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Chocolate simnel cake


Serves: 16
timePrep time: 50 mins
timeTotal time:
Chocolate simnel cake
Recipe photograph by Kris Kirkham

Chocolate simnel cake

A rich, sticky, dark twist on Easter’s traditional bake

Serves: 16
timePrep time: 50 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
614Kcal
Fat
34gr
Saturates
17gr
Carbs
63gr
Sugars
51gr
Fibre
3gr
Protein
10gr
Salt
0.2gr

Ingredients

For the cake
  • 250g raisins (we used Taste the Difference)
  • 75ml amaretto liqueur
  • 225g soft unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
  • 300g dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp ground mixed spice
  • 300ml soured cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
For the chocolate marzipan
  • 175g ground almonds
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 110g golden caster sugar
  • 55g cocoa powder, plus extra to dust
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp clear honey, to brush
For the ganache
  • 150g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 15g unsalted butter

Step by step

Get ahead
The simnel cake can be made up to 1 week ahead and kept in an airtight container. Decorate when ready to serve.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Line the base and sides of a deep 20cm springform tin. Put the raisins and amaretto in a bowl; set aside to soak.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at time, beating well between each one.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, cocoa powder, a pinch of salt and the mixed spice and slowly fold into the cake mix. Finally fold in the soured cream, vanilla and steeped fruit. Transfer to the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Meanwhile, make the marzipan. Combine the ground almonds, sugars and cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the egg and stir until it starts to come together, then use your hands to briefly knead the mixture into a dough. Shape into a disc, wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes in the fridge until firm.
  5. For the ganache, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream, honey and butter in a pan until it just reaches boiling point. Pour over the chocolate, leave for 1 minute; stir to create a glossy ganache. Allow to cool slightly.
  6. Roll out half of the marzipan between 2 sheets of baking paper until it’s around 3mm thick, then cut out a 20cm circle. Level the top of the cake, brush with the honey and place the marzipan disc on top. Shape the remaining marzipan into 11 small balls – to symbolise the 12 disciples minus Judas – and roll them in cocoa powder to coat lightly. Pour the ganache over the top of the marzipan and allow to drizzle over the sides. Leave to set, then top with the marzipan balls.

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