The Simnel Cake

Simnel cake is a light fruitcake eaten during the pre-Easter period in the United Kingdom. It is distinguished by two layers of marzipan, one in the middle and one on top. The top layer is capped by a circle of  “marzipan balls” made of the same paste, and is lightly browned under a grill.
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The Simnel cake is now simply called an Easter cake. Before we all started ordering these for Easter, the cake was mostly associated with Mothering Sunday.
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In 17th Century Gloucestershire and Worcestershire the custom of live-in apprentices and domestic servants going home to visit their mothers on Mothering Sunday started, checking that their families were well and taking food or money if needed. This was a time of year when food stocks were low, and the high-calorie simnel cake was useful nutrition.
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Conventionally eleven marzipan balls are used to decorate the cake, with the story that the balls represent the twelve apostles, minus Judas. You will notice a gap in the marzipan balls which signifies the space of Judas.
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