This post is a bit late - so sorry. I meant to post it last week, but it was the week before our Easter holiday and it all got a bit busy. There were work deadlines, the washing, the packing, the organising and before I knew it were stuffing the car to the brim and were on our way to Norfolk.
Right now though the pace of life has slowed right down and things are far more calm and peaceful. Well about as calm and peaceful as life can get with two small boys anyway. There's been a lot of eating, pootling, crabbing, walking on the sand and having fun with friends - and eating cake. You can follow along on instagram to keep up with what we're doing. I promise to try and start taking pictures of all the cake before I snaffle it all down.
Anyway speaking of cake you might like to make these this weekend as part of your Easter celebrations. They're very lovely, especially if you like marzipan. I love marzipan. In fact I will confess to liking it so much that I snacked on a fair bit when I was making these so I didn't have enough to decorate two of them. And I did feel a little sick, so it might be best to restrain yourself if you're a glutton like me
I used Mary Berry's Simnel cake recipe and turned it into cupcakes - I was pretty pleased with how they turned out and it saves cutting cake for everyone.
To make them you will need:
100g glacé cherries 225g softened butter 225g light muscovado sugar 4 large free-range eggs 225g self-raising flour 225g sultanas 100g currants 50g chopped candied peel 2 lemons, zest only 2 level tsp ground mixed spice 450g golden marzipan 2 tbsp apricot jam
Pre heat your oven to 150c.
Cut your cherries into quarters, pop them in a sieve and rinse off the syrup, which would make the cakes too sweet if you left it on,
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and then add the eggs one at a time. Add the flour a little at a time trying not to over mix. Fold in the fruit, peel, zest and mixed spice.
Line a bun tin with paper muffin cases and put a heaped teaspoon of mixture into the bottom of each one. Roll a third of your marzipan into 12 little balls and pop one in each cupcake.
Top up with the rest of the mixture. I use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the mixture (level it off on the side of the mixing bowl) to make sure all of the cakes come out roughly the same size.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the cupcakes springs back when touched and a skewer comes out clean.
I left mine to cool completely in the tin, because I forgot to take them out - but I would probably cool them to touch in the tin and then remove to a baking sheet if I was more efficient.
To decorate gently heat your apricot jam in a small pan to make it runny. Roll out the remaining marzipan and use a large round cutter to cut out circles large enough to cover the tops of your cakes. Paint apricot jam on the top of each cake and put a marzipan circle on top.
Roll the remaining marzipan into little balls, you need five for each cake. Then sit them on top of the cakes. I found they stuck just fine, but if you'd like to be traditional and a bit fancy brush the marzipan with beaten egg, pop on the balls, dot them with egg and then put the cakes under a preheated grill to slightly brown the top of the marzipan. I didn't do this because ironically after having a house full of eggs at the weekend when I came to make these I'd completely run out.
Arrange on a cake stand for your Easter party and then have endless discussions with your guests about who loves marzipan and who hates it - there are only two camps - no one thinks it's just fine. Chocolate crispie cakes and mini eggs will do for the haters.