Gluten-free chocolate Simnel cake

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Victoria offers a new twist on a classic Easter bake with her chocolate gluten-free Simnel cake recipe. Buy good-quality marzipan to decorate the cake, or make your own using our how to guide.

First published in 2019




Chocolate Simnel cake


  • 23cm springform cake tin
  • Baking parchment
  • Brown parcel paper
  • Kitchen string
  • Pastry brush


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
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
Next, wrap the outside of the tin with brown parcel paper (again higher than the tin) and secure it with kitchen string
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
Add the flour to the saucepan of cooled chocolate mixture, along with the ground almonds, spices and raising agents, then mix everything together thoroughly
Next, mix in the egg until fully-combined and pour half of the mixture into the prepared cake tin
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
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
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
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
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

Victoria is a London-based food writer and recipe developer. She was the Roald Dahl Museum’s first ever Gastronomic Writer in Residence and has written six books, including her latest, Too Good To Waste.

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