Beyond easter eggs and hot cross buns, Annabel Karmel shares two of her favourite Easter recipes.
Simnel cake is a light fruit cake that is covered in marzipan. Simnel cakes were originally a Mothering Sunday tradition, but are now more popular at Easter and make lovely Easter gifts for friends and family.
200g caster sugar
200g butter, softened
250g self-raising flour
4 large eggs
Zest of one orange
1 tbsp mixed spice
150g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
50g stem ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp apricot jam
450g golden marzipan
Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F.
Using a 9” round springform tin, line the base and grease the sides.
Mix the caster sugar, butter, flour, eggs, zest and spice together in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the prepared fruit and ginger and mix well. Spoon half of the cake mixture into the base of the tin.
Roll one third (150g) of the marzipan out to a 9” circle and place on top of the mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level.
Bake in the oven for about 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the tin and let cool.
Meanwhile, roll another third of the marzipan out to a 9” circle.
When the cake is cold, melt the jam in a small pan, then brush the top of the cake with the jam and place the marzipan circle on top.
Divide the remaining third of the marzipan into 11 pieces (one for each of the Apostles, minus Judas) and shape into little balls by rolling between your palms. Position these around the edge of the cake.
Arrange fresh flowers or flowers made of icing in the middle of the cake and decorate to serve.
The Easter break is a lovely opportunity to cook with your child. These slightly chewy biscuits are fun to make as children love rolling out dough and cutting cookie shapes.
50g soft brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
150g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp ground ginger
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp apricot jam
Coloured sprinkles or desiccated coconut
White writing icing
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale. Add the golden syrup, flour, ginger, egg yolk and bicarbonate of soda and beat together until you form a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
On a floured work surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of about 3mm. Start in the centre of the dough and roll evenly outwards. Cut into bunny shapes using cookie cutters from the outside edges of the dough into the centre, cutting as closely together as possible. Re-roll the trimmings until all the dough is used up.
Place on baking sheets lined with baking paper and bake for about 9 minutes. Allow to cool, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool, warm the apricot jam in a small pan or in a bowl in the microwave until runny, and sieve. Brush a little jam in the centre of each biscuit and scatter over some sprinkles or desiccated coconut. Use silver balls for eyes and noses and attach sugar flowers with a blob of the writing icing. Do the same with the mini marshmallow for the bunny’s tail.