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Gluten-free Simnel Cake Recipe

Gluten-free Simnel cake recipe - a traditional Easter baking project that nobody would know is Coeliac-friendly and wheat-free.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12
Author Becky Excell


  • 175 g butter softened (use Stork hard margarine if dairy-free)
  • 175 g light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of one lemon
  • 200 g gluten-free plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp milk dairy-free if necessary
  • 125 g sultanas
  • 75 g glace cherries
  • 100 g currants
  • 50 g blanched almonds chopped
  • 500 g block of marzipan yellow or white
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam warmed


  • Preheat the oven to 130C fan / 150C and prepare your 20cm loose bottom round cake tin with non-stick baking paper on the base and the sides.
  • In a large bowl cream together the softened butter and sugar until combined and slightly lighter in colour and texture.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, briefly mixing between each as well as adding in the lemon zest.
  • Add the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, mixed spice and ground almonds and mix once more to combine.
  • Stir in the milk before carefully folding in the sultanas, currants, glace cherries (mixture of whole, halves and chopped more finely) and chopped blanched almonds. Ensure everything is evenly dispersed.
  • Grab the marzipan and firstly roll out 11 equal balls. Mine weighed around 12g each. With the rest of the marzipan, cut it in half and roll one half between two sheets of non-stick baking paper into a 20cm circle shape. Put the other half of the marzipan to one side for now.
  • Spoon half of your cake mixture into the prepared tin and then place your circle of marzipan on top, followed by the remaining cake mixture. Spread it out so its even and then bake in the oven for 1 hour 45 – 2 hours until a skewer comes out clean, the cake is risen and a lovely golden colour.
  • Once baked, leave the cake to cool in the tin for around 30 minutes before removing and leaving on cooling rack to fully cool.
  • Once cooled, if the cake has a slight dome, carefully level if off with a knife before inverting it onto a cake stand so the top is really flat.
  • Roll out the other half of the marzipan so it’s a very slightly larger circle than the cake. Brush the warmed apricot jam over the top of the cake then lay your marzipan circle on top and crimp the edges.
  • Brush a tiny amount of the apricot jam on the bottom of each ball of marzipan and stick them evenly around the edge of the cake. If you have a kitchen blow torch use this to caramelise the top of each ball of marzipan and the centre of the cake. If you don’t you can carefully place the cake under a hot grill until the marzipan starts to golden – watch it carefully and remember this is just optional.
  • Slice and enjoy - this cake will keep for a good week in an air tight container and it can also be frozen.