Easter simnel cake with almond macaroons

Simnel cake is traditionally served at Easter and is a light fruit cake topped with marzipan icing and balls to represent the 11 apostles. Nici Wickes' recipe gives this classic recipe a delicious twist with macaroons

By Nici Wickes
  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Makes 20 centimetre
  • Print


Easter simnel cake
  • 225 gram butter
  • 225 gram caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225 gram flour
  • 100 gram ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 450 gram mixed dried fruit of your choice – sultanas, raisins, currants, apricots, etc
  • 11 almond macaroons (see below)
  • 2 tablespoon honey, warmed
  • icing sugar, to dust
Almond macaroons
  • 1 egg white
  • 80 gram ground almonds
  • 80 gram caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11 blanched almonds


Easter simnel cake
  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.
  • 2
    In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, lemon and orange zest until light and fluffy.
  • 3
    Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  • 4
    Gently fold in the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, baking powder and vanilla extract. Stir in the dried fruit and mix until well combined.
  • 5
    Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top of the cake.
  • 6
    Bake for 2 hours, checking that a skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow to cool in the tin before turning out.
  • 7
    Brush each macaroon with warm honey and arrange evenly on the cake.
  • 8
    Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Almond macaroons
  • 9
    Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • 10
    Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form, then fold in the ground almonds, sugar, cornflour and vanilla.
  • 11
    With wet hands, roll the mixture into 11-15 balls (extras are for snacking on!) and place on the prepared baking tray. Gently press an almond in the centre of each ball.
  • 12
    Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the baking paper. Makes 11-15 macaroons.


  • Makes 1 x 20cm cake.

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