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The Clandestine Cake Club’s ultimate Easter recipe: Pistachio and fruit Simnel cake

Feeling fed up of chocolate already? Here’s a recipe for a delicious and different Easter cake from Lynn Hill’s The Clandestine Cake Club: A Year of Cake . A traditional Simnel cake has a thin layer of marzipan baked into the centre and is decorated with a circle of marzipan on top. This cake is a little different because it has 11 marzipan balls baked within the cake! It also has the unusual addition of pistachios (and adorable Easter chicks!) – This recipe was provided by the members of the Leeds CCC. 

CCC cake reduced


100g dried cranberries

100g glacé cherries

150g sultanas

150g raisins

50g mixed citrus peel

175g soft light brown sugar

140g butter, diced

250ml tropical citrus juice

2 eggs, beaten

50g pistachio nuts, chopped

300g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

250g golden marzipan


3 tbsp apricot jam

200g golden marzipan


  1. Preheat the oven to 170oC/fan 150oC/gas mark 31⁄2. Grease and line a 20cm round, springform cake tin.
  2. Place all the dried fruits, mixed peel, sugar, butter and juice in a large pan. Bring to a simmer slowly, to melt the butter and sugar, then simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat. Remove from the heat, transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool.
  3. Once cooled, add the eggs and pistachio nuts and stir until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and spices and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Divide the marzipan into 11 pieces and shape into balls. Spoon just less than half the cake mixture into the tin and arrange the marzipan balls evenly around the mixture taking care not to let it touch the sides of the tin. Spoon the remainder of the cake mixture on top and smooth out.
  5. Bake the cake in the bottom of the oven for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely.
  6. For the topping, gently warm the jam in a small saucepan. Take 50g of the marzipan and roll it into a large ball, then roll out the remainder and cut out a circle the same diameter as the cake. Cover the top of the cake with warm jam and place the circle of marzipan on top. Place your large ball of marzipan in the middle, using a little jam to help stick it down. Decorate the cake as wished.

Find out more about the Clandestine Cake Club and their fantastic baking on their official website, and if you liked this Easter-baking inspired post then why not catch up on…

The Great British Bake Off’s recipe for making your own Easter egg

Team Bookends reminisce: the cakes I baked with mum 

Lynn Hill, founder of the CCC talks about how it all began