Simnel Cake

This cake, with its rich layer of almond paste through the middle as well as on top, was traditionally made for the fourth Sunday in Lent. It was intended to be eaten at a small family celebration on the Sunday afternoon, marking the fact that Lent was more than half over. The recipe comes from Berkshire.


  • sticks (180 g) butter
  • 1 cup (240 g) castor sugar
  • 3 large or 4 small eggs
  • 2 cups (240 g) flour
  • 1 cup (180 g) currants
  • cup (60 g) mixed candied peel

The Almond Paste

  • ¾ cup (90 g) ground almonds
  • ¾ cup (180 g) castor sugar
  • 1 small egg

The Decoration

  • Glacé cherries
  • Angelica


Grease and line an 8 inch (20 cm) cake tin.

Make the almond paste by working the ground almonds, sugar and egg into a stiff paste. Roll the paste out into 2 thin rounds the size of the cake tin.

Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and light and add each egg separately. Fold in the flour, currants and peel and stir lightly.

Put half the cake mixture into the tin, cover with 1 round of almond paste and then put in the rest of the cake mixture

Bake at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 50 minutes, then remove the cake from the oven and put the second piece of almond paste over the top. Put the cake back in the oven for 5 minutes, so that the almond paste melts on to the cake. Remove the cake from the oven and take it out of the tin. Decorate with glacé cherry halves and a pattern of angelica while the almond paste is still soft.