Simnel Cake Recipe for Mother’s Day
This Simnel Cake Recipe is perfect to make for Mother’s Day. It is perfectly moist with dried fruits and almond, and best of all, it comes with a historical tradition.
Long before America engaged in Mother’s Day, even dating as far back as the Middle Ages, Europeans honored their mothers on the fourth Sunday of Lent, otherwise known as Mothering (or Simnel) Sunday. This was the one day each year when the European laborers, apprentices, and servants were allowed a holiday to return home and honor their mothers.
Their Lenten fast was allowed to be broken, and all children would bake their mothers a special type of cake, a fruit cake with marzipan, that would then be enjoyed by the entire family on their day of rest. This was a special time and often the only time older children would see their mothers all year, which made it all the more important and special.
It is the day of all the year
Of all the year the one day.
And here comes I, my Mother dear
To bring you cheer,
A-mothering on Sunday
Enjoy our version of the traditional Simnel Cake Recipe with your mother for Mother’s Day or just as a delightful summer cake recipe. We recommend pairing this recipe with our Lady Londonderry strawberry lemon black tea (scroll past the recipe to see additional tea recommendations).
Simnel Cake Recipe for Mother’s Day
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes 11 – 12 servings
- 8 oz. almond paste (available ready-made in cans)
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¾ cup currants (or raisins)
- ¾ cup candied fruit peel, finely chopped
- 2 – 4 oz. almond paste, candied violets, or marzipan fruits for garnish (optional)
- powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a round 8 – 10 inch cake pan, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment.
- Split 8 ounces of almond paste evenly into 2 parts and roll each into a ball. Place each ball between 2 pieces of wax paper and roll into flat circles the size of your pan. Press any cracking edges back together with your fingers. Set side. Take off the paper when ready to use.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Sift the flour with the salt. Add a third of the flour at a time into the batter, mixing until combined. Fold in the currants (or raisins) and candied fruit peel and mix lightly.
- Add half the batter into the pan, and spread evenly with a spatula. Carefully place one flat circle of almond paste on top of the batter. Top with the remaining half of the batter, spreading evenly. Save the second flat circle of almond paste for after baking.
- Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cake pulls away slightly from the inside of the pan, is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Optional: while the cake is in the oven, use 2 – 4 ounces of almond paste to roll into 11 small spheres to decorate the top of the cake.
- Once the cake is done and while it is still warm, top the cake with the second flat circle of almond paste, along with any almond paste spheres. Crimp the edges of the almond paste circle if desired, then return the cake to the oven for another 8 – 10 minutes.
- Let cool for 30 minutes on a baking rack. To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife along the inside edge of the pan, and turn out carefully.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar as desired, and decorate or garnish with candied violets or marzipan fruits around the outer edges.
We recommend you serve this afternoon tea recipe with the following loose leaf teas.