I adore rich fruit cake and I also adore marzipan, Christmas couldn’t come quick enough in my book to enjoy a slice of cake. So why I’ve never made a Simnel Cake before baffles me! On this occasion I’ve opted to use the quick and super easy Delicious Alchemy Fruit Cake Mix, I had a packet left over from Christmas and decided back then that this bake was going to be its final destination. If you have a little more time on your hands and a bigger number of tummies to fill then you can just as easily opt to make my own version of Rich Fruit Cake, but instead of using brandy use orange juice like I have here. Another super tip would be to soak your fruit overnight in orange juice, this will make the cake more moist and do away with the need to ‘feed’ the cake over several weeks.

To make this a Simnel Cake and not a Christmas Cake simply follow the additional method below;

The marzipan middle bit;

  • roll out half a 500g packet of natural coloured marzipan to approx 1 cm thick
  • Cut a circle approx 1 inch smaller than the size of your cake tin (this will prevent seepage)
  • When you’ve made the fruit cake mix according to the instructions below add 1/2 the mixture to the tin
  • place the marzipan disc onto of the mixture and top with the remaining mixture.

To Decorate your Simnel Cake

  • using the other half of the 500g marzipan roll a further circle out to top the cake, using any excess marzipan to make the 11 marzipan balls to depict the disciples.
  • Preferably using a  cooks gas lighter gently heat the marzipan to get the beautiful toasted effect. If you have no lighter then you can pop it under the grill but you may not get an even toast.

5″ Rich Fruit Cake Ingredients

1 650g packet Delicious Alchemy Christmas Cake Mix
110g soft unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative)
2 large eggs (I used 3 medium)
50ml Cointreau (brandy or orange juice & zest can be used) plus extra to soak when baked.


 For larger 7″ Rich Fruit Cake using my own recipe click here

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
  2. Double or triple line a 5″ cake tin.
  3. In a large bowl mix the butter and the Cointreau together
  4. Add the beaten eggs one by one with a spoonful of dry mix to prevent curdling.
  5. Add remaining dry mix and combine thoroughly, if the mix seems too dry, add more booze!
  6. Pour mixture into the lined tin, smooth down top with a wet silicon spatula and before transferring to oven place a square of grease proof paper on top of the mixture to prevent the cake top from catching in the oven.
  7. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes.
  8. Check with a skewer that the cake is cooked through, it should have a slight bounce to the touch.


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