So let’s get to it and bake!
Simnel Cupcakes. Yum
Yield: 8 cupcakes
Time: hands on time 25 minutes; plus 20 – 25 minutes bake time; cooling time.
Freezable: Yes, undecorated
Storage: Airtight container for 3 or 4 days.
You will need:
Electric Hand Held Beater or Wooden Spoon
Spatula or large Metal Spoon
Muffin Sized Paper Cases
Muffin Baking Tray
Round Biscuit Cutter 58mm (2.25″)
For the sponge mixture
70g Unsalted Butter, softened
70g Soft Light Brown Sugar
1 Lemon, Zest of
1 large Egg, beaten
70g Lemon Yoghurt (or plain natural yoghurt)
100g Mixed Dried Fruits
90g SR Flour
1 heaped tsp Apricot Jam
How to make them:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 190c / Fan 170c / Gas 5. Place the paper cupcake cases into the muffin tray.
2. Prepare the marzipan layer. Divide the 40g marzipan into 8 equal pieces. Roll each pieces into a ball between the palms of your hands. Gently flatten the balls to make a relatively thick disc. The discs needs to be smaller in diameter than your cupcake cases so that the marzipan is hidden within the sponge during the bake. Set aside.
3. Prepare the dried fruit. Once your dried fruit is weighed break up any clumps. If your fruit contains whole glace cherries, cut these into smaller pieces and add a teaspoon of the weighed flour. Distribute the flour amongst the fruit (particularly the cherries) to prevent them from sticking together.
4. Make the sponge. Place the softened butter and sugar into a good sized bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until pale and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and beat again to combine. Gradually add the beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the yoghurt. Add the dried mixed fruit and stir to combine. Sieve the flour into the bowl. Using a spatula or large metal spoon fold this in gently.
5. Fill the cupcake cases. Use a teaspoon to partially fill the cupcake cases so that they are about 2cm full. Flatten the mixture in the cupcase a little. Lay the marzipan disc on top of the batter. Top with some more batter. You’re aiming for the cases to be half to two-thirds full.
6. Bake. Place the muffin tray in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. You may need to rotate the tray after 15 minutes of baking. Remove the tray from the oven once the cupcakes are fully baked, with a deep golden top and a sponge which springs back when touched. Carefully remove each cupcake from the baking tray hollow and place on a cooling tray.
7. Meanwhile, prepare the decoration. Place a heaped spoonful of apricot jam into a small bowl. Add two or three drops of water to the jam and mix to loosen it. Set aside. Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar. Manipulate the marzipan a little in your hands to soften it. Place the marzipan onto the icing sugar and roll out to about 2-3mm thick, avoid getting icing sugar on the upper surface of the marzipan. Use the biscuit cutter to cut 8 discs. Set them aside. With the offcuts of marzipan roll 8 small balls. Set aside.
8. Decorate. Once the cupcakes have fully cooled, use the back of the teaspoon to spread a little jam onto the underside of the marzipan disc. Place the disc jam side down onto the cupcake. Apply gentle pressure with your fingertips to secure the disc in place. Use the back of the spoon to apply a small amount of jam to the base of the marzipan ball and affix to the centre of the cupcake. Repeat with the remaining simnel cupcakes.
a) Both french set and traditional yoghurt work equally well in this bake, though if using a french set I’d suggest weighing it into a cup and stirring it through to loosen before adding to the batter mixture.
b) If you don’t have a biscuit cutter to the size you need, simply use the base of a small glass as a stencil to cut around.
c) The cupcakes will hold 11 marzipan balls positioned traditionally around the edge by making each one fairly small.
d) If you like, you could toast the decorated cupcakes under a pre-heated grill (or with a cook’s blow torch) for a minute or two. Though if using the grill do keep a sharp eye on them to prevent them from burning.