Where to buy the best Simnel cake for Easter 2024 (and one of the supermarket favourites is just £4)

All the best Simnel cakes to buy for Easter - tried and tested by GoodtoKnow's food experts...

Close up of a Easter Simnel cake on a cake stand
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Here are the best Simnel cakes to buy from supermarkets such as M&S, Asda, and independent shops for Easter 2024. All tried, tested, and recommended.

It starts with just a few Malteser bunnies and foiled chocolate eggs lingering by the tills, but as soon as you know it, Easter is well and truly on the way when the supermarket starts stocking Simnel cake

Simnel cake is a fruit cake, but lighter and less rich than Christmas cake and with an added gooey internal marzipan layer. If you're lucky it also has a thick lid of marzipan topped with 11 marzipan balls (that are socially acceptable to pick off and eat while no one is looking). It’s an Easter food specialty as each ball represents an apostle of Jesus.

This year's panel of judges for our annual Easter taste test comprised of the GoodtoKnow Food Team: Food Director Jen Bedloe, Food Editor Jess Meyer, Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks, and Junior Food Writer Georgia Sparks. The team has an abundance of expertise in all things food particularly when it comes to the best seasonal choices. Every one of these Simnel cakes has been highly rated by all of the judges making them a reliably lovely addition to your Easter feasting. 

Where to buy Simnel Easter cakes online

Best Simnel cakes for Easter 2024

Why you can trust GoodtoKnow. Our experienced Consumer Editor & parent reviewers spend hours testing products to help you make the best choice. Find out how we test and review products.

1. M&S Simnel Cake - View at Ocado

1. M&S Simnel Cake - View at Ocado

Winner: The Best Simnel Cake 2024

RRP: £14

With an eye-catching doily-esque marzipan top this Simnel cake from M&S stood out among the entrants. The decoration is alluringly thick and made from a supremely nutty marzipan. Marzipan also runs through the middle adding a nutty flavour and adding to the texture. This cake is nicely spiced, the judges commended the warming clove and nutmeg flavour. Flecks of cherries, a generous amount of fruit and a darker sponge makes this cake richer than others in the running, but the flavour is great. 

When it comes to Simnel cakes you could say this cake is a triple threat: it looks the part, tastes great, and certainly doesn’t scrimp on marzipan. This is why we have awarded the M&S Simnel Cake the accolade of being GoodtoKnow's Best Simnel Cake 2024.

Weighing in at 930g this cake 16cm round will serve 10-12 so great for feeding a crowd at Easter.

Food Editor Jess Meyer says: "This cake is moist and loaded with fruit. It's on the darker side, with a rich fudgy texture, closer to a Christmas cake than a classic Simnel, but for those who like a rich fruit cake, this ticks the box."

2. DukesHill Simnel Cake - DukesHill

2. DukesHill Simnel Cake - DukesHill

Winner: The Best Luxury Simnel Cake

RRP: £26.50 

For a real treat, this Simnel cake from DukesHill is a great option. Costing £26.50 it’s one of the most expensive that we tasted, but the quality shines through, it’s like a homemade cake. A tall 15cm round cake that would happily serve 12-14. It’s rich in fruit and generously filled with currants, raisins, and cherries. Less heavily spiced than others, and we would have preferred a notch more spice, but this was the only flaw. It has big balls which will satisfy the marzipan fans. Splurge on this and you will not be disappointed. 

Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks says: "This cake is on the mildly spiced side, but I still enjoyed it a lot. It looks so pretty and has not just balls but also marzipan flowers on top. The generous amount of marzipan would appeal to those with a sweet tooth. Let’s get real - the marzipan is the best bit of Simnel cake."

3. Asda Simnel Bar - View at ASDA

3. Asda Simnel Bar - View at ASDA

Winner: The Best Value Simnel Cake

RRP: £4

This Simnel cake from Asda wowed the judges who thought it tasted great and at just £4 a pop it’s £9 cheaper than the next cheapest winner, proving its amazing value. The cake contains raisins, cherries, and pieces of almonds which with the layer of marzipan that runs through the centre gives the cake a nice nutty flavour. You could get 8-10 neat slices out of it, the minimal look might not be the most spectacular, but it’s perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea.

Deputy Food Editor Rose Fooks says: "Despite being decidedly lacking in balls there is a thick layer of marzipan and at just £4 you really can’t be fussy about these things. This feels like a real find as it tastes just as good as some of the luxury options, but costs a fraction of the price!"

4. Cartwright & Butler Simnel Loaf Cake - View at Cartwright & Butler

4. Cartwright & Butler Simnel Loaf Cake - View at Cartwright & Butler

Winner: The best for gifting

RRP: £14

This cake was a winner last year and the year before, but it’s back in the hot seat for 2024. This great quality Simnel cake would be a lovely gift. It’s packaged in a tin and wrapped up with a bow. 

