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Chocolate almond simnel cake
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200g butter, softened
200g light muscovado sugar
150g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
2 tsp mixed spice
3 British Blacktail Eggs (any size)
125g chopped dried pitted dates
50g mixed peel
1 tbsp no peel marmalade
11 chocolate coated almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC, gas mark 3. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm round tin with baking parchment.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the flour, cocoa powder, mixed spice and eggs and mix until smooth. Fold in the dried fruit, then place ½ the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface.
3. Take ¹/³ of the marzipan and roll out into a disc the same size as the cake tin. Place the disc on top of the mixture, then spoon the remaining batter over the marzipan. Use a spoon to push the mixture right to the edges of the tin.
4. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 1 hour 30 minutes-1 hour 45 minutes, until the top is a dark golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin before turning it out.
5. Roll ½ the remaining marzipan into a disc the same size as the cake. Make the remaining ½ into 11 equal-sized balls. Warm the marmalade, then brush it over the top of the cake.
6. Crimp the edges of the marzipan disc and gently press it onto the cake. Arrange the marzipan balls evenly around in a circle. Place the whole cake under the grill (or use a blowtorch) to gently toast the marzipan. Keep a close eye on it because you don’t want to burn the cake right at the end.
7. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes, then press a chocolate coated almond into each ball. This cake will keep for up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight container.
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