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SIMNEL CAKE

1 1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
6 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sultanas (light raisins)
1/2 cup candied fruit
1 lb currants
1 cup ground almonds
3 7-oz rolls almond paste
1/2 cup simple syrup
1/4 cup rum

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in
eggs a little at a time. in a separate bowl combine flour, baking
powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Fold flour mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in sultanas, candied
fruit, currants and almonds. Pour half of batter into greased and
paper-lined 9 inch tube pan. Roll out one tube of almond paste
into a circle to fit over batter in pan, cutting a hole from the
middle to fit over center of tube pan. Cover with remaining cake
batter. Bake at 300F 2-1/2 to 3 hours or until cake no longer
sticks to wooden pick when pierced.

Turn out and cool on wire rack. Remove paper. Place on serving
platter. Combine simple syrup and rum, brush over entire surface
of cake. Roll out remaining almond paste into circle large enough
to drape over entire cake. Trim center opening and at bottom of
cake. Decorate with chocolate and colored piping gel, if desired.

Notes:

Simple syrup can be purchased at candy or bakery supply stores and
in some gourmet food stores. To make, simply bring 1/2 cup sugar
and 1/2 cup water to rolling boil. Continue boiling about five
minutes or until thin syrup is formed. Cool.

Almond paste is also known as marzipan, be sure to let paste soften
at room temperature for easy rolling. With paste trimmed from
bottom and center you may mix with food coloring and cut into
decorative pieces.

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