Over the years I have always made a large Simnel cake, but this year I was tempted by the pretty mini Simnel cakes in the April 2007 issue of Delicious magazine.
Julia over at A Slice of Cherry Pie is hosting an Easter Cake Bake and these little cakes seemed perfect, with the pretty little flowers as decoration, especially as we are now surrounded by spring flowers.
175g butter, softened, 175g caster sugar, 3 medium eggs, 225g plain flour sifted, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp mixed spice, 350g luxury mixed dried fruit, 100g chopped walnuts or almonds, grated zest and juice of 1 orange, 100g natural almond paste, cubed.
For the decoration: icing sugar to dust, 325g natural almond paste, yellow and green food paste colour.
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3 and grease a 12 x 125ml muffin tin or mould. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs and flour until smooth. Add the baking powder, spice, fruit and nuts, orange zest and juice, mix well. Divide between the 12 muffins and push in the almond paste pieces. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and firm. Cool for 20 minutes, then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.
2. Thinly roll out 250g almond paste. Press out 12 rounds with a 7cm plain cutter. Press on each cake and crimp the edges. Colour any remaining almond paste to make flowers and leaves.
Next time I make these I will alter them slightly by omitting the nuts and also only using 50g of cubed marzipan and not the 100g as in the recipe, this is because I found the ratio of marzipan to cake was too much.
These cakes are delicious and I will definitely make them again.