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Simnel cake - a question that's baffled us all today...

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by steffiw, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Simnel cake is traditionally eaten on Mothering Sunday, which falls roughly half way through Lent. If you've strictly observed Lent, then the ingredients for Simnel cake would have been eaten on Shrove Tuesday, so why is Simnel cake given by servants to their mothers at this time?

    Know that now Simnel cake is eaten at Easter, but this is a relatively new idea.

    In the tones of Loyd Grossman, "over to you" foodies...
  2. I don't know the answer but as it is a fruit cake and needs time to mature, would it not have been made before Lent?
  3. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    I don't really know for sure, but would suggest that the idea of Simnel cake, as a Mothering Sunday gift, predates the concept of Lent as a common practice within Christianity? I believe Mothering Sunday is a medieval concept - maybe Lent only started being observed after this? Obviously, Lent signifies something that Christians believed to have happened well before medieval times, but it's possible that its observance came into practice many years later.

  4. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    Well I have been looking on various websites and from what I can find out, it seems the cake was given on Mothering Sunday but may have been eaten on Easter Sunday.

    There's a good explanation here:

  5. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    As most households would have kept their own chickens, eggs would still need to be used or left to go rotten, unless the household had a cockerel.
  6. Thank you everyone, especially Lapin, so I can make and eat Simon and Nelly cake on Mothering Sunday, although by then my sweet cravings will probably be gone!
  7. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    You don't want to eat it the day you make it...
  8. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    Isn't it supposed to be made by the daughter and given to the mother? What happens if a woman has several daughters, multitude of cakes to be eaten? Although some sources say it was kept till Easter Sunday to be eaten.
  9. Slice of each and save the rest until Good Friday?

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