Martha Collison's chocolate truffle simnel cake

It’s not traditional but it is delicious! This is the simnel cake for those who aren’t taken with dried fruit – and it’s just as indulgent and rich 

  • Vegetarian


125g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
250g plain flour
300g soft light brown sugar
30g cocoa powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
100g 70% dark chocolate
250ml buttermilk
2 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Eggs, beaten

200g marzipan
50g dark chocolate

200g dark chocolate
100ml double cream


1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC, gas mark 3 and then grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm round tin with baking parchment. Place the plain flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl, then stir to combine.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of boiling water or in the microwave until smooth, then remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk followed by the beaten eggs. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking until a smooth batter has formed. Spread the batter into the prepared tin, smoothing the top with a spatula.

3. Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted to the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

4. To make the marzipan truffles, roll the marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls and prepare a sheet of baking parchment. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water, then use a fork and spoon to dip the marzipan balls into the chocolate and coat completely. Transfer to the baking parchment and leave to set at room temperature.

5. To make the ganache, finely chop the dark chocolate and place into a bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until steaming, then pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until completely combined. If there are any lumps in your ganache, microwave in short bursts, stirring often, until they have melted. Allow to cool for 10 minutes at room temperature.

6. Slice the cool cake in half using a serrated knife and place the bottom half onto a cake stand or serving plate. Spread half the ganache over the bottom layer and place the final layer onto the top. Cover with the remaining ganache and then arrange the marzipan truffles around the top edge.

  • Preparation time: 45 minutes + cooling time
  • Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

Serves: 10-12

Nutritional Info

Typical values per serving:

Energy 2,354kJ
Fat 29.4g
Saturated Fat 16.8g
Carbohydrate 66.5g
Sugars 47g
Protein 8g
Salt 1g
Fibre 1.9g

per serving (for 12)

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3 stars

Average user rating Based on 26 ratings

This recipe was first published in Thu Apr 06 10:42:00 BST 2017.