Easter recipes from our Aria Care chefs

As we move into the Easter weekend, here’s some scrumptious Easter recipes from our kitchens to yours – the perfect treats for your celebrations. Find out how to bake a delicious Simmel Cake courtesy of our talented Regional Chef Ella Reeves, and Hot Cross Buns with a Twist from our Executive Development and Dementia Catering Lead, Steve Harding.

Steve’s Hot Cross Buns with a Twist


  • 70g butter
  • 200ml milk
  • 100ml orange juice
  • Grated peel from 3 oranges
  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 45g cocoa powder
  • 8g dried yeast
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 250g chocolate drops
  • 100g sultanas
  • 50g mixed peel

For the cross:

  • 20g strong flour
  • 110ml water


  1. Soak the sultanas in the orange juice overnight.
  2. Melt the butter and warm half of the milk, set to one side.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, yeast, mixed spice and sugar.
  4. Pour in the warm milk and the vanilla extract, and mix on a low speed setting, then add the sultanas and the egg and the remaining juice from the sultanas. You will end up with a dough-like consistency.
  5. Knead the dough for 10 minutes before covering the dough and leave for 1 hour.
  6. Once the dough has risen, on a floured surface divide into 6 equal portions.
  7. Knead in the chocolate chips and form into balls.
  8. Line a tray with parchment paper and place the dough balls on the tray with space in between. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove again for 1 hour or until they have doubled in size.
  9. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  10. Brush each bun with egg yolk, cinnamon, and milk.
  11. For the cross, mix the flour and water to create the paste, place into a piping bag and pipe each bun with a cross.
  12. Bake for 20-30 minutes.
  13. Serve hot with butter.

Ella’s Easter Simmel Cake


  • 175g butter
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 175g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • 350g mixed raisins, currants and sultanas
  • 55g chopped mixed peel
  • ½ lemon, grated zest only
  • Apricot jam

For the Almond paste:

  • 250g/ caster sugar
  • 250g/ ground almonds
  • 2 free-range eggs,
  • 1 tsp almond essence


  1. Pre-heat oven to 140C/120C fan.
  2. Grease and double line a 18cm/7in cake tin.
  3. For the almond paste, place the sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. Add enough beaten egg and mix to a soft consistency. Add the almond essence and knead for 1 minute until the paste is smooth and pliable. Roll out a third of the almond paste to make a circle 18cm/7in in diameter and reserve the remainder for the cake topping.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  5. Gradually beat in the eggs until well incorporated.
  6. Sift in the flour, salt, and mixed spice, add the mixed dried fruit, peel and grated lemon zest and stir into the mixture.
  7. Add half the mixture into your cake tin and place the almond paste on top
  8. Add the remaining cake mixture and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool fully.
  9. Brush the top of the cooled cake with the apricot jam.
  10. Divide the remainder of the almond paste in half. Roll out a circle to cover the top of the cake and roll the remainder into small balls. Place the circle on top of the glaze and add the balls on top round the edge.
  11. Brush the cake topping with a little beaten egg. Put under a hot grill for a minute or two until just starting to caramelise – be very careful as the marzipan will burn easily.