Made with fresh yeast and two medium eggs, the spongy buttery dough has risen beautifully.
I’ve experimented a little with the filling. Apart from including a few chopped dried apricots with the usual sultanas and raisins, there’s crystallised ginger and the grated zest of a lemon.
A mixture of dark brown sugar, golden syrup, apricot jam, milk and butter has gone into the sticky pre-bake glaze.
The result is a slightly caramelised, slightly spicy, batch of pearl-sugar-sprinkled spirals of sweetness.
I am a happy baker.
The traditional egg and butter loaf.
Here I have sweetened with golden syrup and used saffron to give the crumb a beautiful colour and flavour.
Applied to the four-stranded plait is a double egg-yolk glaze, once pre-oven, and again during the bake.
Granary Flour. Round tin. Scissor-snipped. Great with the parsnip soup I made today. That says it all.
With a name that is thought to come from the latin word for fine flour, Simila, this cake was originally associated with Mothering Sunday, and is now a popular part of Easter celebrations, the eleven marzipan balls representing the faithful apostles.
Another theory as to the origin of the name comes from nineteenth century Wiltshire, where apparently a certain Simon and Nell argued over whether the cake should be boiled or baked.
Traditional recipes from around Britain can vary. In Devises, currants, lemon peel and saffron go into a star shaped cake. In Shrewsbury, it is a rich plum cake. Nuts, cherries and peel go into Bury’s version.
The recipe and method I have used here is basically borrowed from Nigella Lawson. I say basically because I have also included some organic brown flour with the plain, and I have added candied orange peel and angelica to the dried fruit instead of glace cherries. I have however followed the instruction to brush with egg-white and blow torch the marzipan.
With flour being so hard to come by at the moment, for every four parts of the powdery stuff, there’s three parts mashed potato in these.
For a savoury ‘cream tea’, serve with chilli jam and Greek yoghurt.
I love the texture and the sculpted appearance of this cake-tin-baked loaf.
Is it bread? Or is it some kind of ancient tribal artefact?
Like so many bakers, I love experimenting with shape, form and decoration.
A snake of dough baked in a square cake tin.