Simnel share ’n’ tear buns

Don't choose between hot cross buns, Simnel cake and Chelsea buns - this ingenious Easter bake brings together all three
PREP 1 hrs 30 mins
COOK 30 mins
DIFFICULTY More effort


  • calories 340
  • carbs 62
  • saturated fat 3
  • sugar 35
  • protein 7
  • fat 7
  • fibre 2
  • salt 0.2


300g strong white bread flour
140g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g golden caster sugar
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
zest 1 lemon
200ml warm milk
2 tsp almond extract
1 large egg
oil, for greasing bowl/proving
50g butter, at room temperature
100g light soft brown sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp lemon juice
50g mixed peel
50g currants
50g marzipan, coarsely grated, plus 50g/2oz extra for the ‘Apostle’ balls
85g apricot jam
85g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds


  1. Mix the flours, sugar, yeast, zest and 1 tsp salt in a big bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, almond extract and egg, then stir into the dry ingredients with a cutlery knife. Leave to rest for 10 mins.
  2. Knead the dough for 10 mins on a lightly floured surface until smooth and no longer sticky, then put in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise somewhere warm-ish for at least 1 hr until doubled in size.
  3. Line the base of a 25 x 35cm tin, or 30cm square, with baking parchment. Mix the first 4 filling ingredients to a smooth paste, then stir in the dried fruit and 50g marzipan.
  4. Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 35 x 25cm. Crumble over the filling and press into the dough. Roll up tightly from one long side and, using a floured knife, cut into 12 even pieces. Put these into the tin, spiral-side up, leaving 0.5cm space between them. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 30-45 mins until nearly doubled in size. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  5. Bake the buns for 25-30 mins. If they are browning too quickly after 15 mins, cover loosely with baking parchment. Take the buns out of the oven and, while warm, melt the jam and brush all over the top. Leave to cool in the tin. Once cool, mix the icing sugar with a little water to a runny consistency and drizzle over. With the remaining marzipan, make 11 balls to represent the Apostles – without Judas – and scatter over with the almonds. Best eaten the day of baking. If making ahead or freezing, warm through in a low oven before serving to give that just-baked flavour.