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Gluten-free vegan Easter simnel cake

31 March 2020

This gluten-free vegan Easter simnel cake recipe is ideal for a family or group with multiple dietary needs.

Gluten-free vegan Easter Simnel cake
Simnel cake is a classic Easter recipe, and this gluten-free vegan version can be enjoyed by everyone,

Cooking time

1 1/2 hours


1 20cm/8” cake


  • 400g marzipan*
  • 175g FREEE Self Raising White Flour
  • 1 tsp FREEE Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 eating apple
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 125ml flavourless oil, such as olive, sunflower or rapeseed
  • 75ml water
  • 300g mixed dried fruit
  • 2 tsp apricot jam, warmed
  • Oil, for tin
  • Icing sugar, for decoration

* check ingredients of shop-bought marzipan for allergens as ingredients can vary


To make the cake

1. Rub some oil around the inside of a 20cm/8” round deep cake tin or insert a cake liner.

2. Take a quarter of the marzipan and divide it into 11 small pieces. Roll the small pieces into small balls, about 2cm in diameter.

3. Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar, take half of the remaining marzipan and roll into a circle just larger than the cake tin. Place the tin on top of the marzipan circle and cut around the outside to make a perfect circle. Cover and set aside all the marzipan.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, fan 150°C, 325°F, gas 3.

5. Put the flour, xanthan gum and mixed spice into a bowl and stir to combine.

6. Peel and grate the apple into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, oil and water and beat well.

7. Add the prepared flour to the wet bowl and beat well.

8. Stir in the mixed dried fruit.

9. Tip half the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.

10. Take the prepared marzipan circle and place it on the cake mixture.

11. Put the remaining cake mixture onto the marzipan and smooth the surface.

12. Bake for 1½-1¾ hours.

13. Allow to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the topping

1. Warm the apricot jam and brush half over the top of the cold cake.

2. Roll the remaining marzipan into a circle just larger than the cake tin. Place the tin on top and cut a zig-zag pattern around the outside.

3. Gently lift the marzipan on top of the apricot brushed cake.

4. Brush the base of each prepared marzipan ball with jam and place them in a circle on the top of the cake.

5. Place the cake under a hot grill for a few minutes to lightly brown the marzipan.

6. Store the cold cake in a tin.

FREEE products are available online at, Ocado, all major retailers, traditional wholesalers, food service, independent health food stores and farm shops.

Visit our gluten-free recipe section for more delicious gluten-free baking ideas


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.