I had great fun on the Pat Kenny show this week where we were talking about all sorts of Delish food ideas for Easter – not only did I get to share some really amazing recipes but I managed to feed the troops in RTE as well.
You can find the different recipes on my blog from the links at the bottom of this post but I thought just to whet your appetite I would share the really interesting (something you can tell your grandchildren, or not as the case may be!!) story about Simnel Cake, one of my Easter dessert recipes.
Simnel Cake – The Story!
Those disappointed when Christmas Cake starts to become scarce will be pleased at the Easter arrival of the Simnel Cake. Similar in taste to a Christmas Cake, Simnel Cake is a rich fruit cake with a layer of sweet almond-scented marzipan baked running through the centre of it.
It is then topped with another layer of marzipan and then eleven small balls of marzipan are placed in a circle on top. The eleven balls represent the eleven true Disciples of Christ. Judas is, of course, notably absent. There is a tradition which states that the cake was given when people went “Mothering”.
This was not initially an early reference to Mother’s Day, which occurs a few weeks before Easter in the UK, but a time when people would visit their “Mother” church, the largest in the parish. Families would meet up at this larger place of worship and exchange gifts or share food.
As time went by, and the emphasis was placed on more secular forms of the custom, the occasion was changed more literally – to visiting the mother of the family. Although often attributed to being of medieval origin, an early reference to Simnel Cake is in the work of Robert Herrick, a poet in the seventeenth century.
He wrote in 1648: “I’ll go to thee a Simnel bring, ‘Gainst thou’ go’st a Mothering, So that when she blesseth thee, Half that blessing thou’lt give to me.”
There ya go …. I just thought I’d share a little piece of history with you!
As promised here are some of my recipes for Easter – enjoy ..