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Simnel Cake recipe


    8oz (225g) soft margarine,
    8oz (225g)(light soft brown sugar,
    4 eggs,
    8oz (225g) self-raising flour,
    8oz (225g) sultanas,
    4oz (100g) currants,
    4oz (100g) glace-cherries, washed & quartered,
    2oz (50g) ground almond,
    grated rind of 2 lemons,
    2 level teaspoons mixed spice.


    1lb (450g) almond paste,
    about 2 tablespoons apricot jam,
    1 egg; beaten to glaze
    crystallised primroses or small eggs to decorate.
    Lemon icing for final decoration.


Pre heat the oven to moderate, grease and line the base and sides of an 8 inch (20cm), deep round cake tin, with greaseproof paper, then measure fat and sugar into a bowl and beat well until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs a little at a time, with the flour. 

Add all the remaining ingredients, beating well until thoroughly blended, then place half the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface. Take one third of the almond paste and roll it out to a circle the size of the tin, and place on top of the cake mixture.  Spoon the remaining cake mixture on top and level the surface.

Place the cake in a moderate oven, and bake for about 2 1/2 to 4 hours.  Oven temperatures will vary, so best to check after 2 ½ hours by inserting a warm skewer into the centre of the cake, which should come out clean, and the cake should be pale and golden.  If cake appears not done, and top is browning, cover with a piece of foil and return cake to the oven until firm in the middle.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.Whilst the cake is cooling, warm the apricot jam, and roll out the remaining almond paste and cut a disk to fit the top of the cake.

When cake is cool, brush the top with the warmed apricot jam, press the almond paste disk firmly on top of the cake, and crimp the edges to decorate. Form the remaining almond paste into 11 balls to represent 11 apostles, and arrange them around the outside of the top of the cake. Brush over the completed top of the cake with beaten egg.  Wrap all but the top of the cake in foil.  Stand in a roasting tin and brown the top for a few minutes in the centre of the oven, for a finished golden colour.


Use a little lemon icing, in the centre of the cake to hold chosen decorations in place.


Peter gave out copies of how to make an attractive weather vane at the Christmas buffet, but if that looked a bit daunting, here’s how to make a very simple one - the basic method can be easily adapted to make yours individual .  There are also lots of help and videos on the internet if you Google “make a simple weather vane.”  Let’s all have a go!

Use your pencil to draw the head of an arrow and the tail of an arrow on a sheet of card. The head should just be a triangle and the tail can look anyway you want it to.

Cut the pieces you just drew out.

Tape the head of the arrow to one end of a straw(or cane) and the tail of the arrow to the other end.

Get a pencil and turn it upside down so that the pencil point is facing down.

Lay your straw over the pencil's upper end with that the pencil in the middle of the straw. Push your pin through the top of the straw and in to the pencil.

Push the pointed end of the pencil through a hole at the centre of a circle of card , divided into four with N, S,E and W at the four points. Anchor the pencil point firmly - with plasticine or similar just below the card circle.

Outside North would need to be orientated towards the north etc. And thus the direction of the wind can be determined by glancing at which direction the arrow is pointing.