Sunday, 8 May 2011

Easter Simnel cupcakes

So I'm a little late in posting this - but better late than never! My Granny always used to make a Simnel cake at Easter - a lovely fruit cake, with a layer of marzipan through the middle. Several years ago, knowing my Granny was starting to find it harder to do such things, I asked her for her recipe and said that I would make the Simnel cake that year. To my amazement, my Granny then produced three different recipes and explained that she used a combination of all three, using the ingredients she liked and omitting those she didn't, and sometimes basing the recipe on the ingredients she had in the house.

I looked through the three recipes, tried to decide which bits I liked and which I didn't, and then to come up with a final recipe which contained the right proportions of the different types of ingredients. To my surprise, the cake turned out far better than I had ever hoped and tasted very like the cake my Granny usually made - we were definitely both on the same wavelength!

This year I made caramel cupcakes for Easter and so I didn't make a Simnel cake. Somehow, though, it didn't feel right not having one! With the amount of cake and chocolate we had over Easter, we in no way needed a full-sized cake, so I took inspiration from a recipe I found on the BBC food website and decided to make Simnel cupcakes. I used my own secret recipe though (which I had, thankfully, written down the first time I made it up). I used a quarter of the recipe quantity, which was enough to make four large cupcakes.

For Simnel cupcakes, you fill the muffin cases halfway, then add a disc of marzipan, and then fill the case up with cake mixture. Once the cupcakes have baked and are cool, I added a disc of marzipan to the top as well. I broke with tradition for the cupcakes and instead of decorating the top with marzipan balls, I used a couple of foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and then sprinkled some edible silver stars over the top.

When you cut or bite into the cake, you find a moist, light but rich fruit cake. It's also a little gooey in the centre where the marzipan has cooked into the fruit cake mixture. If I'm honest, the cupcakes were almost a little too large as the fruit cake is quite dense - the recipe I came up with uses a large quantity of fruit. The amount of fruit is what makes the cake so good; it is truly a fruit cake and not a cake which just contains some fruit. I think half a cupcake at a time would have done me though. Maybe next year I'll end up making my full-sized cake, but if not, you can be sure that I'll be making these again!

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