Spoil your Mum this Mother’s Day with a traditional Simnel cake!

Spoil your Mum this Mother’s Day with a traditional Simnel cake! - Keep Things Personal

Mother’s Day is a very big deal in the UK. It’s a time to spoil and celebrate all our wonderful Mothers and show them how much we appreciate them; 19th March 2023 isn’t that far off, so if you need a great idea for a gift, we have one!


Although we call it Mother’s Day (inherited from across the pond) we actually celebrate Mothering Sunday – but they mean the same thing - a day to spoil and appreciate mum! It’s a day of celebration that goes back as far as 250BC! The ancient Greeks would celebrate Rhea, the Mother of the Gods and Goddesses, every spring with festivals of worship and the Romans celebrated their Mother Goddess, Cybele, every March.


In the UK, in accordance with the Christian calendar, Mothering Sunday has been celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent, since with 16th century. Interestingly, the date varies in other parts of the world such as the US and celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May and other countries choose March 8th which is also International Women's Day.


Like many traditions and festivities, Mothering Sunday began with a religious purpose. Held on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, it was originally a day to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary. These religious celebrations encouraged people to visit their 'mother' church - the main place of worship for the family unit. It was believed to be essential for people to return to their home 'mother' church to make it a true family-honoured occasion and any children (as young as 10) who worked away as domestic servants or apprentices away from home were given the day off to return to see their mother.


As with most national holidays, Mother's Day involves gifting Mum with cards and presents just to show her how much she is loved and appreciated. Traditionally, Mother's Day gifts included flowers and a Simnel cake. The flowers were picked by children from the country lanes; today it is still a tradition today to give Mum a colourful bouquet of flowers. Mother’s Day was also known as

'Simnel Sunday' and families would gather with freshly baked delicious Simnel cakes which are made of two rich fruity layers that are boiled in water and then baked, before having almond paste spread on top and in the middle of the layers. Traditionally the cake would have been decorated with 11 balls of marzipan to represent the 11 disciples (not including Judas), whilst sugar violets were also a popular decoration for the cake.


So, to put a little bit of history back into Mothering Sunday, why not bake your lovely Mum a traditional Simnel cake and present it in a beautifully personalised cake tin for her to enjoy? We’ve even got the recipe for you! So happy baking and Happy Mother’s Day!




250g mixed dried fruit (a mixture of sultanas, currants, raisins and candied mixed peel) 1 orange, zested and juiced 500g pack marzipan 250g pack butter, softened 200g light brown soft sugar 4 eggs, plus 1 beaten to glaze 175g plain flour 100g ground almonds 1 tsp baking powder 1 lemon, zested

2 tsp mixed spice 1 tsp vanilla extract

100g glacé cherries, halved

3 tbsp apricot jam




STEP 1 Put the mixed dried fruit in a bowl with the orange juice and zest and 2 tbsp water. Cover and microwave for 2 mins, then leave to cool completely. Alternatively, heat gently in a pan, stirring now and then until the liquid has been absorbed and leave to cool.



Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Roll out a third of the marzipan and use the base of a deep 20cm cake tin as a template to cut out a circle. Wrap any offcuts and the remaining two-thirds of marzipan and set aside for later. Butter and line the cake tin with a double layer of parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder, lemon zest, mixed spice and vanilla (all in one go) and mix until well combined. Mix in the cooled soaked dried fruit and fold in the cherries.



Scrape half the cake mixture into the tin. Top with the disc of marzipan, then the remaining cake mixture, and level the top with a spatula. Bake for 2 hrs. Check it’s cooked by inserting a skewer to the centre of the cake, if any wet mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven for another 10 mins, then check again. Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.



Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and use the base of the cake as a template to cut out another disc. Place it on top of the cake and crimp the edges, if you like. Roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized balls for the apostles. Brush the marzipan with beaten egg and arrange the apostles in a circle on top around the outside and brush them with a little egg too. Put under a hot grill for a minute or two until just starting to caramelise – be very careful as the marzipan will burn easily. Leave to cool and wrap a ribbon around the cake, as an extra special touch!


Will keep for up to a week in our beautiful personalised sealed tin. You can order yours here: https://keepthingspersonal.com/products/abstract-rose-personalised-cake-tin



Bon appetite!

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