Simnel Cupcakes are crammed with fruit and marzipan, flavoured with orange, and topped with icing and chocolate eggs - a perfect Easter teatime treat.
I usually make small cakes in fairy cake cases, on the grounds that a small bite is all you need to feel indulged, but not over-indulged. I've made an exception here because there is no way I could get everything I wanted into a very small cake. You won't be eating two of these at a sitting.
If they're too big you could always share, but some occasions demand a hefty cake - and this is it.
I love Simnel Cake, either the traditional kind or the Orange Simnel Cake I recently made, which doesn't have dried fruit in it.
The beauty of these Simnel Cupcakes is that they have all the good things of both of those cakes - fruit, orange, marzipan - and then you have icing and chocolate as well. What more could you want?
Well, you might want a slight taste of alcohol, I suppose. If you do, just soak the fruit in 60 ml of orange liqueur - or any spirit really - instead of orange juice.
And if chocolate really isn't your thing, you could use more marzipan and cut out Easter shapes to go on top. Or you could cut out stars for Christmas. In fact, you could have these cakes at any time of the year and put an appropriate motif on top.
I did try these cakes without any icing - and actually sent some down to my mother-in-law un-iced. Not because I was being mean, but I didn't have time to finish them.
We all liked them in their naked state and I might make them again like that, but if you do want indulgence you need icing and as much as you can cram on top.
If you like this...
...Why don’t you try:
For the cake mixture:
- 1 large unwaxed orange
- 250 g dried mixed fruit
- 175 g butter
- 150 g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 20 ml milk
- 250 g self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder (2.5ml)
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice (5ml)
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg (2.5ml)
- 50 g marmalade
For the filling and decoration:
- 150 g marzipan
- 150 g icing sugar
- 1 sachet powdered egg white (15ml or 1 tablespoon)
- 20-30 ml warm water
- chocolate mini eggs
- Zest the orange and put into a bowl big enough for the dried fruit.If you're using a grater, try to keep just the orange zest, not the white pith underneath
- Juice the orange. Put in the bowl with the zest and mix to distribute the zest
- Add the fruit to the bowl and stir to cover in juice. Set aside.If you have time, leave the fruit for an hour
- Set the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/ gas mark 4/ 350°F
- Set out the paper cases in the muffin tin
- Divide the marzipan into 12 pieces and put in the fridge.
For the Simnel Cupcakes:
- Put the remaining cake ingredients, except the marmalade, into a bowl.(Butter, sugar, eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, mixed spice, nutmeg)
- Mix together wellAbout 2 minutes on high with an electric mixer, 1- 1 ½ minutes in a food processor
- Scrape down with a spatula. Add the marmalade and mix again briefly
- Stir in the fruit and orange mixture by hand to avoid breaking the fruit
- Half fill the paper cases with mixture. Flatten a ball of marzipan into a round disc and place on top of the mixture in each paper case. Spoon the remaining mixture on top of the marzipan
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched on top
- Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool.
FOR THE ICING:
- Sift the icing sugar and dried egg white into a bowl. Mix the powders carefully with a spoon, to avoid sugar everywhereIf your icing sugar is new and looks okay, you may not need to bother (I didn’t, but I would for non-family guests)
- Add the water to the sugar a little at a time and mix until it is spreadable, but not too runny.You may not need all the water
- Coat the top of the cake with icing and arrange chocolate eggs on top.
- If you prefer. you can use orange liqueur instead of orange juice
- Decorate with marzipan shapes instead of chocolate eggs for a non-Easter treat
- The cakes will keep in an airtight container for up to a week, longer in the fridge.