Easter is a big celebration for my husband’s family. We all gather at his parent’s house for a feast and an Easter Egg hunt. If the weather is good, they have a buffet of sandwiches, salads and quiche or a barbecue outside. If it’s cold or wet, it’s a traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings inside. Everybody who attends brings something with them, usually something alcoholic to drink or something sweet to eat. I usually take a homemade cake or dessert (no surprise there) and I usually put a lot of effort into make sure it fits with the Easter theme, though they don’t always go to plan. One year I made a coconut sponge cake shaped like a rabbit. It looked fab, and received lots of positive comments, but ended up uneaten as most of the people at the table, it turned out, don’t like coconut! Another year I made a chocolate cake which looked like a flower pot, complete with a fondant strawberry plant growing out of it. It looked great when we set off, but it was a particularly hot Easter that year, and the fondant melted in the car on the 2 hour journey, and I ended up presenting my mum-in-law with a mound of sickly-sweet chocolate goop and an apology, rather than a table centre-worthy cake.
This year however is going to be very different. Thanks to ‘The Virus’ our annual Easter gathering won’t be taking place as we are all still on lock down. I will still be doing a bit of baking though (any excuse). This year I fancied giving a Simnel Cake a go. These traditional Easter cakes are spiced fruitcakes covered in marzipan. They are rich, sweet and delicious. But even if I make a small one, it’ll still be far too much for us to eat on our own, so I decided to experiment and use the yummy Simnel Cake flavours in something much smaller and lighter – scones.
I’m sure a lot of people’s Easter plans have been scuppered by ‘The Virus’, but don’t despair, grab your aprons and get baking! This is a great recipe for kids to get involved with as well, they can get their hands in there, get messy, stamp out the scones and see the end result in less than 30 mins, and they taste amazing! Serve with a selection of jams and a pot of tea – yum!
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Ready in 25 mins (10 mins prep, 15 mins bake) – makes 6 – 8 scones depending on the size of you cutter.
- 200g of self raising flour
- Half a teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
- 50g of salted butter, cut up into tiny cubes
- 25g of caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon of mixed peel, chopped really small
- 100g of currents, raisins or sultanas
- 1 tablespoon of apricot jam
- 100g of marzipan
- Preheat oven to 230c / 210c fan / gas mark 8.
- Put the flour, baking powder, mixed spice and butter into a large bowl and rub in with your fingers until it resembles fine bread crumbs. – Pic 1
- Add the sugar, mixed peel and fruit and mix well.
- Add the milk, all at once. – Pic 2
- Mix to a soft but not wet dough with a butter knife or something similar. – Pic 3
- Draw the mix together with your hands and knead until it forms a soft, smooth dough. – Pic 4
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll out on a lightly floured surface, until it’s about an inch in thickness.
- Using a round or fluted cutter, cut 6 – 8 scones out of the mixture and place on baking parchment on a baking tray. – Pic 5
- Keep drawing the scraps of dough together and re rolling to use up all of the dough. The last little bit you can just form into a scone shape with your hands.
- Brush the tops of the scones with some of the apricot jam and bake in the oven for 10 mins.
- Meanwhile, knead the marzipan to soften it and divide it into equally sized balls – enough for each of your scones.
- Roll out each marzipan ball to create a thin disk.
- Take the scones out of the oven, they should be just starting to colour. – Pic 6
- Place a marzipan disk on top of each one, brush the tops with a little more apricot jam and return to the oven for another 5 mins, or until golden brown and cooked through. – Pics 7 & 8