Pistachio and Orange Blossom Simnel Cake Recipe

 

Hello!!

I know the Easter as passed, but I found out this cake recipe while searching for my past Easter dinner, and since I didn’t have the time to try it, I’ve put it aside.
But today, I decided to give it a try and oh boy… This is heaven!!! The richness of the fruit inside, contrasting with the marzipan is absolutely delicious.

Takes a little bit of time to make, and you’ll have a lot of dishes to clean after haha :), but you definitely should give it a try.
Here is how I’ve made it (you can find the full recipe at the end of the post).

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3. Start by preparing the pistachios for both the marzipan and the cake. Place all 100g pistachios in a small bowl, pour boiling water over them, then drain. Rinse under cold water, then tip into a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins; leave to dry for 15 minutes. Tip into a roasting tin and lightly roast for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then blitz in the small bowl of a food processor until ground; set aside 50g for the marzipan and 50g for the cake.

 

FOR THE MARZIPAN

1. Put the ground pistachios, almonds and sugars in a bowl. Add the almond extract, lemon juice and enough egg to bind (add a little at a time, you may not need it all). Knead gently; if it’s too sticky, add more ground almonds. Taste and add more almond extract if needed. Roll out one-third on an icing sugar-dusted surface, and using a 20cm round cake tin as a guide, cut out a circle; cover it with clingfilm. Wrap the remaining marzipan in clingfilm; set aside.

FOR THE CAKE

1. Grease a deep 20cm cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Fold a strip of parchment around the outside of the tin and tie with kitchen string. For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl and stir in the ground pistachios. In a separate bowl, mix the dried fruit, cherries and mixed peel; set aside. Using an electric mixer or beaters, cream together the butter, sugar and citrus zests until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the flour mixture halfway through, until all the eggs are incorporated. Beat in the orange blossom water, then fold in the flour mixture, alternating with the dried fruit mixture.

2. Spread half the cake mixture into the prepared tin and put the marzipan circle on top. Spoon over the remaining cake mixture, smooth the top and put in the oven. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes – 2 hours, until well risen and a deep brown colour. (If necessary, lay a piece of foil with a hole over the top to prevent it becoming too dark.) It is a little tricky to use the skewer test here, as the moist marzipan in the centre will always stick to the skewer.

3. Leave the cake in the tin for at least 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

TO DECORATE

1. Roll out two-thirds of the remaining marzipan on an icing sugar-dusted work surface to a 20cm circle to cover the cake.

2. Warm the apricot jam with the orange blossom water gently in a small pan, then sieve. Turn the cake over (so it is base-side up) and brush the top with the jam.

3. Lay the marzipan circle on top, and make a criss-cross pattern on the surface with a knife. Roll 11 balls from the remaining marzipan, and stick them to the cake with the jam.

4. Preheat the grill to high. Glaze the surface and balls with the egg yolk, and place under the grill. Watch carefully and grill until lightly toasted. Allow to cool before serving.

You can always give a personal touch on the decoration. The balls are a typical decoration for this cake, but for example, I had a marzipan rose in the middle (just make little balls of marzipan, flat them and add them one by one until you have the shape of the rose).

Hope you love this recipe as much as I do. Try it, you guarantee you won’t regret it.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with me, feel free to do it on the comments, by email, on the facebook page… Share!! I would love to try new recipes.

Cheers,  

 
 
Ana Ferreira headshot 3.jpg

Ana Ferreira

Ana discovered in 2012 the world of cake design, fell in love and since then took the PME Master course and attended master classes with renowned artists like Karen Portaleo. Of Portuguese nationality, currently resides in Stirling, Scotland. Awarded nationally and internationally.


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PISTACHIO AND ORANGE BLOSSOM SIMNEL CAKe

PREP TIME

1 h 20 min

COOK TIME

2 h 10 min

total time

3 h 30 min

serves

10 - 12

A rich and moist fruit cake, with a contrasting marzipan, makes this cake delicious!


 

PISTACHIO MARZIPAN

50g shelled pistachios
150g ground almonds
140g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
140g golden caster sugar
2–3 drops almond extract
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten

 

TO DECORATE

2 tbsp apricot jam
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 egg yolk, beaten

ingredients

CAKE

50g shelled pistachios
200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
170g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
200g sultanas
70g currants
150g glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and halved
50g mixed peel
220g light brown muscovado sugar
1 lemon, zest
1 orange, zest
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp orange blossom water

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C, gas mark 3. Start by preparing the pistachios for both the marzipan and the cake. Place all 100g pistachios in a small bowl, pour boiling water over them, then drain. Rinse under cold water, then tip into a clean tea towel and rub to remove the skins; leave to dry for 15 minutes. Tip into a roasting tin and lightly roast for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, then blitz in the small bowl of a food processor until ground; set aside 50g for the marzipan and 50g for the cake.

 

FOR THE MARZIPAN

  1. Put the ground pistachios, almonds and sugars in a bowl. Add the almond extract, lemon juice and enough egg to bind (add a little at a time, you may not need it all). Knead gently; if it’s too sticky, add more ground almonds. Taste and add more almond extract if needed. Roll out one-third on an icing sugar-dusted surface, and using a 20cm round cake tin as a guide, cut out a circle; cover it with clingfilm. Wrap the remaining marzipan in clingfilm; set aside.

 

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Grease a deep 20cm cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Fold a strip of parchment around the outside of the tin and tie with kitchen string. For the cake, sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl and stir in the ground pistachios. In a separate bowl, mix the dried fruit, cherries and mixed peel; set aside. Using an electric mixer or beaters, cream together the butter, sugar and citrus zests until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs a little at a time, adding 1 tbsp of the flour mixture halfway through, until all the eggs are incorporated. Beat in the orange blossom water, then fold in the flour mixture, alternating with the dried fruit mixture.

  2. Spread half the cake mixture into the prepared tin and put the marzipan circle on top. Spoon over the remaining cake mixture, smooth the top and put in the oven. Bake for 1 hour 45 minutes – 2 hours, until well risen and a deep brown colour. (If necessary, lay a piece of foil with a hole over the top to prevent it becoming too dark.) It is a little tricky to use the skewer test here, as the moist marzipan in the centre will always stick to the skewer.

  3. Leave the cake in the tin for at least 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

TO DECORATE

  1. Roll out two-thirds of the remaining marzipan on an icing sugar-dusted work surface to a 20cm circle to cover the cake.

  2. Warm the apricot jam with the orange blossom water gently in a small pan, then sieve. Turn the cake over (so it is base-side up) and brush the top with the jam.

  3. Lay the marzipan circle on top, and make a criss-cross pattern on the surface with a knife. Roll 11 balls from the remaining marzipan, and stick them to the cake with the jam.

  4. Preheat the grill to high. Glaze the surface and balls with the egg yolk, and place under the grill. Watch carefully and grill until lightly toasted. Allow to cool before serving.

 

NOTES

  1. You can always give a personal touch on the decoration. The balls are a typical decoration for this cake, but for example, I had a marzipan rose in the middle (just make little balls of marzipan, flat them and add them one by one until you have the shape of the rose).

 

Adapted from Waitrose Recipes

 

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