MOTHER’S DAY: NOT QUITE AS SIMPLE AS IT LOOKS

Most of us mistakenly think that Mother’s Day is the same thing as Mothering Sunday. The latter is a religious festival where, traditionally, people went back to their ‘mother church’ (the one they were baptised in) to celebrate motherhood, whereas Mother's Day springs from a long Anna Jarvis Mothers Daycampaign waged from 1905 by Anna Jarvis in West Virginia, USA, to recognise the debt we all owe to our mothers. Slowly, this became formalised into what we know it as today, by which time, ironically, Anna Jarvis had washed her hands of the whole thing - appalled by the way it had been commercialised.

What makes it even more complicated is the fact that it is celebrated on 31 different days around the world, starting with Kosovo on February 7th, and ending in Indonesia on December 22nd. The largest number of countries (85 of them) go for the second Sunday in May, whilst in Britain we opt for 3 Sundays before Easter, which this year is March 6th.

Pink tulips for mother's day

The most important thing is not the gift that is given, but that we all actually remember it in the first place! Traditionally, we give cards, flowers, jewellery, or clothing or we take our mother out to a suitable place for lunch. Better still, we cook it ourselves, and we can provide countless suggestions as to what. Here at Dexam, we normally find any old excuse to bring cakes into the office, and Mother’s Day is no exception.

easter_simnel_cake_82449_16x9One year, we had a thing on German Friendship Cakes, which resulted in suspiciously bubbling bowls on just about every work surface in the office.  One of the traditional ones for Mother’s Day is the Simnel Cake (which itself has a long and interesting history that you can look up elsewhere, if you’re interested).

Here’s a simple recipe for you to try.  Post a photo of your effort on our Facebook page and we’ll send some great baking stuff to the one we like the most!

Ingredients

175 g (6 oz)                         Butter

175 g (6 oz)                         Soft brown sugar

3 medium                           Eggs

250 g (9 oz)                         Self Raising Flour

A pinch                                 Salt

1 x 2.5 ml spoon (½ tsp) Mixed spice

5 x 15 ml spoon (5 tbsp) Milk

2 x 5 ml spoon (2 tsp)     Golden syrup

450 g (1 lb)                          Currants

50 g (2 oz)                           Raisins

100 g (4 oz)                         Sultanas

25 g (1 oz)                           Glacé cherries, quartered

100 g (4 oz)                         Mixed peel, chopped

450 g (1 lb)                          Almond paste

Apricot jam

Beaten egg to glaze

Method :

1 Heat oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 20.5 cm (8 inch) round cake tin.
2 Beat fat and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, with a little flour, beating well after each addition.
3 Stir in salt and spice, add milk and syrup with a little more flour. Mix well.
4 Fold in remaining flour and fruit. Place half the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth level.
5 To make almond paste, see link above. Then, divide the almond paste in two. Roll out one into a 20.5 cm (8 inch) round on sugared greaseproof paper, remove from paper and place on top of the cake mixture. Cover the remaining cake mixture. Bake for about 1 hour then reduce the temperature to 140ºC, 275ºF, Gas Mark 1 and bake for 2½ hours.
6 Allow cake to cool, divide the remaining almond paste in two. Roll one half into a 20.5 cm (8 inch) round, brush cake with apricot jam and place almond paste on top (for instructions on how to apply almond paste, see Celebration Fruit Cake link above). Roll the remaining paste into eleven small balls.
7 Brush top of cake with beaten egg and place balls of paste round the edge close together, then brush again with egg.
8 Place under a hot grill to brown marzipan.