Celebrating Easter…. Simnel Cake… By Lucy Simmons
April 9, 2015
A traditional and beautiful spiced, fruit filled, almond moist Simnel cake, to celebrate Easter. Simple and fun to prepare and bake , a truly stunning centre piece to adorn your Easter festive table.
- Prep: 20 mins
- Cook: 1 hr 40 mins
- Yields: 11 1 extra 402
1. For the almond paste mix together the sugar, ground almonds and slowly add the eggs (you may not need all of them). Mix until a soft consistency is reached and add the almond essence. Turn out onto a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, knead until it is smooth and pliable and cut off one third. Roll out the third of the paste into a circle (18cm). Wrap the remaining almond paste in cling film.
2. Preheat the oven to 140C/ gas 1. Line the base of a 18cm loose bottomed tin and grease the sides.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and flour with all the spices. Stir in the orange juice soaked currants, raisins and sultanas with the mixed peel and orange zest. Add half of the cake mixture into the tin and lay the layer of almond paste over, cover with the remaining cake mix. Bake for 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 hours, the skewer should be clean when it comes out of the cake. Turn out on a cooling rack and leave to cool.
4. Roll out the half of the remaining paste to fit the top of the cake and with the other paste roll into 12 little balls. Brush a layer of apricot jam over the cake and lay the almond paste on top, crimping up the edges into a groovy wave, then stick the balls down with the jam. Preheat the grill to a high heat and place the cake under for 1-2 minutes until the top starts turning golden. Adorn with a bright ribbon. Enjoy.
And a little history of the Simnel cake.
It is traditionally eaten on Easter Day and in the Mediaeval days of the 17th century female servants would bake this fruit rich Easter cake to take home on their rare visits to their mother's on Mothering Sunday which was the fourth Sunday during the Lent period.
The Christian fasting and repenting period of Lent ends on Easter Sunday and a Simnel cake helps to mark the end of the forty days of Lent and gives people a tasty treat and marks the celebration of Easter time. Some people still call the fourth Sunday during Lent Simnel Sunday.
The word Simnel comes from the Latin word Simila which means fine wheaten flour. It was traditionally made from this fine wheaten flour.
It is not only delicious but is a symbolic Easter cake and is decorated to signify aspects of Christianity. For example 11 marzipan balls or figures are places around the circular marzipan coated cake to mean the 11 disciples. Though there were 12 apostles of Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot betrayed him and hung himself with remorse and is omitted. Some will have a larger figure or ball in the centre of the cake to signify Jesus.