Desserts, Vegetarian

Grain-Free Simnel Cake

Cooking method:

Ninja Foodi MAX Multi-Cooker OP500
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 4h 25 mins
  • Skill Easy
  • Serves 10 people

Grain-Free Simnel Cake

Utensils required


For the marzipan

  • 170g xylitol
  • 80g coconut sugar
  • 1 free-range egg (beaten)
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or brandy
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 50g arrowroot flour

For the soaked fruits

  • 1 unwaxed orange
  • 1 unwaxed lemon
  • 100g raisins
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g currants

For the cake batter

  • 200g softened butter
  • 200g coconut sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g arrowroot flour
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp apricot pure fruit spread
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Cooking mode

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  • Step 1

    Start by making the marzipan. Combine the xylitol and coconut sugar into a bullet style blender and blend into a fine powder. Place into a large bowl and beat together with the remaining ingredients, except for the arrowroot flour, until a smooth, thick paste is formed. Wrap in cling film and place into the refrigerator until needed.

  • Step 2

    Zest 3/4 of each fruit, setting the zest aside into a medium sized bowl. Cut the fruits into wedges then remove the peel and cut into thin strips. Discard any unzested pieces and put the fruit to one side. Place peel into a small pan and cover with cold water then cover with a lid. Boil until softened and translucent – about 15-20 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.

  • Step 3

    Whilst the peel is cooking place the flesh of the fruits into a blender and then pass through sieve. Stir in to the bowl with the zest then add the dried fruits and cover. Once the peel has cooled cut into small dice then stir in with the fruits and cover again.

  • Step 4

    Line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment.

  • Step 5

    Remove the marzipan from the fridge, weigh, then cut off one third. Place the remaining two thirds back into the refrigerator. Gently knead the marzipan with a little arrowroot flour, roll into a ball. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with a little more arrowroot flour then roll into a 20cm disk. Place onto a flat plate lined with parchment then place into the freezer.

  • Step 6

    In a stand mixer cream together the butter and coconut sugar until light and fluffy. Next mix in an egg at a time until combined then fold in the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and mixed spice until combined. Fold in the soaked fruits.

  • Step 7

    Pour half of the batter into the cake tin and smooth out until level. Remove the marzipan disc from the freezer and place on top of the batter. Pour on top the remaining batter and level out. Place the cake tin onto the wire rack in the lower position.

  • Step 8

    Select BAKE/ROAST, temperature 150°C and time 3 hours and 4 minutes. Allow the unit to pre-heat for 5 minutes then place the wire wrack and tin into the unit.

  • Step 9

    After 1 hour carefully remove the wire rack and cover the tin with foil. Place back into the unit and cook for a further 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours until the cake is firm to the touch all over and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out on to a wire wrack.

  • Step 10

    Once the cake is cool divide the marzipan in half. Roll out one half into a circle slightly larger than 20cm. Be sure to use the dusting technique as before.

  • Step 11

    Warm the apricot fruit spread briefly in the microwave or a small pan on a low heat. Brush all over the cake’s surface then place the marzipan on top, crimping the edges with your thumbs like you would a pie crust.

  • Step 12

    Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 even balls to represent the 11 Apostles. Place on top of the cake then dust with cocoa powder if you wish.


    Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 5 days.