This is a review of a Meg Rivers Simnel Cake : The Gift of Cake by Post. Discover more about this artisan baker, the history of Simnel cake and more details about how you can send their cakes as gifts.
With Mother’s Day almost here, I am sure that many of us are considering how to spoil and thank our Mums for being there for us. Gifts are a common way to thank our Mum’s and the shops are full of ideas at the moment, from flowers to candles, to photo frames to cuddly bears and hearts. However, have you ever considered sending your Mum a cake as a gift?
Meg Rivers artisan bakery is a company who thrive on making and delivering delicious cakes and bakes and have been doing so successfully for over 30 years now. Meg Rivers prides itself on using only the best available ingredients which are locally sourced where possible. They don’t add any artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives either. Plus all of their cakes are made in small batches and finished and decorated by hand, ready to be delivered by post to your door.
I was invited to sample a Meg Rivers cake and of course I jumped at the chance, being a fan of cake and I also thought it made a change to eat a cake not made by myself! I was sent a Simnel Cake, which, if you do not already know this, is a fruit cake, very similar to a traditional Christmas cake, which is delicately flavoured with cinnamon & nutmeg.
The Meg Rivers Simnel Cake was selected by Good Housekeeping Magazine as its Taste Test Winner in 2014, and it has also been awarded 2 Gold Stars at Great Taste Awards 2015 . This award winning cake is jam packed with vine fruits, and delicately flavoured with cinnamon and nutmeg and naturally, made with only the finest natural marzipan
Indeed it is the marzipan which is the star of the show.
As well as the toasted decoration, another layer of marzipan is baked in the centre of the cake. Using natural marzipan for this cake is your best option if possible, as the difference in taste from the brightly coloured, additive-crammed stuff is worth the extra trouble.
However, did you know that despite Simnel Cake being associated with Easter and a cake that is eaten at this time year, it is actually originally a cake made for Mother’s Day. I had no idea about this, so assuming that I might not be alone I am going to share the history of Simnel Cake with you.
So originally, servant girls would bake a small fruit cake for Mother’s Day which back then fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent. On this day, people used to visit the mother church of their parish. Therefore, this became a day when children who worked as servants, were given the day off to visit their families. Simnel cakes were taken as presents. However, over time this cake has become connected to Easter instead, and the decoration of marzipan balls are said to represent the Apostles.
If you fancy making this cake yourself, you can get the Meg Rivers recipe for their Simnel Cake here:
Meg Rivers Simnel Cake Recipe
Preparation time 45 minutes, Baking time 2 hours Makes 12 – 14 portions Ingredients 130g Salted butter, at room temperature 100g Dark muscovado sugar 3 Eggs 120g Plain flour 1 tsp Cinnamon ½ tsp Nutmeg 50g Ground almonds 80g Mixed peel 170g Sultanas 170g Currants 100g Glacé cherries, washed, drained and quartered 150g Natural marzipan Topping 200g Natural marzipan 2 tbs Apricot jam Chef’s blowtorch (Optional) Method Preheat oven to 130C Line an 15cm round cake tin with baking paper. Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg together then fold into the mix with the ground almonds. Add the mixed peel, sultanas, currants and glace cherries, stir well. Put half of the mixture in the tin and level surface. Roll out the 150g of marzipan to about 5mm thick and cut out a 125 cm disc. Place the disc of marzipan on top of the cake mix. Add the remaining mix, level and smooth top. Bake for 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin. When cool remove from tin and remove lining paper. With approximately 2/3 of the remaining marzipan make a second 15 cm disc of marzipan. Smear top of cake with boiled apricot jam and place marzipan disc on top, smoothing down firmly. Crimp edges between finger and thumb to create fluted effect. Roll out remaining marzipan to form a rope about 20 mm in diameter. Divide into 11 equal pieces and roll into balls. Place the balls of marzipan equally around the edge of the cake, fixing with a spot of boiled apricot jam. Lightly toast the top of the cake with a chef’s blow torch, or place under a hot grill about 10 cm from the heat. Watching carefully (it’s disappointing to set fire to the cake at this stage) , toast the surface of the cake for about 30 seconds, or until desired colour is obtained. Will keep 3 – 4 months stored in an airtight container.
Meg Rivers : The Gift of Cake
However, if you would prefer to order a Simnel Cake, or even a non fruit cake because Meg Rivers makes sponge cakes and shortbread biscuits too, then please do check out their website for more details. Maybe the gift of a cake every month would be a better gift for your Mum or someone special? Meg Rivers have a cake subscription where members of their cake club receive a different cake every month, and each one is baked using the finest ingredients at their artisan bakery in the Cotswolds. I think this is an amazing gift personally!
You can see my review of the Meg Rivers Simnel Cake here :
This is a collaborative review post with Meg Rivers.