Next Sunday is Mothering Sunday and is also known as Simnel Sunday or Refreshment Sunday.It is also the end of Lent and the period of fasting associated with it.Traditionally a Simnel Cake was made for this day, it is rich in fruit,spices and marzipan which are forbidden during Lent. Originally a Simnel Cake was made by girls in service for their mothers, they got the day off to go and visit them and would bring a cake with them.
I always associate Simnel cake with Easter. My Gran always make it as part of a special Easter Sunday tea and we would eat it along with Hot Cross Buns and plenty of chocolate eggs. I have fond memories of spending time running around with my brothers playing on the lawn outside and coming in a magnificent tea served with beautiful china. We loved to sit down as a family and share stories from the past.
A Simnel Cake is a fruit cake with two layers of marzipan. One layer runs though the inside of the cake and the other is placed on the top of the cake and then grilled to brown it. Traditionally it is decorated with eleven balls of marzipan which represent the apostles, with the exception of Judas because he betrayed Jesus. Other decorations can be added but I prefer the traditional plain look of just the marzipan balls.
Like any fruit cake it does take a while to bake, but is worth the effort. The Simnel cake makes a perfect centre piece for Easter tea and gives the family an excuse to sit down and enjoy some time together. An egg hunt before tea is the perfect way to have some family fun and work up an appetite.