The cake is generously fruit-packed with sultanas making it more akin to a heavier fruit cake. Junior Food Writer Georgia Sparks described it as fudgy. The judges were impressed with the rich flavour, describing it as tasting homemade. The layer of marzipan on top and through the middle is good quality, but like the other loaf cake option from Asda, it doesn’t come with marzipan balls. It’s shorter than the Asda option and would serve 6-8.

Food Director Jen Bedloe described it as: "a jam-packed fruit loaf, with cute egg embossed marzipan layer."

5. Waitrose Simnel Cake - View at Waitrose

5. Waitrose Simnel Cake - View at Waitrose

Winner: The best Simnel cake with cherries

RRP: £13

This Simnel cake from Waitrose tastes great, it’s rich and buttery, and nicely spiced. Filled with vine fruits and cherries and topped with a good quality marzipan. The judges felt this cake was of very good quality. 

Food Editor Jess Meyer was keen on this cake saying: "This cake has hallmarks of a classic, with mixed heady spice and a generous helping of moist plump fruit with the addition of a sprinkling of cherries too. The modern design is attractive, and the darker marzipan looks and tastes premium."

6. Meg Rivers Simnel Cake - View at Meg Rivers

6. Meg Rivers Simnel Cake - View at Meg Rivers

Winner: The best handmade Simnel cake

RRP: £33

This was our first introduction to the online bakery Meg Rivers, and what a happy introduction it was. We were delighted to taste a moist rich cake with a lovely nutmeg spice and a zingy citrus flavour. The Meg Rivers Simnel cake is handmade in their bakery in the Cotswolds. 

Junior Food Writer Georgia Sparks complimented the Simnel from Meg Rivers for being: "A good texture cake that’s nicely spiced. Darker than others we tasted and very fruity.”

Future's Food Team taste testing Easter Simnel cakes

(Image credit: Future)

How did we test the best Simnel cakes?

We had early access to a range of Simnel cakes from both supermarkets and independent producers which we tasted blind to establish the best. 

  • Taste: When judging Simnel cakes we first and foremost consider the flavour, ideally, the cake will have a mild spice and orange zest, maybe a hint of alcohol, it should be rich and flavourful, but lighter than a Christmas fruit cake. This is usually achieved by omitting treacle, which would typically be used in Christmas cake, in favour of soft brown sugar. We enjoy cakes with a mild spice, a hint of booze is a treat. 
  • Texture: In terms of texture, we favour a cake that is moist enough to hold together when cut, but still has a delicate crumb and is laden with juicy vine fruits and candied peel (we are divided when it comes to the inclusion of cherries, although I consider it to be a must other members of the team are indifferent). Nuts are not usually in the cake, they are reserved for the marzipan. Marzipan with a strong almond flavour and smooth texture is our preference and it’s often the marzipan that sets a good cake aside from the best. Cakes that skimp on marzipan quantity are downgraded. 
  • Look: Aesthetics are important, especially as this is likely to be brought out for a celebration, although we have also considered cakes that might be better for gifting or enjoying in a more low-key situation with a cup of tea. As long as they taste great we have included them in our roundup.  Each Simnel cake is independently judged before the scores and feedback are discussed, however, there is typically a consensus on the most popular.

Meet the experts: Tried and tested by...

Rose Fooks profile photo
Rose Fooks

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. She has a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Career highlights have included interviewing the wonderful Mary Berry and working on Truth, Love and Clean Cutlery; a guidebook of sustainable restaurants in the UK. 

Profile picture of Jen Bedloe
Jen Bedloe

An experienced recipe writer, editor, and food stylist, Jen is Group Food Director at Future plc where she oversees the food content across the women’s lifestyle group, including Woman and Home, Women’s Weekly, Woman, Woman’s Own, Chat, Goodto.com, and womanandhome.com. Jen studied Communications at Goldsmiths, then landed her first job in media working for Delia Smith’s publishing company on Sainsbury’s magazine. Jen honed her practical skills by combining courses at Leith’s cookery school with time spent in the test kitchen testing recipes and assisting food stylists on photoshoots. 

Profile picture of Jess Meyer
Jess Meyer

Jess is the Group Food Editor at Future PLC, working across brands in the woman’s lifestyle group, including Woman and Home, Woman’s Weekly, Woman, Woman’s Own, Chat, womanandhome.com and Goodto.com.  An experienced recipe writer, food stylist and home economist, Jess honed her skills in print and digital food media, working with well known brands such as Great British Bake Off, Tastemade US and UK, and Slimming World to name a few. 

Profile picture of Georgia Sparks
Georgia Sparks

Georgia Sparks is Junior Food Writer, working across Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly, Chat and goodto.com. She's passionate about food and is most content knife and fork in hand around the table with family and friends. Georgia works within the Food Team at Future Plc where she can usually be found in the kitchen developing and testing recipes as well as assisting on shoots and writing food features. 

Looking for more Easter inspiration? We've got delicious Easter cake ideas, simple Easter desserts you can try making at home as well as Easter lamb recipes and fun Creme Egg recipes the kids are going to love.

Rose Fooks
Deputy Food Editor

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. Before joining the team, Rose obtained a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Going on to work in professional kitchens at The Delaunay and Zedel.