|My mother and I|
shortly after my baptism
on Easter Even in 1945,
Mothering Sunday or Refreshment Sunday
Mothering Sunday was also known as Refreshment Sunday because the fasting rules for Lent were relaxed on that day. Besides both Old and New testament lessons on mid-Lent Sunday made a point of food. The Gospel reading from the New Testament told the story of how Jesus fed five thousand people with only five small barley loaves and two small fish. (John 6:10-12)
At our church in Lavenham, the ladies brought Simmenl Cakes and made tea and coffee for after church. What a treat.
Simnel Cake is a special food item associated with Mothering Sunday. A Simnel cake is a rich fruit cake with a layer of almond paste on top and also in the middle. The cake is made with 11 balls of marzipan (a confection made of ground almonds or almond paste, egg whites and sugar, often molded into decorative shapes) on top representing the 11 disciples (Judas is not included).
2 hrs 30 min
225g butter, softened
225g plain (all purpose) flour
110g glacé cherries, quartered (or any dried fruit)
grated zest of 2 oranges
grated zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
450g almond paste
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 egg, beaten
1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C /gas 2 (300℉)2. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, sultanas, currants, glace cherries, orange zest, lemon zest and spices in a large mixing bowl and beat together until thoroughly blended
3. Place half the mixture in a buttered and lined 20cm (7") deep round cake tin and level the surface.
4. Take one-third of the almond paste and roll it out into a circle the size of the tin. Place it on top of the cake mixture. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over and smooth the surface.
5. Bake the cake for about 2 hours 30 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. Cover with foil after 1 hour if the top is browning too quickly. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. When the cake has cooled, brush the top with the warmed apricot jam and roll out half of the remaining almond paste to fit the top. Press firmly on the top and crimp the edges to decorate.
7. Form the remaining almond paste into 11 balls . Arrange the balls around the outside.
8. Preheat the grill (broiler). Place the cake under the preheated grill to turn the almond paste golden.
(This cake is even better made at least a week ahead and stored in a tightly closed tin.)