Simnel Cake

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Simnel cake is a traditional cake made on Easter. It is a light fruit cake that is marzipan covered and toasted. This cake is mostly served in countries like Great Britain and Ireland during Easter celebrations. The cake usually has a layer of baked almond paste and marzipan. To signify the true essence of Easter, the cake has eleven marzipan balls spread around on the top, which symbolize the 11 true disciples of Christ. Sometimes, Christ is also represented with an additional marzipan ball in the middle. 

 

 

History of Simnel Cake

The origin of this cake can be traced back to the 17th century, when this cake was baked on Mothering Sunday by young girls for their mothers. This later came to be used on the occasion of Easter. The recipe of making this cake has undergone several variations based on the culinary practices of different regions. The finest version of this cake is made in England. Apart from this, the Lancashire version is known as one of the richest cakes.

 

 

Ingredients Used and Method of Preparation

The Simnel cake is prepared by using some of the basic household ingredients. Some of these ingredients are butter, sugar, eggs, refined flour, baking powder, salt, dried ginger powder, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder, currants (kishmish),  raisins (kishmish), chopped mixed fruit and marzipan.

 

The cake is usually prepared by first making an almond paste with ground almonds, eggs, and sugar. The cake itself is made with the regular ingredients. The cake batter is divided into two. The first half is poured in a pan, followed by a layer of almond paste. The remaining batter is poured on top of it and the cake is baked. The top of the cake is glazed with jam and covered by a smooth layer of almond paste again. The 11 balls are set around the cake, which is then grilled for a couple of minutes.

 

 

Nutritional Information

About 100 g of Simnel cake typically contains:

 

·        Calories - 360

·        Saturated fat - 4.3 g

·        Dietary Fiber - 9 g

·        Protein - 5.1 g

·        Sodium - 100 mg

 

 

Miscellaneous Facts

1.  It was believed that this cake was invented by Lambert Simnel, who was a pretender to England's throne. However, this may not be true as the cake has been mentioned in English literature even before that. The term "simnel" could have been derived from Latin American word  “simila”, which means fine wheat flour.

 

2.  Companies like Devizes, Bury and Shrewsbury were known for the production of the Simnel cake. Among these, the Shrewsbury version was the most popular.