Gluten-free chocolate Simnel cake

12
2 hours 45 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Simnel cake

  • 300g of prunes, pitted and chopped (it’s easiest to snip them up with kitchen scissors)
  • 150g of sour cherries
  • 100g of raisins
  • 100g of currants
  • 100g of sultanas
  • 100g of glacé cherries, cut in half (use cherries with a natural colour)
  • 4 knobs of stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp of ginger syrup, from the jar of stem ginger
  • 100ml of brandy
  • 100ml of port
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 175g of dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g of butter
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 25g of cocoa powder
  • 200g of dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 200g of rice flour
  • 75g of ground almonds
  • 4 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 750g of marzipan, good-quality
  • 2 tbsp of apricot jam

Method

1
Place the prunes, sour cherries, raisins, currants, sultanas, glacé cherries, stem ginger, ginger syrup, brandy, port, vanilla, sugar, butter, orange zest and juice, cocoa and chocolate in a saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved, and the chocolate and butter have melted. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool
  • 150g of sour cherries
  • 300g of prunes, pitted and chopped (it’s easiest to snip them up with kitchen scissors)
  • 200g of dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100g of currants
  • 100g of raisins
  • 100g of sultanas
  • 4 tbsp of ginger syrup, from the jar of stem ginger
  • 4 knobs of stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
  • 100g of glacé cherries, cut in half (use cherries with a natural colour)
  • 100ml of port
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 25g of cocoa powder
  • 175g of dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g of butter
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 100ml of brandy
2
In the meantime, double-line a deep 23cm round cake tin with baking parchment. Make sure the parchment is a few inches higher than the tin
3
Next, wrap the outside of the tin with brown parcel paper (again higher than the tin) and secure it with kitchen string
4
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
5
Add the flour to the saucepan of cooled chocolate mixture, along with the ground almonds, spices and raising agents, then mix everything together thoroughly
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g of rice flour
  • 75g of ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 4 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
6
Next, mix in the egg until fully-combined and pour half of the mixture into the prepared cake tin
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
7
Roll out a third of the marzipan into a 1cm thick circle, that’s slightly smaller than the tin. Place it on top of the cake mixture and pat it down. Pour over the remaining cake mixture and level the top with a palette knife
  • 750g of marzipan, good-quality
8
Pop the cake in the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours. An inserted skewer should come out clean of any chocolate goo, but if there is a little pale stickiness on it, don’t worry - it’s just the melted marzipan in the middle. Let the cake cool completely in its tin on top of a wire rack
9
Roll eleven small balls of marzipan in your hands to make the eleven disciples (excluding Judas). Then, roll the remaining marzipan in a circle that is slightly larger than the cake, so you have enough excess to crimp the edges
10
Warm the apricot jam in a saucepan and paint it over the top of the cake. Stick the disc of marzipan on top of the cake and use your thumbs and index fingers to crimp the edges
  • 2 tbsp of apricot jam
11
Use a blowtorch to slightly burnish the marzipan. If you do not have a blowtorch, you can pop the cake under a very hot grill, but do keep a close eye on it, as it can burn quickly