A divine simnel cake for Easter

This traditional Easter recipe by Linda Collister is packed with fruit and marzipan and contains a Divine chocolate twist. Don't forget the eleven balls of marzipan, representing the Apostles, to put the final icing on the cake.


For one large cake

230g plain flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

A good pinch of salt

175g unsalted butter, softened

175g soft light brown muscovado sugar

4 large free-range eggs, beaten to mix

50g ground almonds

350g mixed dried fruit

100g glace cherries, rinsed, dried and halved

100g bar Divine 70% Dark Chocolate, roughly chopped

2 tbsp milk

450g white marzipan

A little apricot jam or sherry for brushing

To decorate:

Divine Speckled eggs

A ribbon


You'll need a 20.5cm/8in round, deep cake tin or springform, greased and lined.

1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt on to a sheet of greaseproof paper and set aside until needed.

3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; you can use a wooden spoon or an electric whisk or mixer.

4. Gradually beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition and adding the ground almonds with the last egg.

5. Using a large metal spoon fold in the flour followed by the dried fruit, cherries, chocolate and milk. When thoroughly combined spoon half of the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly.

6. Roll-out one third of the marzipan to a circle slightly smaller than the tin. Set in on top of the cake the cover with the rest of the cake mixture. Spread it evenly then make a slight hollow in the centre so the cake rises evenly.

7. Bake in the centre of the oven for30 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/ Gas3 and bake for a further 60 to 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in to the centre of the cake, just down to the marzipan layer, comes out clean.

8. Leave to cool on a wire rack then remove from the tin and discard the lining paper.

9. Roll out two-thirds of the remaining marzipan to a circle to fit the top of the cake. Brush the top of the cake with a little warm apricot jam or sherry and set the marzipan disc on top. Shape the rest of the marzipan into 11 balls and arrange around the edge.

10. Fill the centre with miniature Easter eggs and finish with a ribbon around the cake.

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