A Simnel Tart for Easter

Wednesday 24 March 2010

(Image borrowed from More Food who bake these lovely cakes, amongst others,which are available for purchase at Waitrose)

Simnel Cake is a cake that is quite traditional over here in the UK during the Easter Season. It is a type of light fruitcake, similar to a Christmas Cake, except that a layer of Marzipan is baked into the centre of it, and it is covered with another layer of marzipan on top, with no frosting.

On the top of the cake, around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls to represent the true apostles of Jesus; Judas is omitted. In some variations Christ is also represented, by a ball placed at the centre.

Originally they were a Mothering Sunday tradition, when young girls in service would make one to take home to their mothers on their day off. There is a popular legend however, that attributes their creation to the English pretender Lambert Simnel, who, according to the legend, devised it during the time in which he was forced to work in Henry VII's kitchens.

Every year I have big plans to make one, and indeed, this year was no different. I did buy all that I needed to make one . . . but with having to move and pack up everything etc., I have just run out of time . . .

I did create a delicious simnel tart though, using up some of the fruit and marzipan I had bought, along with some puff pastry that I had in the freezer that needed using up, and some ginger jam that I needed to use up from the fridge . . .

This was delicious. Much better than a cake I think, and Todd was in agreement, if the way he snuffled it up was any indication!! I'd call it a success!

Perhaps I have started a new tradition? What do you think? It was certainly a lot easier than making a cake and it was also done lickety split, in no time at all, whereas a cake would have taken several hours baking in the oven.

That's a bonus in my books!

Imagine puff pastry, slathered with ginger jam and covered with dried mixed fruit that you have soaked in gingerbeer . . . if you were so inclined you could use gingerwine . . . and then mixed with grated marzipan. Baked in a hot oven until the pastry is crisp and brown and the marzipan melted and oozing with ginger jam amongst the gingery fruits . . . this went down a real treat, served up warm and cut into slabs, with some pouring cream spooned on top.

*Simnel Tart*
Serves 4 to 6
Printable Recipe

A deliciously fruity tart in a lovely puff pastry base, and steeped in Marzipan and lucious ginger jam. Oh, my but this is good.

8 ounces dried mixed fruit
4 TBS ginger beer
1 X 375g sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
3 TBS ginger conserve or jam
200g marzipan, grated

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F. Mix the dried fruit with the gingerbeer in a bowl. Set aside to macerate.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the pastry out onto the parchment paper. Mark a border about 1/2 inch from the border all the way around. Brush the jam over the inside of this border. Chill for 10 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator. Drain the fruit and then mix together with the grated marzipan. Sprinkle over the pastry, within the confines of the border. Bake for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Serve cut into squares with or without cream as desired.


  1. Que cosa tan rica. me apunto tu receta. Gracias

  2. Your photos and description have me making a market list immediately! This is lovely!
    xoxo Pattie

  3. How different!! The ginger beer:) Thank you for the yeast:) And everything else..Have a great day.I had never heard of this cake~

  4. SCRUMPTIOUS! Oh, this looks very moreish, Marie! :o) ((HUGS))

  5. oooooooo clapping out loud for this !

  6. This tart looks divine Marie, I think I would prefer this to the cake even :) Love the sound of your casserole over at Oak Cottage - I will definitely try that. Love Lucie x

  7. What a wonderful idea for Easter, I think this is a 'must make' tart. It looks delicious.

  8. I've always preferred pastries to cakes, actually. They're just so much more interesting. I wonder if I can find ginger jam and marzipan in my backwoods grocery store.

  9. Tamara, you could also use apricot jam if you can't find the ginger jam!

  10. Yum - that does look good. I've never tasted a simnel cake before let alone made one but i reckon I could try may hand at this tart.

  11. Amazing! I have never heard of this before;looks so tasty!

  12. Wow Marie that is stunning!!

  13. Oh Marie, this sounds divine. Simnel cake has been on my list to make for ages because it sounds so good and I have never tried it. The family prefers pie to cake so this would be perfect.I have marzipan and some pear and ginger jam so I'll use that.

  14. I haven't made a simnel cake for years. Your tart looks more manageable, a bit like a simnel version of the minute apple tart! Nice and simple but tasty.

  15. That tart looks super delicious!


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