Traditional Simnel Cake (with a 21st Century Feel)
Serves: serves up to 24
For the Cake:
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons each: finely grated lemon and orange zest
  • ¼ teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg
  • ½ cup each: golden raisins, dark raisin, and dried cranberries
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1½ cans (8 ounces each) almond paste, divided
For the Almond Buttercream
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 box (1 pound, 4 cups) confectioner’s sugar!
  1. Grease a 13- by 9-inch metal pan with vegetable cooking spray. Line pan bottom with parchment. Grease with vegetable cooking spray and the dust with flour, shaking pan to coat evenly. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rub flour, salt, baking powder, zests, and spices by hand in a medium bowl until well incorporated; set aside. Mix dried fruits with a couple tablespoon of the flour mixture; set aside. Beat butter until fluffy; beat in sugar until creamy smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until well combined. Beat in remaining flour to form a smooth batter. Stir in dried fruit; spread half the batter in prepared pan.
  3. On a floured surface, roll 8 ounces of almond paste into an approximate 13- by 9-inch rectangle; lay over batter in pan. Spread remaining batter over almond paste.
  4. Bake until and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean, 50 minutes to an hour. Turn onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
  5. Meanwhile, mix milk and extracts. Beat butter and sugar until well blended; beat in milk mixture to form a smooth, creamy frosting.
  6. Divide remaining almond paste into 12 portions and roll into balls. Frost cake, placing balls around cake perimeter. Garnish as desired with small spring flowers.
  7. Cut into small pieces and serve.
Recipe by Three Many Cooks at