Fruity simnel squares

This easy twist on the classic fruit sponge makes plenty of squares - all decorated with marzipan eggs
PREP 40 mins
COOK 1 hrs


  • calories 576
  • carbs 79
  • saturated fat 10
  • sugar 65
  • protein 9
  • fat 25
  • fibre 3
  • salt 0.5


250g mixed dried fruits
100g dried apricots, chopped
85g glacé cherries, chopped
zest 2 oranges, juice 1 orange (use the second in the topping)
200g butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
200g light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
500g marzipan, 200g/7oz cut into 2cm chunks, the rest for the topping
50g butter
50g light muscovado sugar
100g plain flour
100g flaked almonds
3 tbsp golden syrup
85g icing sugar, sieved
2-3 tsp orange juice


  1. Soak all the dried fruit in the orange juice for 2 hrs, or overnight.
  2. Butter and line a 20 x 30cm tin with baking parchment. Heat oven to 160C/ 140C fan/gas 3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time; mix well between each addition.
  3. Sift the flour into the bowl and mix in the ground almonds and spices. Add the marzipan chunks, zest and dried fruit with any remaining juice, and give everything a good stir to combine.
  4. Tip the cake mix into the prepared tin, level the surface, and bake for 45 mins – the cake may still be a little gooey in the centre at this point. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6.
  5. Make the topping. Rub the butter, sugar and flour together with your fingers to a crumbly breadcrumb texture. Grate in 200g reserved marzipan, add the flaked almonds and golden syrup. Mix everything with a fork, making sure it stays crumbly and doesn’t clump. Sprinkle over the cake and return to the oven for 12-15 mins. Meanwhile, divide the rest of the marzipan into 11 and roll into balls.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven once cooked through, arrange the marzipan balls on top and allow to cool in the tin. Mix the icing sugar with enough orange juice to give a runny icing, drizzle it all over the cake, then let it set a little before slicing it.