Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Simnel Muffins

A traditional Simnel cake

When I was younger my Mum always made Simnel Cake for Easter. Simnel cake is a light fuit cake, similar to a Christmas Cake, (I used all my remaining dried fruits from Christmas- don't worry they have been zip locked!), covered in marzapin, and eaten at Easter in the UK and Ireland. A layer of marzipan or almond paste is also baked into the middle of the cake. On the top of the cake, around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls to represent the true disciples of Jesus.
For the last few years we have not really eaten Simnel cake and I do like it but as a fruit cake it often ends up being left in favour of the Easter chocolate! I really wanted to make my own Simnel cake so when I saw these on the Good Food website I thought they were perfect! Simnel Muffins. They are packed full of dried fruit and have a marzipan layer in the centre- just as the cake does!

Nathan and I both had one for our breakfast this morning (well Nathan might have had more than one!) and they tasted really good. I think I will make some more for my Easter baskets this Sunday.

Simnel Muffins

  • 250g mixed dried fruits
  • grated zest and juice 1 medium orange
  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 175g marzipan
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice for mixing
  • and mini eggs or other decorations
  1. Tip the fruit into a bowl, add the zest and juice and microwave on medium for 2 minutes (or leave to soak for 1 hour). Line 12 deep muffin tins with paper muffin cases.
  2. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ 160C/gas 4. Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, spices and milk until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes) - use a wooden spoon or hand held mixer. Stir the fruit in well.
  3. Half fill the muffin cases with the mixture. Divide the marzipan into 12 equal pieces, roll into balls, then flatten with your thumb to the size of the muffin cases. Put one into each muffin case and spoon the rest of the mixture over it. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen, golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool.
  4. Beat together the icing sugar and orange juice to make icing thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Drizzle over the muffins and top with a cluster of eggs. Leave to set. Best eaten within a day of making.

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