powder to dust
- Step 1 Put the apricots and cold water into a saucepan, bring to the boil, cook gently for 10 minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
- Step 2 Quarter the cherries, put them into another bowl with 150ml boiling water and set these to one side.
- Step 3 Put the mixed dried vine fruit into another bowl, sieve the flour and baking powder over top, mix lightly and set these aside.
- Step 4 Grate the orange rind, squeeze the juice and leave these for later.
- Step 5 Line the base and sides of 6 small cleaned tins of baked beans or similar with parchment paper.
- Step 6 Pre-heat the oven to 150 C
- Step 7 Purée the cold apricots and any remaining liquid in a blender Add the butter and beat together until combined.
- Step 8 Beat in the eggs one at a time
- Step 9 Add the grated rind and juice.
- Step 10 Stir in the prepared fruit and flour.
- Step 11 Stir the prepared cherries, drain and discard the water then add them to the bowl.
- Step 12 Mix well
- Step 13 Tip the mixture into the prepared tins, leave an inch from top as they will rise.
- Step 14 Bake in a pre-heated oven for 45mins
- Step 15 Allow the cake to cool in the tin.
- Step 16 Whilst the cakes are cooling roll out the marzipan
- Step 17 Use the tins to cut out the right size.
- Step 18 Get creative with your designs.
- Step 19 Once ready, heat up the apricot jam till just bubbling.
- Step 20 Paste a thin layer on top.
- Step 21 Add the marzipan gently on top.
- Step 22 Sprinkle with a dusting of cocoa powder.
ESSENTIAL PANTRY :