Alternative simnel cake with Easter bunny

Alternative simnel cake with Easter bunny

By
From
Sweet
Serves
10-12

Essentially, this is just a standard fruit cake; however, you can vary the flavourings to suit your taste. Orange or lemon zest makes a nice addition, but I’ve also tried it with passionfruit. The alternative touch is the Easter rabbit, which is made with a simple caramel shaped in a plasticine mould – make sure there are no air bubbles in the caramel prior to pouring it into the mould. Beyond that, it all comes down to practice and your piping skills...

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
175g dark brown soft sugar
3 eggs
50ml milk
175g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
25g ground almonds
90g cherries, washed and dried, then quartered
90g stem ginger, finely chopped
90g sultanas
90g dried apricots, roughly chopped
90g dried cranberries
1kg natural marzipan
250g good-quality plasticine
olive oil, for brushing
200g caster sugar
green food colouring
100g Royal icing
3 tablespoons jam, warmed

Method

  1. Preheat the oven 170C and grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm deep, round cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, then fold in the milk, flour, spices, almonds, cherries, ginger and dried fruit. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
  2. On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll the marzipan into a circle the same size as the tin. Place on top of the cake mixture, then spoon over the remaining mixture and level the surface. Bake for 1¾–2 hours or until golden brown, risen and firm in the middle (cover with baking parchment if the top is getting too dark). A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning out onto a rack.
  3. Cut out a cardboard template of a 15cm-high rabbit and draw on any details you want. Draw and cut out a separate 12cm circle. Roll out some plasticine to 1cm thick and place the rabbit on top. Cut through the plasticine so you have a rabbit-shaped hole, then transfer to a silicone-lined mat on a flat tray, discarding the inner rabbit. Brush the inside edges of the hole with oil. Repeat with the circle.
  4. Heat the sugar in a pan until golden and liquid all through. Set the base of the pan in cold water to stop the caramel overheating, then pour into the rabbit mould to 3mm thick. Leave to set hard. Add a few drops of green colouring to the remaining caramel, and swirl to combine. Pour the green caramel into the circle mould to a depth of 3mm then leave to set hard. Spoon the icing into a small piping bag and decorate the rabbit, placing it over the original template and tracing any details. Roll the remaining marzipan out to 3mm then cut a disc out the same size as the cake. Brush the cake with warmed apricot jam then lay the marzipan on top. Roll the remaining marzipan into 13 balls and place around the edge of the cake. Place under a hot grill or glaze with a blow torch until just golden.
  5. Set the green disc in the centre of the cake. Warm the base of the rabbit in a hot pan to melt the caramel slightly, then stick to the green disc. Press down gently, leaving the rabbit upright in the middle.
Tags:
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
desserts
puddings
sweet
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