Simnel Cake and Mothering Sunday

I hope you guys are sitting down, because I’m about to drop some earth-shattering knowledge: Mothers Day and Mothering Sunday are not the same thing! Mothering Sunday is actually a Christian holiday celebrated by many denominations across Europe, and it always falls on Lent’s fourth Sunday – it originated as a day where people, particularly household servants, returned to their ‘mother church’.


Mothering Sunday is actually also known Simnel Sunday due to the tradition of baking Simnel cakes to celebrate the ‘family reunion’ during the austerity of Lent. Even if you’re not religious, I thoroughly recommend getting into the spirit of Simnel Sunday, particularly if you’re a marzipan fan!


Ideally, you’ll bake a fantastic Simnel delight yourself, which consists of a beautifully light fruit cake with two layers of marzipan, or alternatively almond paste, topped with 11 balls of marzipan to represent the 11 apostles (bar Judas).


Here’s Mary Berry’s fabulous recipe guaranteed to amaze!


But, if you’re too lazy, you could always buy one and pass it off as your own - John Lewis does a gorgeous-looking Simnel cake by Cartwright & Butler which comes in equally delightful tin.

Simnel Cake Cartwright & Butler

Go on guys, get baking! And if you’re looking for inspiration, you could always check out Anges de Sucre. Particularly now that we have our amazing weekend special (4 different flavour cupcakes – just hop onto Instagram to take a peek or better yet, come visit us) – let me tell you, they look AND taste out of this world, and eleven of these babies, each with a macaron on top would be a delicious modern take on the traditional! I would thoroughly encourage you to pop down to Kensington before they’re all gone…

Gourmet Cupcakes London

Love, Saffy aka Sweet Sneaks x

1 Response



March 09, 2021

Wrong! You’re right about the religious festival (Mothering Sunday) re visiting the Mother Church pre-Reformation, but prior to that, ‘going a-mothering’ was an earlier tradition on the same day when Simnel cake & wild flower posies were given to mothers. Origins could be pagan…. respect for mothers and rites of Spring and birth. Simnel cake originally had a marzipan plait round the top (not balls), and flowers, though designs varied. The cake was plagerised by either the Church (cos it had pagan origins?) or the Americans into an Easter cake with the balls representing the Apostles. Mothers’ Day is an American celebration on the 2nd Sunday in May.
see ‘British Folk Customs’ by Christina Hole or other publications on the subject.
I get so annoyed by the American interpretations of our English customs!!!

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