Cherry Simnel Loaf – Recipe

Slices of Simnel cake.
The cupcake fabric I made into napkins. Much more colourful than plain white ones.
This recipe was sent to me by my dear friend Glennis. Knowing that I am always on the look out for different recipes she found this one in a newspaper magazine. There is no name as to who wrote the original recipe, but I’ve adapted it to what I had in my baking cupboard.
Ingredients:
140g butter cut into cubes
175g light brown sugar
250ml orange juice (I used a good quality Apple juice)
200g ready to eat dried apricots cut into quarters
200g glacé cherries. I used Naturally dark Coloured Glacé Cherries
100g Raisins
50g citron peel finely chopped.
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
2 eggs lightly beaten
175g marzipan

1) Preheat the oven to 160c/140c fan/gas2 1/2. Butter and line the base and sides of a 1.5 litre loaf tin with nonstick paper. Put the butter, sugar, fruit juice, dried fruits and peel into a large pan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring, to melt the butter. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then leave to cool for 15 minutes.

2) Sift the flour, baking powder and spice into the pan, add the eggs and stir all the ingredients together. Shape the marzipan into 11 small balls.

3) Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared baking tin and arrange the marzipan balls evenly over the top. Cover with the remaining cake mix and smooth the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours until the cake is golden brown and it springs back when pressed lightly. Insert a fine skewer at the centre of the cake; if it comes out clean with just a few crumbs sticking to it, the cake is cooked. Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the tin, then turn out on to a wire rack, remove the paper and leave to cool completely.

I made this cake two days before I needed it. Until that time, once cooled completely, I wrapped it in grease proof paper and foil until required. The result was a truly moist flavoursome cake which I’m sure would keep for a week or more if properly stored away. But as with all good cakes this one is going to be eaten long before then.

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