Simnel Cupcakes make a Happy Easter!

Simnel Cupcakes | Vagabond Baking

Easter is so early this year, it’s going to be a white one! I don’t think I ever remember a snowy easter. Oh well, here are some tasty Simnel Cupcakes to cheer us up on the inside.

Having watched Mary Berry bake an awesome Simnel Cake on the Great British Bake Off Easter Masterclass tv programme this week I just couldn’t resist. I decided to make cupcakes as they bake so much quicker and I had my muffin pan to hand, rather than digging out my cake tin {yes, I am that lazy!}.

Watching Mary, I saw that the basis of the cake was a regular victoria sponge made with muscovado sugar {could I be any more in love with muscovado sugar?} and dried fuit. Well, that’s easy to cupcake! I’ve made the cupcakes a bit lighter by not adding as much fruit and only using sultanas. To be honest I didn’t have any currants and I don’t much like dried peel in cakes.

These Simnel cupcakes have a soft, fruity sponge with a hidden hunk of marzipan. The topping is a circle of marzipan and eleven marzipan balls, representing the eleven Apostles, minus Judas. The tiny marzipan balls were a bit fiddly but well worth it in the end. The cakes are glazed with beaten egg and finished under the grill. Once they’ve cooled they’re remarkably sturdy, very portable.

Simnel Cupcakes | Vagabond Baking

Simnel Cupcakes

oven 180 C / gas 4 / 350 F

12 hole muffin pan lined with paper cases

  • 175 g {1 + 1/2 sticks} soft, unsalted butter
  • 175 g {9/10th cup} light muscovado sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175 g {1 + a scant half cup} self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 175 g {a heaped cup} sultanas, or a mix of currants, sultanas and mixed peel.
  • the zest of one unwaxed lemon
  • 450 g {1 lb} marzipan
  • edible lustre powder or gel food colouring {optional}
  • apricot jam to ‘glue’ glaze
  • 1 beaten egg for final glaze

If you wish to colour half of the marzipan to give you two colours of cakes like I have, half the block then add a 1/4 tsp of lustre powder in your chosen colour, or a dash of gel food colouring, to this half and knead in. Set aside, covered to prevent it drying out.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with a food mixer. Once light and well blended, add the beaten eggs a third at a time along with a spoon of the flour, beating well inbetween. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Combine the flour with the spices then sift over the batter. Fold in then stir in the dried fruit and the lemon zest.

Take a eighth {50g} of each of the two colours of marzipan and divide each by six. Roll the twelve pieces into balls.

Divide the batter between the paper cases in the muffin pan. Push a marzipan ball into each of the cakes. Try to remember which side of the tin is coloured, and which is plain, as the marzipan will sink from view into the cake when they cook.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the surface of the cakes spring back when gently pressed. Remove from the tin, keeping the two colours separate, cool on a wire rack.

Now to decorate them.

Roll out the rest of the marzipan and use a plain round cutter to cut circles the size of the top of the cupcakes. Cut six of each colour. Now gather up the remains, keeping the two colours separate. Set aside for a moment.

Heat a few spoonfuls of apricot jam in the microwave or a small pan until hot and loosened. Use a pastry brush to fully coat the top of each of the cakes and cover with a marzipan disc, making sure you put the right colour ‘lid’ on to match the hidden marzipan.

Divide the two remaining marzipan colours into six of each. Working with one colour at a time, take the first piece and further divide it into eleven even-sized balls, about the size of garden peas. Lightly brush the top of one of the cakes with beaten egg. Arrange the eleven pea-sized balls around the edge. Very gently and lightly brush a tiny bit of the beaten egg over the balls. Repeat for the rest of the cakes.

Set the grill on medium, I grilled six cakes at a time so that I had more control. Grill for a couple of minutes until the marzipan starts to brown and bubble. Turn the heat down if this happens to quickly, you need to get the egg cooked. The marzipan will be really soft while hot, push any balls that have drooped off gently back onto the cakes, they will completely firm up on cooling. Repeat with the other six cakes.

Have a wonderful Easter!

Other Easter Treats:

Simnel Cupcakes | Vagabond Baking

11 Responses

  1. i have yet to catch up with the Easter masterclass on GBB. But glad you shared your version of it. I love that they come in the form of cupcakes! they look too adorable!

    i love muscovado sugar in my baking and i love homemade marzipan!

    • I bake through heaps of Muscovado sugar, just love it. I’ve never made marzipan, I will try it one day.
      The Easter GBB Masterclass is so good. I learnt quite a lot. Always the sign of a good show 🙂

  2. Lovely! Hope you have a happy Easter!

  3. mmmarzipan says:

    a happy Easter indeed! they look adorable and delicious 🙂

  4. cupcake girl says:

    I like the idea of the marzipan in the middle, they look adorable!
    My Cupcake Habit

  5. Dave says:

    I love the cute little yellow chicks! All photos should have yellow chicks in them…

  6. Gosh those are almost too adorable to fathom eating! (But I’m sure I could polish off a pan anyway ;P)