Chocolate,Orange and Almond Simnel Cake
250g butter • 100g plain chocolate • 400g plain flour • 500g golden caster sugar • 25g cocoa powder • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda • 2 eggs • 280ml buttermilk zest and juice of 1 orange • For the marzipan 85g golden caster sugar • 100g icing sugar • 200g ground almonds • 50g cocoa powder • 1 egg and 1 yolk beaten • For the frosting 2x250g tubs of mascarpone • 250g soft butter • 250g icing sugar • zest of 2 oranges +100ml juice
1. Preheat the oven at 180 c/160c fan oven. Grease & line two 23cm cake tins and boil your kettle.
2. Put the butter & chocolate in a small saucepan and gently heat till melted, stirring constantly.
3. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl.
4. In a separate jug, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, orange zest and juice until light and fluffy.
5. Pour both the chocolate mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Add 150ml boiling water and whiz briefly with an electric mixer until lump free.
6. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for about 45min or till a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins.
7. Meanwhile, make the marzipan! Mix the sugars, ground almonds and cocoa in a bowl, making a well in the middle of the mix.
8. Tip the egg and yolk and mix with a cutlery knife before kneading with your hands to form a smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and set aside.
9. For the frosting, beat the mascarpone and butter together till smooth. Sift in the icing sugar, add orange zest and juice and beat till combined.
10. To assemble, split each sponge in half horizontally and sandwich each layer with frosting, keeping 1/3 of the icing for the top and side.
11. Once assembled, cover the top of the cake with a little frosting.
12. Roll out the marzipan on a dusting of cocoa and using one of the cake tins as cutter, cut a circle.
13. Carefully lift it onto the top of the cake.
14. Roll the remaining marzipan into 12 balls and sit them on top of the cake, using frosting or water as glue.
15. Spread the remaining frosting around the outside of the cake, then dust the top with cocoa and icing sugar.