RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘marzipan’

  1. Simnel Cake – an Easter treat

    April 5, 2015 by sarah

    I am one of those crazy people that could just eat marzipan. Forget the icing and sometimes even the cake, I go for the marzipan. If you are one of these people too then keep reading; if not then skip this recipe! Simnel cakes are considered an Easter treat these days, but in the past they were part of a Mothering Sunday tradition of girls in service taking a cake to their mothers on the one day off work. The eleven balls on top, to represent the apostles minus Judas, are a Victorian puritanical addition. By the way, has anyone out there baked a scripture cake, where the recipe is hidden in bible verses? Maybe a project for the future?

























    I like to decorate my simnel cake with ribbons and those kitsch plastic chicks in the shops at this time of year. It is amazing how just the past couple of weeks, the weather and feeling in the air has turned spring-like. Even between the squally showers, the daffodils nod their ridiculously over the top yellow-cream heads, birds are shouting ‘come and get me’ from every branch and already the lawn needs mown. Happy Easter everyone!



    Simnel Cake


    Serves at least 14 – it is rich

    Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

    500g pack of natural marzipan
    175g butter
    175g soft brown sugar
    4 medium free-range eggs, beaten
    175g plain flour

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    pinch of fine salt
    1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
    350g mixed dried fruit – raisins, currants, sultanas
    50g chopped candied peel
    zest of 1 lemon
    1-2 tablespoon apricot jam

    Preheat the oven to 140 C/120 C fan. Prepare a 18cm/7 inch tin like for the Christmas cake recipe here (grease, line and wrap the outside in newspaper).

    Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift over the flour, salt, baking powder and mixed spice and add the beaten eggs. Beat until well mixed. Add some milk if it is very stiff but you need a fairly stiff batter to support the dried fruit. With a metal spoon, fold in dried fruit, candied peel and lemon zest.

    Put half the mixture into the prepared pan and level the top. Take one third of the marzipan and roll out to be a circle of diameter that will fit inside the tin. Use the bottom of the tin to measure and trim to fit; place on the cake mixture. Add the rest of the cake mixture and smooth the top then leave a slight dip in the centre.

    Place in the middle of the preheated oven for 2 to 2 and half hours until a skewer comes out mostly clean (the melted marzipan will mean it will never be truely dry until completely over cooked). If the top is browning too fast, make a baking parchment or foil hat with a small hole in the centre for steam to escape. Allow to cool fully in the tin before turning  out.

    Brush the top of the cooled cake with apricot jam. Roll out another third of the marzipan and cover the top of the cake, scalloping the edges by pinching the almond paste. Toast this under a preheated grill until medium brown; watch constantly as it burns easily. Roll the remaining marzipan into 12 equal balls and eat one (it much easier to divide into 12 than 11 and the extra ball is a cooks perk!), toast under the preheated grill on foil and when cooled add to the top of the cake, gluing the balls in place with apricot jam if necessary.


  2. Raspberry and Marzipan Scones

    February 1, 2015 by sarah










    January is the month in the year when I go through my cupboards. Clothes I haven’t worn for several years go to the charity shop or eBay and the same for food; any food that is getting near its use by date or just been sitting there or been in the freezer for more than 6 months gets used up. It leads to some odd collections of recipes. What can you do with Christmas puddings except eat them as Christmas pudding? I also had a lump of marzipan left over after the Christmas cake had been iced and the stollen was made. Now, I just love marzipan and would be quite happy just to eat it in chunks or dip it in chocolate or, if I had time, make some marzipan fruits but then that wouldn’t be a baking recipe to put on this site. So I found a recipe in which marzipan was mixed into a scone dough but to cut through the cloggying sweetness of the marzipan, I added a layer of frozen raspberries to my recipe (also in need of using up). The finished scone is more like an American shortcake, in that it is rich enough to not need any other adornments though clotted cream would not go amiss with any scone type recipe. Enjoy!


    Raspberry Marzipan Scones


    120g marzipan
    70g unsalted butter
    25g caster sugar
    250g plain flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    180-200ml of buttermilk or milk mixed with yoghurt
    1/2 teaspoon almond essence
    120g frozen raspberries (or fresh if in season)

    optional – flaked almonds, demarara sugar

    Weigh out the butter and marzipan, wrap in cling film and freeze for at least an hour. Once frozen, grate over the top of the dry ingredients. Using a fork, mix in the buttermilk mixed with the almond essence. Add enough so it comes together but do not work too much otherwise your scones will be tough.

    Dump the dough out onto a floured work surface and pat or roll to a thickness of about half an inch/one centimeter. It is easier if this is a rectangle that is two-thirds deep to long. Pat the raspberries over one half of the width but for the full length and then fold over the over half that hasn’t got the rasberries over the top. Gently pat/squidge together so you have a long narrow sandwich of dough with the raspberries in a layer in the middle.

    Cut the dough sandwich into squares then the squares into triangles and place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Brush the tops of the scones with milk and then sprinkle over flaked almonds and demarara sugar. Put in the fridge while the oven heats to 200 ºC or 180 ºC fan. Place the scones into the middle of the preheated oven – they need about 15 -20 minutes but watch them like a hawk because the marzipan will burn easily and will then taste bitter (mine were almost too brown). Cool on a baking wrack. They are best served warm from the oven but can be reheated for a few minutes in a medium oven to revive them over the next couple of days.