Good Friday I was feeling, ‘meh’, burnt out, tired and unable to face the mess from a busy week or even worse the prospect of building even more mess over the Easter holidays. But Mr A volunteered to take the kids food and ingredient shopping, so I cleaned the kitchen and prepared for some baking therapy.
Simnel cakes have been around since medieval times as a sweet treat, it was the Victorians who decided to decorate them with 11 balls to represent the disciples minus Judas. My interpretation, as a ‘heathen’, as Mr A affectionately refers to me, is all about Spring. I am a firm believer we need festivals to see us through the seasons.
Last week was my last visit to Panasonic as part of this year’s Intelligent Living Mums Blogger project. I was very pleased to leave with more recipes from their fabulous in house experts. Many of the bloggers involved have raised the bar on the cooking front since testing a Panasonic Combi or Breadmaker. I was really moved to hear Sara from Walking with Angels talk about how much of a difference baking has made to her family.
I would never have bothered to make something like this normally, but the combi and breadmaker take some of the hassle out, leaving more fun for novelty stuff. I think it is the best cake I have made yet. Maybe I burnt it, but it tastes awesome still (human error, I set the timer to 6 instead of 3, it is impossible to forget about and therefore burn something in a combi, it beeps and turns off after the time is up).
Dish – 20.5cm round deep cake tin, greased and lined with baking parchment.
230 plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
half tsp cinnamen
half tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
175g butter at room temperature
175g light brown muscavodao sugar
finely grated rind of an unwaxed lemon
4 large eggs, beaten
50g ground almonds
350g mixed dried fruit
100g of glace cherries, rinsed, dried and halved
2 tbsp of milk
450g of white marzipan (I only had yellow)
Preheat the oven to (Panasonic Convection) 180C.
1. Sieve flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and put aside.
2. Beat butter, lemon rind and sugar until lights and fluffy in a big bowl.
3. Slowly add the eggs a little at a time, beat well afrer each addition, add the ground almonds with the last egg.
4. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture with a metal spoon.
5. Wash, halve and dry the cherries and add to the mix, along with the dried fruit and milk.
6. Roll out the marzipan and cut a circle slightly smaller than the size of the tin.
7. Add half the mix to the lined and greased tin, spread out evenly then add the circle of marzipan, then spoon the rest of the mixture on top and spread evenly.
8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 mins, then reduce to (Panasonic CONVECTION) 170C for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted to just above the marzipan layer.
9. When cool, remove from the tin.
10. Roll and cut another piece of marzipan to fit the top. Then either go down the traditional 11 ball route as illustrated by my talented cake making friend Sarah below, or decorate in your own style as we did.
10. Grill for 3-4 mins at (Panasonic Combi – GRILL 1), on the enamel shelf on the lower position so that the top is just browned. I gave mine 6 mins by accident, hence the burnt bunny, but it still tastes awesome!