Sour cherry and chocolate simnel cake with hazelnut marzipan

Sour cherry and chocolate simnel cake with hazelnut marzipan
  • Serves icon Serves 12-16
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 1 hour, plus cooling

For a modern twist on a classic Easter cake, try this chocolate simnel cake by John Whaite, with sour cherries, chocolate ganache and hazelnut marzipan.

Or, how about a whisky-soaked simnel cake topped with pistachio marzipan? We’ve got simnel cakes for every taste in our simnel cake collection.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
552kcals
Fat
24.5g (9.7g saturated)
Protein
9.6g
Carbohydrates
70.6g (53.7g sugars)
Fibre
4.2g
Salt
0.5g
Calories
552kcals
Fat
24.5g (9.7g saturated)
Protein
9.6g
Carbohydrates
70.6g (53.7g sugars)
Fibre
4.2g
Salt
0.5g

For 16

Ingredients

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 135g (when drained) cherries in kirsch
  • 100g full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 320g self-raising flour
  • 80g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200ml cherry juice drink (or pomegranate juice)
  • 250g dried sour cherries

For the marzipan

  • 
1 large egg
  • 
75g caster sugar
  • 
80g icing sugar
  • 
15g liquid glucose (from the baking section in supermarkets)
  • 
1 tbsp brandy, rum or vodka
  • 
200g blanched hazelnuts, finely ground in a food processor

For the ganache


  • 100g Bournville chocolate
  • 
100ml double cream
  • 
50g Nutella 
Cocoa powder for dusting

you’ll also need…

  • 23cm x 8-10cm deep cake tin

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½. Grease and line the base and sides of a deep 23cm cake tin.
  2. For the marzipan, put the egg, sugar, icing sugar and glucose into a heatproof mixing bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until very pale and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the alcohol, then tip in the ground hazelnuts and mix to a thick paste using a wooden spoon. Using your hands, knead the mixture vigorously for 1-2 minutes until fairly smooth. It won’t be as smooth as regular marzipan, but it will come together. Wrap in cling film and set aside.
  3. Put the butter, sugars, drained cherries and yogurt in a food processor. Whizz until mixed, then add the remaining ingredients, except the sour cherries, and whizz to a smooth batter. Add the dried sour cherries and pulse until just incorporated.
  4. Tear off two thirds of the marzipan and carefully roll between 2 pieces of baking paper into a disc just smaller than the cake tin (the hazelnut marzipan is more fragile than regular almond marzipan). Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal balls.
  5. Pour half the cake batter into the tin, then top with the marzipan disc. Pour in the remaining cake batter, then bake for 90 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean.
  6. To make the ganache, roughly chop the chocolate and put it in a heatproof bowl with the cream. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl) and stir together until you have a smooth, glossy ganache. Remove from the heat and beat in the Nutella. Leave to cool at room temperature until spreadable.
  7. When the cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool completely in the tin, then invert onto a cake stand. Spread the ganache over the top, then arrange the 11 balls of marzipan around the edge. Sift a little extra cocoa powder over the top to finish.

delicious. tips

  1. Make the cake up to 48 hours in advance, then keep in a sealed container (not in the fridge).

    Note: contains raw egg.

Recipe By

Find out more about John Whaite.

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