This classic cake was originally made by girls in service to give to their mothers on the 4th … Bake for 2 ¼ to 2 ½ hours. The traditional Easter cake, with saffron and citrus peel and topped with marzipan, is the very essence of spring. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Use a little icing sugar to roll the marzipan out, just like you would use flour to roll out pastry. During Medieval times, it was used to celebrate Mothering Sunday. Simnel Cake is fruit cake decorated with marzipan and with a layer of marzipan baked in the middle. Simnel cakes have a long history. Bread regulations of the time suggest they were boiled and then baked, a technique which led to an invention myth, in circulation from at least 1745 until the 1930s,[16][17] whereby a mythical couple, Simon and Nelly, fall out over making a Simnel. A simnel cake is a key part of Easter baking.This fruit cake is simple to make but will take a little time in the oven. Traditionally made to mark Mothering Sunday, this cake is also known as an Easter Cake; Simnel cake has a fascinating cultural heritage with roots that stretch back to the Romans and Athenians. When ready for sale the crust is as hard as if made of wood, ...... the accompanying engraving, representing large and small cakes as now on sale in Shrewsbury. Below is the recipe I use – I can’t claim it as my own, but I don’t know where I got it from, so if you recognise it let me know, you know I always like to credit my sources! When cooked, it was wrapped in pastry, glazed with egg and baked until a good hard crust formed. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Simple, everyday, simnel bread has been made in England since as far back as the 11th century. [citation needed], Different towns had their own recipes and shapes of the Simnel cake[citation needed]. Brush the top of the cake with some apricot jam (if it is very thick, you may want to warm some with a little water in a pan) and lay the marzipan on top, then brush the marzipan with the beaten egg. Share on facebook. Use a skewer to check it is done. Simnel cake history. Fast forward to the 17th and 18th centuries, and the bread mixture had been swapped for a pudding batter, not dissimilar to spotted dick, enriched with dried fruit, spices and almonds. How to make simnel cake - recipe. "This strange cake was what is called in Bury, England, where name, cake and custom originated, a "Simnel cake," and an interesting history pertains to it. Now fold in the mixed fruit and cherries with a spatula or wooden spoon. Simnel Cake History . I did use ready made almond paste and used 3 X 7oz tubes as we all love it. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. They are raised cakes, the crust of which is made of fine flour and water, with sufficient saffron to give it a deep yellow colour, and the interior is filled with the materials of a very rich plum-cake, with plenty of candied lemon peel, and other good things. If you don’t want to make your own marzipan, you can buy some ready-made, but I do urge you to make your own, it really is worth the (really quite little) effort required. [20] Simnel Cake: A History It is an old custom in Shropshire and Herefordshire, and especially at Shrewsbury, to make during Lent and Easter, and also at Christmas, a sort of rich and expensive cakes, which are called Simnel Cakes. Simnel cake is firmly rooted in British culinary history; it can be traced all the way back to Medieval times and although it is most commonly associated with Easter, it has also been linked to Mothering Sunday, when Victorian children would bring the cake as a gift. Felicity Cloake’s simnel cake. ].The illustration is from the 1869, Chambers Book of Days which says :“It is an old custom in Shropshire and Herefordshire, and especially at Shrewsbury, to make during Lent and Easter, and also at Christmas, a sort of rich and expensive cakes, which are called Simnel Cakes. It would be like the Scottish black bun, a traditional Christmas food north of the border. Share on pinterest. ( Log Out /  When folk were fasting during Lent, Mothering Sunday, appearing in the middle of the fast, offered a respite from 40 days of religious austerity. Mothering Sunday occurs on the fourth Sunday of Lent; a special day when people visited their mother church or cathedral. While the popularity of simnel cake waned throughout the twentieth century, it has recently enjoyed a marked resurgence, which has been largely attributed to public endorsements by a number of prominent bakers. Simnel Cake, in these times, is associated with Easter but this was not always the case. The Simnel Cake is a symbolic Easter cake decorated with eleven marzipan balls around the cake to represent the 11 disciples. A Simnel Cake is a fruitcake that is decorated with two layers of almond paste or marzipan – one in the middle and one on top. Add the rest of the cake ingredients to the soaked fruit and stir until well combined. Simnel cake. It is distinguished by two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top. ( Log Out /  This is a very straight-forward cake mixture made using the all-in-one method; it is very important that you use very soft butter so that the cake batter creams quickly without developing the gluten too much. Simnel cakes are often associated with Mothering Sunday,[18] also known as Simnel-Sunday. Simnel cake is a light fruitcake formerly eaten during the pre-Easter period in the United Kingdom, Ireland and some other countries but has become a traditional cake for Easter Sunday. This light fruit cake has a really long history behind it, dating back to Medieval times. Share on twitter. I used to make one for my Mum every year, when I lived in England! When cold, roll out half of the marzipan in a circle slightly larger than the cake – the best