Last Updated on March 21, 2020 by Fiona Maclean
The Easter Simnel Cake Story.
It looks like Easter this year is going to be very strange indeed. Even Churches and Cathedrals are closing their doors and running services remotely in an effort to help contain the virus that is plaguing the world at the moment. So, I was really thrilled to be sent a Simnel Cake in the post. My birthday is coming up and I’m planning to cheat a little and eat the cake then. Simnel Cake, if you didn’t know, was originally made for the fourth Sunday in Lent (22nd March this year). That date is known as ‘Laetare Sunday’ the day on which the forty-day fast of lent is relaxed. The same day is Mothering Sunday, it’s also sometimes called the Sunday of Five Loaves. The cake has been around since at least medieval times – probably originally made as a boiled then baked cake. When Mothering Sunday first came around, the Simnel cake was the perfect gift. The custom of Mothering Sunday came from live-in apprentices and domestic servants going home to visit their mothers at a time when food stocks would have been low and when a simnel cake would have been a great high-calorie treat.
Today, we are more likely to save up our Simnel cakes for Easter Sunday – and as my birthday comes right in the middle, I will feel totally justified in indulging on that day.
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. 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! The version of the Simnel Cake that we eat today probably originates from Shrewsbury, though at one time there were a number of different regional variations.
My cake has come from Ginger Bakers, an artisan bakery in the heart of the Lake District. Inspired by the vibrant local food scene, Lisa Smith, the founder, established her business in 2006 with the aim of making the most of the local produce and helping the community as a whole. Although they’ve worked with a major supermarket in the past, they’ve decided to focus on local and national independent cafes, delis and shops. Having experienced all the ups and downs of running a small business and even managed to survive through the floods of 2015, she’s well aware of the need to keep going and adapt.
Ginger Bakers has always sold online, but now they’ve put together several online mini gift boxes which are perfect if you know anyone who could do with a cake or three. Even though no one can travel to the Lake District right now, the cakes can come to you! Buying online right now is a good way to support businesses which normally rely on the tourism industry like Ginger Bakers – and you’ll get a delicious treat too. The perfect excuse to indulge a little I think?
All their cakes are handmade and the range includes the Simnel Cake (which would make a great present for anyone who is self-isolating over Easter) and there are fruitcakes, tarts and a whole collection of tray bakes. I’ve got a special mixed traybake box to give away to one lucky London-Unattached reader – just the thing to cheer everyone up with 6 individual slices of traybake carefully wrapped and delivered.
- Chocolate Damson Brownie
- Carrot & Ginger Cake Bake
- Fig Roast Hazelnut & Coffee Cake Bake
- Pecan Caramel Shortbread
- Raspberry & Almond Blondie
- Blackcurrant & Lemon Cake Bake
The traybake retails at £12 (right now there’s free delivery too) and if you can’t wait to see if you’ve won, you can buy it online.
To enter, just follow the Rafflecopter through as normal- remember to comment on this post.
a Rafflecopter giveaway