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Vegan Simnel cake

A low fat, plant-based version of traditional Easter cake that can be made gluten-free.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Cake
Servings 12 slices


  • 2 large bowls
  • 18cm round loose-bottomed cake tin
  • non-stick baking paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Easter chicks or flowers to decorate optional


For the cake

  • 270 g self-raising flour wholewheat or gluten-free
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 medium lemon rind grated
  • pinch salt
  • 400 g dried mixed fruit
  • 150 g glace cherries
  • 250 ml soya milk or oat milk if preferred
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 50 g coconut sugar optional
  • 60 ml of olive or organic rapeseed oil or extra dairy free milk

For the marzipan

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 150 g ground almonds
  • 50 g coconut sugar or white sugar if you want a lighter marzipan
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond essence


Make the marzipan

  • Mix the ground flaxseed and 4 tablespoons of water together in a small bowl and put to one side.
  • In a large bowl, add the ground almonds and coconut sugar and mix together.
  • Pour in the flaxseed mix and almond essence and bring together, first with a spoon and then your hands to form a soft, kneadable dough. If it's dry, add a little more water but take care as it goes sticky very easy.
  • Leave to settle for 10 minutes.

Make the cake

  • Lightly grease the cake tin with a little oil. Cut out a double layer of non-stick baking paper for the base and the sides and press them into place (the oiled side should help it stay in place). Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, lemon rind and the dried fruit (not the cherries). Stir to combine well.
  • Measure the soya milk out into a large jug and add the lemon juice. Leave it for a moment to curdle.
  • Rinse the glacé cherries under a running tap then roughly chop.
  • Add the coconut sugar, oil or extra dairy-free milk (whichever you're using) and chopped glacé cherries to the curdled soya milk and mix well to combine.
  • Grab the ball of marzipan and cut off a 2/5th portion. Place a sheet of non-stick baking paper on the work top and roll out the smaller portion into a circle the same diameter as the cake tin.
  • Pour the wet ingredients in the jug into the dry ingredients in the large bowl and quickly mix to combine, scrapping the flour from the bottom of the bowl.
  • Spoon half the mix into the base of the prepared cake tin. Gently invert the baking paper with the disc of marzipan over the tin and peel it off to rest on top of the mix.
  • Cover the marzipan disc with the remainder of the cake mix. Tap the tin on the work top and transfer it immediately to the oven.
  • Bake for 40 minutes then check with a skewer - if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Peel off the baking paper and leave to cool completely.
  • Store in an air-tight container. Wrap the unused marzipan in cling film and store in the fridge.
  • The next day, remove the marzipan from the fridge. Cut off 1/5th and divide into 11 small balls. Roll out the remaining 2/5th into a round slightly bigger than the cakes diameter.
  • Lay the marzipan disc over the top, crimping the edges slightly. Arrange the 11 marzipan balls on the top. Alternatively, use all the marzipan to cover the cake and decorate with mini eggs, Easter chicks or Spring flowers.
Keyword Easter recipe, vegan cake