Michelle's Freefrom Easter Simnel (or Fruit) Cake

Corn, nightshade, peanut, sesame, & soya free; can be egg, gluten, lactose, milk, nut and wheat free

Real Simnel cake, traditionally eaten at Easter, complete with marzipan, is a no-no for those with either egg or nut allergies – but this recipe still makes a very nice fruit cake. Those who have no problems with eggs or nuts can continue on to ‘ice’ it with marzipan.
In a traditional Simnel cake a layer of marzipan is baked into the middle of the cake but because of the liquid texture of this mixture, this is not an option – you can just put a thicker layer on top. On the top of the cake, around the edge, you can put eleven marzipan balls to represent the apostles, excluding Judas; sometime an extra ball is put in the middle to represent Christ. The word simnel may have come from the Latin simila, the fine, wheat flour from which the cake would have been made.

Ingredientsfreefrom simnel cake

  • 300g / 10½ oz self-raising (self-rising) gluten-free flour or
    150g / 5½ oz each chick pea and white rice flour plus an extra heaped tsp of gluten-free baking powder (baking soda)
  • 100g / 3½ oz buckwheat flour
  • 2 heaped tsp gluten/wheat-free baking powder (baking soda)
  • 150g / 5½ oz dark molasses sugar
  • 100g butter, dairy-free spread (we used PURE organic) or coconut oil
  • 150g / 5½ oz raisins
  • 100g / 3½ oz sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 100g / 3½ oz stem ginger drained and chopped small
  • 300ml / 10 fl oz each ginger beer and (hard) cider


  • 150g / 5½ oz each ground almonds and caster (fine white) sugar
  • 1 egg white and juice ½–1 lemon
  • some fairly smooth fruit jam (jelly)


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
  2. Mix the flours with the baking powder (baking soda) and sugar in a food processor.
  3. Add the butter or spread and whizz to mix.
  4. Turn into a bowl and stir in the raisins, sultanas (golden raisins) and stem ginger, followed by the ginger beer and (hard) cider.
  5. Spoon into a greased, loose-bottomed 20cm cake tin (8" cake pan) and bake for 80 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Cool slightly in the tin, then remove onto a rack (grid) to cool completely.


  1. Mix the ground almonds with the sugar in a bowl.
  2. Gradually stir in about half of the egg white and sufficient lemon juice to get a moist and sticky, but not wet, texture and for the lemon juice to take the sweet edge off the marzipan.
  3. When the cake is quite cold, cover the top with a thin layer of jam – to make the marzipan stick to the cake.
  4. Roll out the marzipan, ‘dusting’ the counter with icing (confectioners) sugar, to roughly the size of the cake.
  5. Cut out a round and place it on top.
  6. If it will not roll you can also just press it out on the top of the cake with your hands.
  7. Use the left over bits of marzipan to roll out 12 small balls.
  8. Place eleven of these (to represent the apostles) round the outside of the cake, and one, to represent Christ in the middle.

Whole Cake
4551cals - 73g protein
92g total fat - 53g sat / 21g mono / 7g poly
900g carbohydrate of which 361g sugar
26g fibre - 2456mg sodium / 6.2g salt
13978mg calcium

1512cals - 34g protein
83g total fat - 7g sat / 57g mono / 16g poly
167g carbohydrate of which 164g sugar
11g fibre - 82mg sodium / 0.2g salt
365mg calcium

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