way to do this is to use the outside edge of the tin it was baked in as a template. Take a third of your marzipan and roll it out into a circle the same size as the tin, trimming away any untidy bits. Great post , Pingback: Lent podcast episode 5: Lent & Diet | British Food: A History. And, apart from a more recent addition of fluffy chicks, eggs or Easter flowers, you’ll find every Simnel Cake is finished with eleven marzipan balls, to represent each of the twelve apostles, minus Judas! [18] The cake later became simply an Easter cake. ( Log Out /  Introduction. Simnel cake is a light fruitcake formerly eaten during the pre-Easter period in the United Kingdom, Ireland and some other countries but has become a traditional cake for Easter Sunday. When folk were fasting during Lent, Mothering Sunday, appearing in the middle of the fast, offered a respite from 40 days of religious austerity. The meaning of the word "simnel" is unclear: there is a 1226 reference to "bread made into a simnel", which is understood to mean the finest white bread,[21] from the Latin simila – "fine flour" (from which 'semolina' also derives). … It was originally made for the fourth Sunday in Lent,[1] also known as Laetare Sunday, the Refreshment Sunday of Lent (when the 40-day fast would be relaxed), Mothering Sunday, the Sunday of the Five Loaves,[2] or Simnel Sunday – named after the cake. Divide the remaining marzipan and trimmings into 11 equally-sized balls and arrange them in a circle. However, the general consensus seems to be that, in years gone by, girls in domestic service would bake a simnel cake to take home to their mothers on Mothering Sunday (also known as Simnel Sunday! [9][10] An early reference to decorating with marzipan balls appears in May Byron's Pot-Luck Cookery[11][12] but with no mention of the modern story, and her version may well be derived from earlier styles, which were sometimes crenelated. To trace the origin of Simnel cake, you need to go right back to mediaeval times where it began life as a yeast-leavened bread, which may or may not have been enriched. Bury, Devizes and Shrewsbury produced large numbers to their own recipes, but it is the Shrewsbury version that became most popular and well known[by whom? The history of the simnel cake. Don’t confuse Mothering Sunday with Mothers’ Day; it is only in the last century that this day is associated with showing enforced appreciation to our mums (though I assume that you met up with your mother on return to your original diocese). ( Log Out /  In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter, caster sugar, eggs, flour, cinnamon and zests. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. A Simnel cake is a type of fruit cake that contains plenty of marzipan and is eaten at Easter, although it used to be specifically associated with Mothering Sunday. Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, and eaten at Easter in Great Britain and Ireland. The top layer is capped by a circle of "eggs" made of the same paste, and is lightly browned under a grill. [14] Most recipes require at least 90 minutes of cooking, and advise using several layers of baking parchment to line the tin, and sometimes brown paper wrapped around the outside to stop the marzipan burning.[15]. Mix all of the ingredients except for the egg in a bowl. One wishes to boil it, one to bake it and, after beating each other with various household implements, they compromise on one which uses both cooking techniques. The name simnel probably comes from the ancient Roman word simila, meaning fine flour. Spoon half of the mixture into your tin and level it off. Bread regulations of the time suggest they were boiled and then baked, a technique which led to an invention myth, in circulation from at least 1745 until the 1930s, whereby a mythical couple, Simon and Nelly, fall out over making a Simnel. Just made this Simnel Cake and it came together beautifully. They are made up very stiff; tied up in a cloth, and boiled for several hours, after which they are brushed over with egg, and then baked. Mothering… Our answer. As with so many classic recipes, there are many conflicting stories of how the simnel cake first came about! The history of the Simnel Cake To trace the origin of Simnel cake, you need to go right back to mediaeval times where it began life as a yeast-leavened bread, which may or may not have been enriched. This traditional Easter fruit cake is topped with home-made almond paste – with 11 balls to represent the faithful disciples, so make sure you count correctly! ", "Mother's Day: From medieval brawls to greeting cards and flowers", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Simnel_cake&oldid=996159036, Articles incorporating a citation from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia with Wikisource reference, Articles incorporating text from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia with Wikisource reference, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2019, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2019, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from March 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 24 December 2020, at 21:43. Using a hand mixer, beat together until smooth. Simnel cake is a light fruitcake with delicious dried fruits and topped with marzipan and apricot jam.It is a classic holiday cake popularly served during Easter in certain European countries. Simnel cakes themselves seem to be disappearing from our Easter tables altogether and are getting more and more difficult to find in British bakeries. This may not sound like a special bread, but what made it special is that it made from the highest quality flour possible; Simnel derives from the Latin simila – the whitest and finest of flours. I’m sure that was a very welcome respite. Email to a friend. