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Simnel Cake
This cake has now become an Easter cake but originally it was given by servant girls to their mothers when they went home on Mothering Sunday.

CAKE INGREDIENTS: Butter - 225 g (8 oz), softened, Light muscovado sugar - 225 g (8 oz), Eggs - 4, Self-raising flour - 225 g (8 oz), Sultanas - 225 g (8 oz), Currants - 110 g (4 oz), Glacé cherries - 110 g (4 oz), quartered, Chopped candied peel - 50 g (2 oz), Lemons - 2, zest only, Mixed spice - 2 tsp.

FILLING & TOPPING INGREDIENTS: Almond paste - 450 g (1 lb), Apricot jam - 2 tbsp, Egg, 1, beaten, to glaze.

COOKING: 1. Pre-heat oven to 150C / 300F / Gas 2. Butter and line the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 inch) deep round cake tin with buttered greaseproof paper.
2. Place all the cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat well until completely blended.
Place half the mixture in the prepared tin and level the surface. 3. Take one-third of the almond paste and roll it out into a circle the size of the tin. Place it on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over and smooth the surface.
4. Bake for about 2* hours until well risen and firm to the touch. Cover with foil after 1 hour if the top is browning too quickly. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with a little warmed apricot jam and roll out half the remaining almond paste to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate.
6. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the almond paste with a sharp knife. Form the remaining almond paste into 11 balls t represent the 11 apostles (not counting Judas).
7. Brush the almond paste with beaten egg and arrange the balls around the outside. Brush the tops of the balls with egg as well. Place the cake under a hot grill to turn the almond paste golden.
8. Decorate with crystallised flowers such as violets, primroses and jonquils, if liked.