Skip to navigation | Skip to content | Skip to footer

Simnel cakelets

These little Easter cakes are inspired by Kerri Spong, an outstanding cake-maker from Axminster who supplies the River Cottage Kitchen with them at Easter. They make a lovely change from the classic marzipan-topped Simnel cake, and they're quick to bake, fun to decorate and scrumptious to eat. You can use ready-mixed dried fruit or mix up a medley of your choice. Don't just make these little sweet treats for Easter; they adapt brilliantly to other festive occasions. And of course you can soak the fruit in something a little stronger than orange juice if you like!


Put the dried fruit into a bowl with the orange zest and juice. Leave in a warm place for an hour or so to allow the fruit to plump up.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Sift the flour, mixed spice and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Add the caster sugar and mix together.

Add the butter, eggs and milk to the flour and spice mixture. Using a hand-held electric whisk, beat for 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy.

Fold in the fruit and any residual orange juice. Half fill the muffin cases with the mixture. Take 150g of the marzipan and divide it into 12 pieces. Flatten each piece into a disc and place on top of the mixture in the muffin cases. Spoon the remaining mixture over the top of the marzipan.

Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the cakes are nicely golden and spring back into shape when lightly pressed. Leave in the tray for about 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, roll out the remaining marzipan, if using, and cut it into Easter shapes with the biscuit cutters. Have the glace icing ready.

When the cakes are completely cold, top with the glace icing. Place either a marzipan shape or 2-3 chocolate eggs on top of each one to decorate.

These cakes can be stored in a single layer in an airtight tin for up to a week.

River Cottage Gifts - Shop Now


  • 250g mixed dried fruit
  • Finely grated zest and juice of
  • 1 large unwaxed orange
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 75ml milk

To fill and decorate

  • 300g Marzipan (or 150g if decorating the cakes with chocolate eggs)
  • 250g Glacé icing
  • Chocolate eggs (optional)


  • 12-hole muffin tray, holes about 6.5cm in diameter and 2cm deep, lined with paper muffin cases
  • Small (5-6cm) rabbit, chick or flower biscuit cutters (if decorating with marzipan shapes)

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Cakes Handbook