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  • Jesmond Cake Company

Vegan Easter simnel cupcakes

A Simnel cake is a fruit cake traditionally made at Easter and decorated with marzipan. Usually the cake is decorated with 11 balls of marzipan representing the Apostles but not Judas. In a break with tradition I've made cupcakes rather than a cake, veganised the recipe and decorated the tops with sugar daffodils rather than balls. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes so if you can even include Judas if you're feeling forgiving.

The cupcakes are topped with a circle of marzipan and also have a layer of marzipan through the centre. This melts on baking to give a lovely squishy middle.


Makes 12 cupcakes

400g marzipan

10og sultanas

100g currants

100g raisins

50g mixed peel

50g glace cherries, chopped

40ml vegan brandy (I used Sainsbury's Basic)

250g self raising flour

170g light brown sugar

pinch of salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

zest of an orange

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

75ml sunflower oil

2 1/2 tsp cider vinegar

200ml water

juice of half an orange


Place the dried fruit, mixed peel and cherries in a bowl with the brandy and leave to soak overnight.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/325 F/gas mark 3 and line a cupcake tray with 12 paper cases. Don't use foil ones like I have in these photos as they are hard to remove.

Roll out the marzipan about 4mm thick and cut out 12 small discs (about 5cm across) and 12 larger ones (about 7cm across).

Mix all of the dry ingredients including the orange zest together in a bowl. Mix all of the wet ingredients in a jug then pour them into the dry ingredients. Mix these together quickly then fold in the dried fruit.

Working quickly, put two teaspoons of the mixture into a cupcake case, place a small disc of marzipan on top of the mixture, then add two more teaspoons so the cupcake case is nearly full. Fill all 12 cupcakes cases then bake in the oven for 60 minutes. After 30 minutes of baking cover the cupcake trays with foil to prevent the tops from burning.

After an hour a skewer inserted into the centre of a cupcake should come out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the trays and gently smooth a large disc of marzipan on top of each one. The heat will melt the marzipan onto the cupcake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, then enjoy!

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