Friday, 1 April 2011

Simnel Cake for Mothering Sunday

A jewel of a Cake for Mother’s Day

We all think of Simnel Cake decorated with almond balls, chocolate eggs and fluffy chicks for Easter but it’s also a tradition on Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day. Young men and women away from home took gifts to their mothers. Traditionally, they gave them Simnel Cake and violets. An ancient rhyme tells of the old custom of ‘going a mothering’: “When at Mid-lent thou dost wake, to thy mother beat thy cake. She will prize it for thy sake”. Simnel Cake probably owes its tradition to Latin ‘siminellus’ which signifies the finest wheat flour, so the cake would be made with the finest ingredients.  

Simnel Cake
4oz/110g butter
3oz/75g sugar
1 tbsp syrup
2oz/50g ground almonds
2 large eggs (save some of egg white)
1lb/450g mixed fruit
2oz/50g chopped peel
2oz/50g glace cherries
Grated rind of one orange or lemon
8oz/225g self raising flour
¼ tsp mixed spice
2-3 tbsp milk
1lb/450g almond paste  

Mix all of the ingredients together. Turn half the mixture into a well greased tin and on it place one third of the almond paste, rolled out slightly smaller than the cake measurement. Turn the remaining mixture onto this and bake for 2 - 2 ½ hours in a slow oven. ” (300 F, Mark 2, 150 C) “Allow to cool. Then brush the top of the cake with the apricot jam. Roll out the remaining almond paste and place on top of cake. Place under a hot grill or in a very hot oven for 1- 2 minutes to allow top to brown. Then decorate as you like with Glace Cherries.  
For an Easter Simnel Cake, shape the remaining almond paste into 11 balls and arrange them around the edge of the cake and brush with egg white then grill as before.  

Whatever the occasion, Simnel Cake is a great one to enjoy!




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