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The Ambassador’s Simnel Cake
The Ambassador’s Simnel Cake
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Cooking Time1 hour 30 mins Serves11

This fun take on an Easter classic uses Ferrero Rocher instead of marzipan balls. Make sure you use 11 – one for each of the disciples, except for Judas.


175 butter

175g light brown sugar

3 eggs

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons mixed spice

50g glacé cherries

250g mixed dried fruit (such as raisin, mixed peel, dried apricots)

3 tbsp milk

400g golden marzipan

2 tbsp apricot jam

11 Ferrero Rocher chocolates


1) Butter and line the base and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2.

2) Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and increased in volume. Mix in each of the eggs, one by one, adding a spoonful of flour if it looks like it might split. Fold in the flour, baking powder and spice, until no traces of dry powder remain, then fold through the cherries and dried fruit, and loosen with the milk.

3) Roll out ½ of the marzipan and cut into an 18cm circle – ie, slightly smaller than your cake tin. Reserve the rest in clingfilm so it doesn’t dry out. Spoon half of the cake batter into the base of the tin, and then carefully place the marzipan disc on top of the batter. Spoon the rest of the batter onto the marzipan and jiggle the tin gently to even out the level.

4) Bake for 1½ hours, or until golden brown; the sponge should spring back when pressed gently with a finger. Check the cake after 1 hour – if it’s looking too brown, cover with foil. Remove the cake from the oven. Cool in the tin for the first 15 minutes, and then remove from the tin, and leave to cool completely.

5) Roll out the remaining marzipan into a 20cm circle. Brush the top of the cake with jam – warm it briefly on the hob if it’s too stiff. Place the marzipan on the cake, crimping the edges between your thumb and two fingers. Place the Ferrero Rochers around the rim at even intervals, securing them with a little jam.