Nadiya Hussain’s red berry simnel cake is a classic Easter recipe with a berry twist. It’s got berries in the cake mixture and freeze-dried berries in the marzipan, which gives it a strong pink colour. Simnel cake is a traditional Easter cake topped with marzipan and gently toasted. It’s decorated with 11 marzipan balls to represent the apostles, minus Judas – although, sometimes you might have 12 marzipan balls, including Jesus. This version of a Simnel cake is a really nice change from the classic Simnel recipe, with lovely fresh berries. This recipe serves up to 16, so you’ll know there will be plenty to go round for everyone!
- For the marzipan:
- 200g ground almonds
- 2-4x10g tubes freeze-dried berries
- 140g icing sugar, plus extra to dust
- 140g caster sugar
- 1tsp almond extract
- 1-2tsp lemon juice
- 1 small egg + 1 small yolk, beaten
- For the cake:
- 170g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp cinnamon
- ½tsp nutmeg
- 1tsp ground ginger
- 50g ground almonds
- 220g unsalted butter, softened
- 220g light muscovado sugar
- 2 lemons, zest only
- 4 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 200g dried cranberries
- 70g blueberries
- 150g glacé cherries, halved
- 50g candied lemon peel
- To finish:
- 2tbsp honey
- 1 medium egg yolk, beaten
Pulse the marzipan ingredients in a food processor until combined, then knead briefly on a surface dusted with icing sugar. Roll a third into a 20cm disc, cover the rest with clingfilm and leave in a cool place.
Heat the oven to 140C, gas 3. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl; add the ground almonds. In another bowl, cream the butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy; gradually beat in the eggs. Add all the fruit and lemon peel. Fold in the flour.
Spread half the batter in a greased and double lined cake tin, top with the marzipan disc, then the rest of the batter. Bake for 1¾-2 hrs or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 mins and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Roll half the reserved marzipan into a 20cm disc, crimp the edges and criss-cross the top with a knife. Brush honey on the cake and set the marzipan on top. Roll the rest into 11 balls. Brush the marzipan with egg yolk and stick the balls around the edge. Grill to lightly toast the top.
It's worth making your own marzipan for this cake rather than using ready to roll, so you can get that vivid colour from the freeze-dried raspberries