450g/1lb Odlums Cream Plain Flour
1 level teaspoon Bread Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda
1 level teaspoon Cream of Tartar or Bextartar
Pinch of Salt
1 tablespoon of Sugar (optional)
300ml/½ pint Buttermilk or Sour Milk (approx.)
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 5-6.
2. Dust an 8”/ 20cm deep cake tin with flour.
3. Sift the flour, salt, bread soda and cream of tartar into a bowl and add sugar if used.
4. Rub in the margarine. Then, add enough milk to make a soft dough.
5. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead a little.
6. Turn the smooth side up. Place into tin. Cut a cross over the top.
7. Bake in an oven for 40-45 minutes.
8. Cool on a wire tray. Cover with a dry tea towel to give a soft crust.
Add enough wet mixture to dry mixture to make a firm paste. Knead well to make a smooth paste.
Note: If you don’t want to make almond paste just use 3 x 250g packs of Shamrock Marzipan.
Spread apricot jam on top of cake. Shape a further 1/3 of the almond paste to form a 20cms/ 8″ round and place on top.
Shape remaining almond paste into 11 balls and arrange around top of paste.
Place under preheated grill for a minute or so to lightly toast
Simnel cake is traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday. In olden days female servants would bake this fruit cake using all the ingredients that had to be used up before the fast and abstinence of Lent. They would take this home on their rare visits to their mothers on Mothering Sunday.
The Simnel cake is a symbolic Easter cake and is decorated to signify aspects of Christianity. The eleven marzipan balls around the cake represent the 11 disciples, though there were 12 – Judas Iscariot betrayed so he is omitted! Some people just put a large ball in the centre of the cake to signify Jesus.
Note: Strong white flour gives a flat top on the cake, but Odlums Cream Plain Flour can also be used.