Simnel Cake Recipe

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 3 reviews

Bundt Cakes Cakes Desserts Easter

Cook time Cook time: 50 minutes

Simnel cake is a light fruitcake with delicious dried fruits and topped with marzipan and apricot jam. It is a classic holiday cake popularly served during Easter in certain European countries.

We love making different kinds of holiday desserts for the kids and family to try something new. For a proper Easter feast, we like to prepare some Peeps Sugar Cookies, Easter Nest Cake, and Peanut Butter Eggs.

Homemade Simnel Cake

For the upcoming Easter, we decided we need to include Simnel Cake as a delicious treat. Not only do we find this easy to make, but this sweet delicacy is a perfect way to celebrate the end of Lent season. Since a kid, I remember my mom making this during the Easter holiday, and I was always looking forward to enjoying a bite.

This cake is easy to make, and it requires a few simple ingredients. It is made with some dried fruits, and it gives it a perfectly moist texture. We love to serve it for breakfast after eating some deviled eggs. You can make it a few days in advance, and store in the fridge.

What is a simnel cake?

This is a classic dessert that is mainly made for Easter. It is a sweet and light fruitcake indulged with a sticky layer of marzipan (almond paste) in the center. As a general rule, a simnel cake must be topped with 11 golden marzipan balls.

What does simnel cake mean?

The word simnel probably originated from the Latin word simila, which means “fine white flour” because its main ingredient is white flour. In other words, this is bread made out of white flour.

Why do we eat simnel cake at Easter?

In English history, simnel cake was prepared by servant girls for their mothers during the Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent. This occasion is when people, usually together as families, would go to the mother church to honor the patron saints and ask for blessings.

Since then, traditions have evolved and this delicious homemade cake is now eaten during Easter Sundays all over the world. Though it is not as spread in the United States as is in Europe, it is one of the main dishes many enjoy baking during this special day.

What do you eat with Simnel Cake?

You can eat it as is with a cup of tea, coffee, or milk. In our family, we enjoy eating it after our main breakfast, brunch or lunch. Usually, on this day we would combine it with classic egg salad, scalloped potatoes, slow cooker pineapple ham, or brown sugar ham. However, feel free to eat it with your favorite dishes.

Why do we put 11 balls of marzipan on a cake?

The top of the cake must be decorated with 11 marzipan balls to represent the 11 apostles of Jesus.

Simnel Cake Receipe Tips and Notes

  • Unlike typical fruitcakes, you don’t need to make simnel cake weeks before the occasion since it has a traditionally light flavor.
  • You can make it 3-5 days in advance. However, prepare the marzipan topping a day before consumption.
  • Also, the cake can be frozen for up to 3 months but again without the marzipan topping.
  • Soak the dried fruits in alcohol (brandy, whiskey or rum) overnight. This will make the fruits plump and the cake moist.
  • Similarly, you may replace alcohol with orange juice, cranberry juice or apple juice. In addition, if alcohol is not an option, use black tea depending on your liking.
  • Homemade marzipan can last for about a month if kept in the refrigerator. Just put it in a plastic wrap before refrigerating.
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5 from 3 reviews

Simnel Cake Recipe

Simnel cake is a light fruitcake with delicious dried fruits and topped with marzipan and apricot jam. It is a classic holiday cake popularly served during Easter in certain European countries.

Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 12 slices
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes Total time: 1 hr 10 mins




Nutrition information

Calories: 547 Carbohydrates: 66 Protein: 8 Fat: 28 Saturated Fat: 11 Cholesterol: 95 Sodium: 320 Potassium: 382 Fiber: 3 Sugar: 37 Vitamin A: 695 Vitamin C: 2.3 Calcium: 98 Iron: 3
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Danielle Fox

I have never heard of this type of cake but I am so interested. I like bread with fruit in it, they have it in Amish country by me and this makes me think of that


Melissa Chapman

Loved the lesson on sinnel cake and it is new to me. I knew fruit cake was traditional at Christmas but this is a sweet cousin.


Sarah Bailey

Now this sounds absolutely delicious - I haven't had Simnel Cake for ages, I could totally whip one up to make up for that now though!


Amber Myers

I've never tried a cake like this before. I'm intrigued. It looks amazing and it's also pretty!


Terri Steffes

It sounds a bit like my grandma's rum cake. If you don't soak it with rum, it looks a lot like this bread. Delicious, and I love the tradition.


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I am a huge marzipan fan. This cake looks so unique and delicious! I would love to try making this one day!



I don't think I've ever tried anything like this before. I might have to make it.



I've never even heard of Simnel cake before. I need to try my hand at making it for Easter.


Ruth I

This is the first time I've heard of this. It looks so good and delicious!



It was interesting to read the history of this cake and how it has changed with time. I love learning about other people's traditions. I can see how this would be a family favorite.



I don't think I've ever had simnel cake before. But I do have a sweet tooth so I need to try your recipe. That cake looks so good!



I have never heard or tried Simnel cake before. That looks so pretty and tasty! I want to try. 



I don't think I've ever heard of this particular cake before but it sounds like it tastes amazing! I need to try this recipe for sure!


Crystal Lopez

I've never heard of this before but I love the history and the story behind it. It looks amazing. I am not a big fruitcake person, but I think this looks amazing. And I've never tried marzipan.... I would be up for it!


Shannon Gurnee

This looks like a yummy recipe. I would love to try making this sometime.


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