Simnel cake is a traditional British cake, a spiced fruit cake with a layer of marzipan cooked in the middle of it, and then another put on top when it is cooked; more marzipan is rolled into eleven little balls and placed on top,which is then flashed under the grill to make it all toasty and yummy.
Apparently the tradition of simnel cake goes right back to the middle ages, when they were eaten on the middle Sunday of Lent, Lent being the fasting period before Easter. Mothering Sunday is the same day, so the two now go together Mothering Sunday and simnel cake… as a mum I reckon it is the perfect combination! The eleven balls on top represent the eleven disciples of Jesus, without Judas Iscariot. It is also traditionally decorated with a posy of flowers for mother!
Tomorrow a friend and I will be making a cake to take to our English conversation class on Tuesday, to tell the students about the custom, and to let them all have a taste!! Mmmm… maybe there will be some marzipan left over… mmmm!