Mini Vegan Simnel Loaves

Simnel cake is very traditional at Easter time. This recipe is packed full of lovely dried fruit and uses aromatic Earl Grey tea for soaking the raisins. There is no added sugar in this bake, all the sweetness comes naturally from the fruit.

Chia seeds are used in place of egg as a binding agent. I always find making chia eggs fascinating. The seeds just require a 15 minute soak in water, resulting in a gelatinous consistency much like raw egg- clever stuff!

Mini vegan simnel loaf with marzipan

Ingredients:

Makes 4 mini loaves (15cmx8.5cm loaf tins)

  • 350g raisins, soaked in 400ml Early Grey tea overnight (I suggest overnight or for around 8hours for optimal flavour!)
  • 100g dates, soaked in boiling water
  • 150g dairy-free spread (I use ‘Pure’)
  • 4 chia eggs- 4 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 16 tbsp water for around 15 minutes
  • 200g spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 250g marzipan (optional) plus apricot jam for sticking

Method:

  1. First make your chia eggs. The seeds will need 15 minutes to soak in the water to achieve the gelatinous quality, mimicking that of an egg.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ Gas mark 4.
  3. Grease the 4 mini loaf tins with vegan spread and line with baking parchment.
  4. Drain the dates, chop and place in a small food processor and blend to a puree. I hold back a little of the drained water to add to help with blending if the consistency is a bit too thick to achieve a puree.
  5. Beat the dairy-free spread with a spoon, fork or hand-mixer to achieve a smooth, creamy consistency. Beat in the date puree and chia eggs.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, spices and baking powder until ell incorporated. Now fold this dry mix into the wet ingredients. Finally, fold in the orange zest and raisin-tea mixture.
  7. Evenly distribute the mix between the 4 loaf tins. Bake in the preheated oven or around 40-45 minutes, until the loafs are firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack completely, before removing from the tins.
  8. If using marzipan, roll out to desired thickness and cut out rectangles to fit the top of the loaves (you can use the tins as a template). Gently warm about 2 tbsp of apricot jam and use a pastry brush to spread on the top of the loaves, so the marzipan will stick nicely to them.