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Orange Simnel Cake with a slice removed showing the layer of marzipan inside
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Orange Simnel Cake

Orange Simnel Cake is a plain orange cake with marzipan filling and topping in the tradition of a Simnel Cake. Great for Mothering Sunday or Easter.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Teatime
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Easter, fruitcake
Servings: 12 slices
Author: [email protected] Cooks


For a 17 or 18 cm (7-inch) round cake:

  • 200 g butter, at room temperature
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • 75 g ground almonds
  • ½ large orange, zested and juiced (30ml)
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract (5ml)
  • 1 kg marzipan. bought or homemade



  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/ gas mark 4/ 350°F
  • Line the base of the tin with a baking parchment circle. Grease the tin (if it needs it) with butter paper (or a little butter on kitchen paper)
  • Take ⅖ of the marzipan and roll it into a ball in your hands then flatten onto a prepared surface
    If you use a silicone baking mat, then you don't need any extra icing sugar
  • Shape into a circle about the size of the tin, using your hands. Using a baking parchment circle as a template, roll the marzipan to fit. Cut off any excess
  • Using a baking parchment circle as a template, roll the marzipan to fit. Cut off any excess
  • Put the rest of the marzipan in the fridge to keep firm.

For the Orange Simnel Cake:

  • Put all the ingredients, except the marzipan, in a food processor or mixer and mix until well combined. Scrape down and briefly mix again
    (Butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds orange zest and juice, orange extract)
  • Spoon half the mixture into the cake tin. Place the marzipan circle over the cake mixture.
    Spoon the rest of the cake mixture over the marzipan and smooth, making a slight dip in the centre
  • Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean of cake mix
    The marzipan will stick to the skewer, so check carefully
  • Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove and put on a wire cooling rack

For the topping:

  • Using another ⅖ of the marzipan, make a second disc - as before, but cutting the edge more carefully
  • Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 and fashion each piece into a ball
  • Place the marzipan disc on top of the cake and crimp with your fingers if desired (or if the edges are ragged). Using a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern into the marzipan
  • Position each ball around the edge of the cake
  • If you want a browned top, lightly brush beaten egg over the marzipan and put under a medium grill for a few minutes.



EverydayCooks tips:
  • If your cake has dipped or peaked in the middle when it's cooked, put a piece of baking parchment or a clean tea towel on a cooling rack and turn the cake upside down as it cools in the tin. When you turn it out of the tin keep it upside down, and by the time it's cooled the top will usually be flat.
  •  If your cake top is below the surface of the tin, run a palette knife round the sides to loosen first so that the cake drops
  • Storage: Orange Simnel Cake keeps for at least a week in an airtight container in a cool place