Easter Simnel Cakes

Ingredients

  • about 450g marzipan
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 50g honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g full-fat cream cheese
  • 4 medium free-range eggs
  • 150g currants
  • 75g raisins
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • icing sugar, for rolling
  • edible gold balls, to decorate

Method

  1. Place 12 paper muffin cases in the pockets of a muffin tray, and preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Roll the marzipan out to about 3mm/⅛in thick and cut two sets of discs, a dozen of each: one measuring about 5cm/2in in diameter and the other about 6cm/2½in. Stack these on a plate while you make the cake mixture.
  3. Beat the sugar, oil, honey, vanilla and cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth, then beat in the eggs until thoroughly mixed through. Stir in the currants and raisins, then sift in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice and stir well.
  4. Spoon about 1-2cm/½-¾in of cake mixture into each paper-lined pocket, lay one of the small marzipan disks on it and press it down gently to remove any air pockets, then spoon more of the mixture on top to three-quarter fill the papers.                                  
  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer pocked in comes out almost clean.
  6. When the cakes are out of the oven, place a disc of marzipan on each and very gently press it down and around: the heat from the cupcake will soften the marzipan and seal it on.                                     
  7. When the cakes have cooled you can decorate them with marzipan balls or try making an Easter Chick out of marzipan!

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