This colourful simnel tray will be a hit with everyone who has a sweet tooth but wants something different on the menu this Easter. Serves 10-12
For the almond paste:
375ml (150g) ground almonds
375ml icing sugar
1-2 egg whites
a few drops of almond extract
For the cake:
grated rind of 1 orange
60ml orange juice
250ml light brown sugar
375ml self-raising flour
10ml mixed spice
5ml ground cinnamon
50g ground almonds
125ml halved glacé cherries
For the topping:
80ml light brown sugar
100g flaked almonds
45ml golden syrup
For the icing
250ml sifted icing sugar
orange juice to mix
To make the almond paste:
Combine the ground almonds and icing sugar and add enough egg white to form a stiff paste. Mix in the almond extract.
Divide the mixture in half. Cut one half into 1.5cm cubes. Set aside.
Divide the remaining portion in half. Grate one half and roll 11 small balls from the remaining half.
To make the cake:
Combine the dried fruit, orange rind and juice in a bowl and microwave on full power for a minute. Remove and set aside to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Sift the flour and spices and add to the creamed mixture with the ground almonds.
Mix in the soaked fruit with any juice and the cherries. Add the almond paste cubes .
Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined 20 x 30cm deep pan. Bake at 160°C for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Remove and spread with topping. Raise the heat to 190°C and return the cake to the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on top.
Drizzle the icing over the cake and decorate the top with the marzipan balls and Easter eggs, if desired.
To make the topping, combine the sugar and flour in a bowl, add the butter and rub it in. Add the almonds and mix to combine. Drizzle the syrup over the mixture and gently mix with a fork.
To make the icing, place the icing sugar in a bowl and add enough orange juice to make a stiff icing.
* Do not use the fake marzipan available in shops, it will cause your cake to flop. Some shops do stock imported almond paste made from ground almonds but it is expensive