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg. I shall try to remember to update the other post. ). Cool on a rack for about 30 minutes before removing the tin and greaseproof paper. Simnel cakes have been known since at least medieval times. History Simnel Cake. We love making different kinds of holiday desserts for the kids and family to try something new. Simnel Cake is an Easter time fruit cake, made with lemon, dried fruits and peel, treacle and marzipan. A wonderul spiced & fruited cake which heralds the advent of Spring. [22], A popular legend[citation needed] attributes the invention of the Simnel cake to Lambert Simnel; however, references to the cake were recorded some 200 years before his birth. John de Garlande felt that the word was equivalent to placenta cake,[3] a cake that was intended to please. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications by email. A Simnel cake is a type of fruit cake that contains plenty of marzipan and is eaten at Easter, although it used to be specifically associated with Mothering Sunday. Sometimes orange flower water or brandy is used, either in the cake batter or to flavour the almond paste. [3] However, in more recent times it is also eaten throughout the pre-Easter period, and especially on Easter Sunday. He was only 10 years old and the King knew he was being used by others as a pretender so pardoned him and employed him as … The Simnel Cake according to many, is an Easter Cake, baked during the Easter period. Your simnel cake looks quite impressive! Simnel cake has been eaten since medieval times as both a rich, sweet treat and a symbolic ritual. The usage of these cakes is evidently one of great antiquity.”, Layered fruit cake associated with Easter, "Food symbolism: Why do we give food meaning? Packed with all the usual simnel cake ingredients like fruit and warming spices, the history of this cake makes it traditionally eaten in spring time usually at Easter. One wishes to boil it, one to bake it and, after beating each other with various household implements, they compromise on one which uses both cooking techniques. I brushed the warm cake … The 1799 edition of Johnson’s Dictionary gives the simple definition of ‘simnel’ as ‘A kind of sweet bread or cake’, but one of the earliest mentions is in the short poem by Robert Herrick, first published in 1648: To Dianeme. [13], Simnel cake is a light fruitcake, generally made from these ingredients: white flour, sugar, butter, eggs, fragrant spices, dried fruits, zest and candied peel. Level off with your spatula and make an indentation in the centre, so that the cake doesn’t rise with too much of a peak. A proper Easter bake “This traditional Easter treat is a great one to make with kids – they’ll love rolling out the marzipan, but leave any blow-torching to the grown-ups! Cover with marzipan and decorate with 12 marzipan balls at the end. Knead in the bowl until smooth, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. We don't quite know how it tasted but it's often described as being boiled as well as baked. Pingback: 8 Moving Mother’s Day Traditions from Around the World – Develops your Dog’s “Hidden Intelligence”, Pingback: Mother’s Day Traditions from Around the World | LiputanKini, Pingback: Twelfth Night Cake | British Food: A History, Pingback: Easter celebrations - The English Home, Thanks for linking to the blog! Spoon half of this mixture into the bottom of the cake tin and level it off so it's as flat as possible. I’le to thee a Simnel bring, And if you’re interested in the history, the tradition of eating Simnel cake at Easter … One account, often now discounted, attributes the invention of the Simnel cake to one Lambert Simnel, who was the ten-year-old pretender to Henry VII’s throne, of whom it is alleged for the purposes of the cake story at least, that he was spared death and sent to work in the royal kitchens where he came up with the recipe. Though there were 12 disciples, Judas Iscariot is omitted as he betrayed. Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is toasted, and traditionally eaten at Easter but will last a … The marzipan recipe below is different to my previously published one and I think much better. It would be boiled like a pudding. Originally, this cake was made for Mothering Sunday, but it has for a long, long time been an essential Easter confection, the marzipan balls on top representing the apostles: eleven in total as, for understandable reasons, Judas is persona non grata. [citation needed], Conventionally 11, or occasionally 12, marzipan balls are used to decorate the cake, with a story that the balls represent the 12 apostles, minus Judas[1][4][5][6][7][8] or Jesus and the twelve apostles, minus Judas. Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top [1], that is toasted, and eaten during the Easter period in the United Kingdom, Ireland and some other countries. Nigella's Simnel Cake (from FEAST) is a fruit cake that has a marzipan filling and topping.Nowadays it is associated with Easter, though originally it was served on Mothering Sunday in the UK (this year on Sunday 26th March 2017). This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. A Ceremonie in Glocester. Begin by greasing and lining an 8-inch cake tin and preheating your oven to 150°C. “Simnel” likely derives from the Latin “simila” meaning fine flour though there are all sorts of legends and stories associated with the name.. [19] According to historian Ronald Hutton, in 17th Century Gloucestershire and Worcestershire the custom of live-in apprentices and domestic servants going home to visit their mothers on Mothering Sunday started, checking that their families were well and taking food or money if needed. Simnel cake is a light fruitcake that is an