Simnel cake

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

simnel cake made for Easter, is a type of fruit cake, similar to Christmas cake. It is distinguished by the use of marzipan or almond paste. Usually, half the raw cake mixture is put in the tin, covered with a sheet of marzipan, and the remaining mixture added. Towards the end of baking the top of the cake is covered with more marzipan, decorated with little marzipan balls, and browned lightly. Some omit the central layer of marzipan, and there is debate over the number of balls. Since they are said to represent the 12 apostles, some contend there should be 11 (thus excluding Judas); others say there should be 13 (to include Christ).