Vegan and gluten-free simnel cake

Don't let dietary restrictions stop you or your guests from enjoying this traditional Easter treat, packed with fruit, almonds and plenty of booze

Vegan and gluten-free simnel cake

Recipe and image courtesy of Miele.



  • Sultanas 230g
  • Raisins 230g
  • Currants 170g
  • Glacé cherries 100g, rinsed and quartered
  • Dried apricots 100g, quartered
  • Mixed candied peel 50g, finely chopped
  • Orange 1, zested and juiced
  • Lemon 1/2, zested
  • Grand Marnier 6 tbsp
  • Chia seeds 4 tbsp, crushed
  • Vegan marzipan 1kg
  • Gluten free plain flour 135g
  • Ground almonds 115g
  • Mixed spice 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon 1/2 tsp
  • Vegan margarine 250g
  • Dark brown sugar 250g
  • Black treacle 2 tbsp
  • Apricot jam 2 tbsp


  • Step 1

    Place all the fruits, zest and juice in a large bowl and pour over the Grand Marnier. Stir well and leave to soak overnight

  • Step 2

    When ready to bake, soak the crushed chia seeds with 12 tbsp of water. Leave for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, using half of the marzipan, roll out and cut a 20cm disc around ½ cm thick, using the base of the cake tin. Set aside on some greaseproof paper. Wrap up and keep the trimmings.

  • Step 3

    Grease and double line a 20cm cake tin. Tie a double band of brown paper around the outside of the tin. Preheat the oven to 140ºC/Fan 120ºC/Gas Mark 1.

  • Step 4

    Sieve the flour, almonds and spices into a bowl, then separately cream the margarine and sugar until light. Beat in the soaked chia seeds and black treacle to the wet mixture. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients, then fold in the soaked fruit.

  • Step 5

    Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared tin. Place the marzipan disc on top of the mixture, then add the rest of the cake mixture. Cover the top of the cake loosely with a double circle of greaseproof paper.

  • Step 6

    Bake in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the oven to 120ºC/Fan 100ºC/Gas Mark ½ and continue to bake for a further 3 hours until the cake feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin, then remove when cold.

  • Step 7

    To decorate, warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan and then use a pastry brush to spread the jam on top of the cake. Use the other half of the marzipan to roll out and cut a 20cm disc, measuring around ½ cm thick, using the base of the cake tin and then place the disc onto the fruit cake.

  • Step 8

    Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 equal balls. Place the balls in a circle around the top of the cake, using a small amount of the Grand Mariner to stick the balls to the cake.