Simnel loaf cake

Celebrate Easter with our stunning simnel loaf cake. Hidden marzipan along with a toasted marzipan and cherry decoration makes this a showstopper dessert

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:1 hrs
  • Serves 8
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 447
  • fat 20g
  • saturates 9g
  • carbs 59g
  • sugars 45g
  • fibre 1g
  • protein 6g
  • salt 0.5g


  • 125g mixed dried fruit (a mixture of sultanas, currants, raisins and candied mixed peel)
  • ½ small orange, zested and juiced
  • vegetable or sunflower oil, for the tin
  • 125g marzipan
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 90g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g glacé cherries, halved, plus 6-8 left whole, to serve
  • 100g icing sugar


Decorate like a pro

If you like, you can put the marzipan balls under a hot grill for a minute or two until just starting to caramelise – be very careful as the marzipan will burn easily.


  1. Put the mixed dried fruit in a bowl with the orange juice and zest and 1 tbsp water. Cover and microwave for 2 mins, then leave to cool completely. Alternatively, heat gently in a pan, stirring now and then until the liquid has been absorbed and leave to cool.

  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and oil a 900g loaf tin before lining the base and sides with baking parchment. Roll out 50g of the marzipan into a sausage that is as long as the loaf tin. Wrap the remaining the marzipan and set aside for later. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, lemon zest, mixed spice and vanilla (all in one go) and mix until well combined. Stir in the cooled, soaked dried fruit, then fold in the cherries.

  3. Pour the cake batter into the tin until it is halfway full. Lay the sausage of marzipan down the middle, then scrape in the remaining cake mixture, making sure the marzipan is covered. Bake for 40-50 mins. Check it’s cooked by inserting a skewer into the cake, if any wet mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven for another 10 mins, then check again. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

  4. Mix the icing sugar with the juice from the lemon and enough water (about 1 tbsp) to make a thick but pourable icing. Roll the remaining marzipan into 6-8 equal-sized balls, and caramelise, if you like (see tip below). Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake, letting it stream down the sides a little. Top with the marzipan balls, alternating each one with a cherry. Will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.

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