Posted by BCM on Thursday, February 25, 2016 Under: Baking
There’s more to Easter than Easter Eggs! And Hot Cross Buns too for that matter.
Among the many delights we indulge ourselves with over the Easter holidays there’s another not so well known one that’s making a come back and that is the simnel cake.
A bit like a Christmas cake only lighter, simnel cakes are packed with dried fruit and are beautifully decorated with a topping of golden marzipan rather than icing. There’s another layer in the middle and then, around the top, eleven marzipan balls are neatly arranged to represent the apostles of Jesus. But weren’t there twelve apostles? There were, yes, but Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and so loses his place.
Simnel cakes have been around for centuries. Different towns in England have their own recipes and they can come in different shapes. Stories abound about their origins. The name most likely comes from the Latin “Simila” which was a fine flour made from wheat. The cakes used to be made for Mothering Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent, three weeks before Easter. This was the day in the year when parishioners were encouraged to worship at their mother church or cathedral rather than their local one. Over time, it became a big day for family get-togethers and children working away from home as servants or on the land would get the day off to visit their mothers. It was also a day when the usual fasting rules for Lent were relaxed. Nowadays, the cake is saved for the end of Lent on Easter Sunday.
Whatever their origins, simnel cakes make the perfect centrepiece to your table at Easter.
A very special home baked version will be on sale at the next Balham Country Market. They are truly a treat not to be missed.
In : Baking