Traditional English Easter cake with marzipan decoration on a white plate
Food - Drink
Simnel Cake: The Sweet Treat Eaten In The UK To Celebrate Easter
What Is Simnel Cake?
Simnel cake is a British fruit cake with a light, spongy texture that is typically served each spring for Easter and Mother’s Day holidays. Unlike typical dense, boozy fruit cakes, Simnel cakes are lighter and spongy, and while dried fruit is still mixed into the batter, the cake is topped with chewy marzipan.
Historically, servants would bake these cakes with ingredients that needed to be used up before the Lent fast. According to legend, the cake got its name from warring bakers Simon and Nell, who compromised and named the cake Sim-Nell, but others believe the name comes from the Latin word for flour, “simila.”
Making Simnel Cake
To make Simnel cake, you want to introduce as much air as possible so beat your butter and sugar mixture for several minutes before adding your flour. Baking at lower temperatures for a longer time will help preserve the spongy texture, while the dried fruits keep it moist and the marzipan gives the cake an aesthetic pop.
The decorations of Simnel cakes are typically symbolic, with religious connections or celebrating spring. Typically the cake is decorated with 11 marzipan balls for Jesus' loyal disciples or a single larger marzipan decoration in honor of Jesus, while others opt for seasonal flowers or candy eggs as decoration.