When I started blogging it was with the intention of trying new recipes and being a little more adventurous with my baking. I certainly think it has helped me to achieve this...however, with regard to these simnel muffins, I've made them for the last 4 years in a row and they really are delicious and a firm favourite...so I thought that I'd share them with you!
As the recipe says traditional simnel cake can be a bit too rich - instead, try these light little muffins with a gooey nugget of marzipan baked in the centre. Now I'm not the biggest fan of marzipan but these muffins just taste like they have a soft almond paste inside. They're also beautifully spiced and the fruit is infused in orange juice and the icing has orange juice in too. It all marries together perfectly to give a muffin that will surprise your friends and it will be sure to bring you compliments...have I sold them to you yet? ;-) Why not give them a try...there's still a week until Easter!
250g mixed dried fruit
Zest and juice of one medium orange
175g golden caster sugar
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5 tbsp milk
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp orange juice
Put the mixed fruit and orange juice and zest into a bowl, you can then either leave it to soak for an hour or pop it into the microwave for 2 minutes on medium. Heat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4.
Mix the sugar, flour, butter, eggs, milk and spices together in a separate bowl, the mixture should be nice and light and fluffy. This could take around 3-4 minutes. Once you reach this stage stir in the fruit.
Half fill each muffin case with a little mixture and then place a disc of marzipan on top of each. If you want to be really accurate/pedantic each ball of marzipan will be about 14g... but I think 10g could also be sufficient if marzipan is not your favourite. You should roll the marzipan into a ball and then flatten into a disc with your thumb. Make sure your marzipan isn't too close to the top, otherwise you'll end up with a marzipan volcano flowing out as they split asunder! Finally, spoon the remaining cake mixture over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes...your muffins should be golden in colour.
Once cool you can then add the finishing touch. Mix the icing sugar and orange juice together, it should be a fairly thick consistency. Drizzle over each muffin and then top with a cluster of mini eggs.
* Adapted from 101 Cakes & Bakes (Tried & Tested Recipes) from BBC Books and GoodFood Magazine