Catholic Recipe: Simnel Cake II
The mid-point of Lent was celebrated in England as Mothering Sunday. Girls who worked as maids were always given a holiday in which to return to their homes. Poor and unhandy was the daughter who dared to come home to mother without a Mothering or Simnel Cake under her arm.
Simnel Cake was an easy version of the Christmas plum cake which lost its plums in the ages of antiquity. It might not be a bad idea to present all our mothers with such a cake. I am sure they would enjoy them more than the tiresome carnations which always arrive as gifts on Mother's Day.
On November 9, the church celebrates the dedication of the Lateran Basilica, called “mother and head of all the churches of the city and the world.” Since this is the "mother church" this is also a day for simnel cake.
Cream shortening and sugar. Add dry ingredients to scalded milk. Beat until lukewarm. Then stir in shortening mixture. Dissolve yeast in warm milk, and add to dough. Knead well. More flour may be needed for satin-like smoothness. Pour into greased cake pans. Cover and let rise until double in bulk. Bake in tube pan in a moderate oven (375°) for 60 minutes. Frost with simple confectioners' sugar icing.Recipe Source: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310, 1949, 1999