Its Easter time! And I love Easter.
New beginnings, fresh mornings and newly flowering bulbs. The fresh smell of spring, the lighter evenings and the promise of brighter times ahead. And of course chocolate…..
Our Easter Sunday should begin with an Easter Egg Hunt in the garden, all being well and weather permitting. I will hide the eggs around the garden, drawing myself a little map as to where I have hidden the eggs! (I’ve such a bad memory – that and Noah found a loose egg the other month, having been in the garden for nearly a year!!) Then let the children free…
Failing that I’ll be doing the hunt in the house! Which I’m sure will be just as fun. For the sake of clarity, they’ll be Cadbury Easter Eggs – of varying sizes…I’m sure we’ll have to make sure that each of the children find the same amount of eggs though. All in the name of fairness and equality.
This year Easter Sunday will be spent as usual with the family and this year some extras of the slightly more extended family. A house full of family, and with any luck I’ll be doing what I love best – the cooking.
But oddly enough I have only recently found something new for Easter, the gluten free Simnel Cake. Which is a bit of a surprise really, considering my/our love of all things marzipan!
Last year I baked a lovely Nordic Ware Bundt Easter Simnel Cake, this year I have decided to make smaller, more individual ones, using my Lakeland Mini Cake tray.
Pre-heat the oven to Gas 1 or 140c and lightly grease the inside of the cake tins. You’ll need the following;
180g soft butter
150g light brown sugar
160g Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice
400g dried fruit – I used 200g sultana, 150g raisins and 50g chopped glace cherries
zest only of 1 orange (optional)
300g ready to use marzipan
apricot jam for brushing the marzipan onto the finished, cooled cakes.
Firstly cream the soft butter and sugar until soft and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time until fully mixed. You may need to add a bit of the gluten free flour, to stop the mix from splitting. Then mix in the rest of the flour, the spice (zest if using) and the fruit until fully combined.
Split the mix in half and then divide this into the 12 hole mini cake tin.
Take roughly a third of the marzipan, and roll out, then cut using a 6cm pastry cutter. re-rolling if required to get 12 small discs. Place one of these discs onto each of the raw mix in the cake tin, then top off, using the other half of the gluten free simnel cake mix.
Bake slowly in the oven for 40 – 50 mins.
Leave to cool in the tin, before removing and then cool completely before finishing the cakes.
To finish the cakes, roll half of the remaining marzipan and using the same pastry cutter – this time with a frilly edge – cut out 12 circles. And with the remaining piece of marzipan roll 12 small balls of marzipan to place on top of the finished gluten free cakes. Warm the apricot jam gently in a microwave for about 20 seconds. This will make brushing easier. Brush each gluten free simnel cake with a small amount of apricot jam and place on, a disc of marzipan, repeat for the other 11 small cakes and finish with a ball of marzipan.
To get the glazed effect I used a small hand-held blow torch, but you can get a similar effect by glazing the tops of the marzipan with beaten egg and placing under a very hot grill for a couple of minutes. Take not to burn the marzipan, so keep your eye of the cakes.
Happy Easter to each and every one of you 🙂
AD – Fancy buying some Easter Eggs? Click the link to Amazon to take your pick