Firstly, I've never even tried Simnel cake but, since writing a piece on the history of it for my food writing class, I now know a fair bit about it. Enough to know that the chocolate Simnel cake I made breaks all the rules...sorry Simnel cake purists!
There's no fruit and there aren't 11 balls of toasted marzipan representing the 11 apostles (minus Judas). Instead, I went for a 4 layered chocolate malt sponge, sandwiched between layers of chocolate fudge buttercream, covered in more chocolate fudge buttercream, topped with mini eggs, malteser bunnies and a little dusting of gold stars.
Chocolate malt sponge (makes 2 layers):
115g unsalted butter, softened
115g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
115g self raising flour, sifted (replace 2 tablespoons with chocolate malt powder)
1 tablespoon milk
250g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solid), melted and cooled
Mini eggs and malteser bunnies for decoration.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease 2 8 inch round sandwich tins (I used Dr. Oetker's cake release spray).
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add the egg, a spoon at a time, lightly beating after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
- Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the sifted flour and chocolate malt, before adding the milk.
- Divide between the two sandwich tins and bake for 15 minutes.
- Repeat these steps again so that you have the four layers.
- For the buttercream, melt the chocolate in the microwave or over a bain marie.
- Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a stand mixer and add the melted chocolate once slightly cooled.