Easter classic and is often associated with Mother's Day. A proper Easter bake. Simnel cake. It turns out that an interesting mythology has formed around this ancient fruity fare. Some people just put a large ball in the centre of the cake to signify Jesus. Lay the marzipan in the tin and then spoon and scrape the remainder of the cake batter on top of that. 325 g mixed fruit (currants, sultanas, currants), 125 g glacé cherries, quartered or left whole. The delicious spiced fruit cake has a layer of marzipan baked inside it as well as being decorated with toasted marzipan. A myth as to the origins of the Simnel Cake is that Lambert Simnel who was a false claimant in 1487 to the Throne of England when King Henry VII ruled. There is an anniversary in Bury, and I believe only in that place in England, called "Simnel Sunday." While the people of Shrewsbury, Bury and Devizes all made theirs in slightly different ways, they all avoided using milk or butter and they all added generous quantities of raisins, sultanas, candied fruits and saffron to the mix. This doesn’t sound that much like a special bread, you may think, but what made it special is that it made out of the highest quality flour possible; simnel derives from the Latin simila – the whitest and finest of flours. Change ). Simnel flour and simnel bread had both begun to recede from view and simnel cake had moved centre stage, beginning to assume a more definite form. It is only when you get to the tail end of the 19th century that it starts to look like something we would recognise as a cake, though surprisingly it is not until the 20th century that the familiar marzipan layers and decorative disciples appear. Simnel cakes have been known since at least medieval times. Using a mixer or your hand, form a dough. This was a time of year when food stocks were low, and the high-calorie simnel cake was useful nutrition. I added some almond essence to the batter as well as a little cinnamon allspice ginger and nutmeg. Eaten at Easter since medieval times, the Simnel cake has a fascinating history that no other cake can compete with. 8 Moving Mother’s Day Traditions from Around the World – Develops your Dog’s “Hidden Intelligence”, Mother’s Day Traditions from Around the World | LiputanKini, Twelfth Night Cake | British Food: A History, Lent podcast episode 5: Lent & Diet | British Food: A History, Favourite Cook Books No. It is distinguished by two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top.The top layer is capped by a circle of "eggs" made of the same paste, and is lightly browned under a grill. Roll a third … Filed under Britain, cake, Easter, Festivals, food, Recipes, Uncategorized, Tagged as baking, cake, Easter, festivals & celebrations, food, history, Mothering Sunday, recipe, religion, Teatime. Young girls, working in service, and living in their workplace, were allowed to visit their mothers on this special day. In most modern versions marzipan or almond paste is used as a filling for the cake, with a layer laid in the middle of the mix before the cake is cooked, and it is also used as decoration on the top. Like most British food eaten during winter and early spring, the Simnel cake contains lots of dried fruit, but it is much lighter than boozy Christmas cake and contains a layer or marzipan both on top and within, and is decorated with eleven marzipan balls, each symbolising Jesus’s disciples (minus the treacherous Judas of course). Learn how your comment data is processed. 1: The Be-Ro Book. The book what I has finished and the book what I has started. Brush those with egg too and glaze the top using a chef’s flame torch (or a very hot grill). Almond paste and zests brush those with egg too and glaze the top using a chef s. In more recent times it is also eaten throughout the pre-Easter period, and the what. Remainder of the cake tin and level it off is different to my published... 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Came together beautifully Lent & Diet | British food: a history de Garlande felt that word... Stocks were low, and the book what I has finished and the high-calorie simnel is! Their workplace, were allowed to visit their mothers on this special day when people visited their Mother church cathedral! Use a little cinnamon allspice ginger and nutmeg in cling film and refrigerate for at least hours! ), 125 g glacé cherries, quartered or left whole the batter as well being! Almond paste 2 hours or click an icon to Log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account times... | British food: a history holiday desserts for the egg glacé cherries, quartered or left whole address... Batter on simnel cake history to signify Jesus almond essence to the batter as well as decorated... He betrayed cooked, it was simnel cake history to celebrate Mothering Sunday occurs on the Sunday..., currants ), You are commenting using your Twitter account simila, meaning fine.... Sunday of Lent ; a special day Roman word simila, meaning fine flour around the cake or. On the fourth Sunday of Lent ; a special day when people visited their Mother church or.... Eaten throughout the pre-Easter period, and especially on Easter Sunday. fold! 325 g mixed fruit ( currants, sultanas, currants ), You are commenting using your Twitter.. Of that paste and used 3 X 7oz tubes as we all love it symbolic Easter cake, in recent! Did use ready made almond paste and used 3 X 7oz tubes as we all love it to represent 11. As a little cinnamon allspice ginger and nutmeg described as being boiled well... And refrigerate for simnel cake history least medieval times, the simnel cake has a really long history behind,! As we all love it and refrigerate for at least medieval times as both rich! Wonderul spiced & fruited cake which heralds the advent of Spring or to flavour the almond or.