I saw this recipe in Jamie Oliver's magazine and though I don't like fruit cakes, I was intrigued. I had to try this - it just looks so pretty, wouldn't you love to serve this during a Holiday Party? Plus, there's whiskey involved. Need I say more. (A friend of mine did say that after a few bites he feared his teeth might rot, so if you want to go low on the sugar, I don't blame you.) Traditionally, this fruit cake is toasted to and eaten during the Easter in the United Kingdom and Ireland- it only has 11 marzipan balls on top to represent the 12 apostles, minus Judas. This cake does take some preparation and time, but if you like taking time to create something beautiful, this is definitely worth it.
Whisky Simnel Cake [Vegan]
- 1 cup sultanas
- 1/2 cup currants
- zest of an orange
- 1/4 cup glacé cherries
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- 3-5 oz. Scotch whisky
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 4 flax "eggs" (4 tbsp ground flaxseed + 80ml water)
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- for the filling and topping:
- 2 cups golden marzipan
- 4 tbsp apricot jam
- The night before you bake the cake, soak the dried fruit, ginger and orange zest in the whisky.
- The next day, drain the soaked fruit (feel free to drink the remaining whisky), line a 20cm round cake tin and preheat the oven to 150ºC.
- In a large bowl, beat together the "butter", sugar, flour, spices and flax eggs with an electric beater (or a very strong arm) until light and fluffy and well-combined. Stir through the soaked fruit.
- Spoon half of the batter into the cake tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon.
- Take a third of the marzipan, roll it out to 20cm diameter, then layer it on top of the batter in the tin. Cut away the edges that don't fit in the tin. Spoon the rest of the batter over the marzipan layer and again, level the cake mix.
- Bake in the oven for 2 hours, or until golden. Test the cake by inserting a skewer (bearing in mind that there is a layer of melting marzipan in there)--if it comes out clean, it's ready. If you find the top of the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil and keep baking.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the tin for 20 minutes at least, then remove from the tin and let rest for another 10-20 minutes. It needs to be completely cool before you finish decorating.
- Melt the apricot jam in a pan, then brush the top of the cake with it. Roll another third of marzipan into a 20cm diameter circle and place on top of the cake. Pinch the inches to decorate.
- Take the final third of marzipan and roll it into 11 balls. Or make 12 and eat one, leaving 11 for the cake. Brush the cake with the rest of the melted jam so it looks glossy. Pop under the grill until the marzipan is golden (but don't let it melt!).