Simnel cake is now available in our shops for Easter. There are lots of different theories about the origin of the Simnel cake.
Some people say it was traditionally baked for mothering Sunday during the easter period. In the 17th century, mothering Sunday was the day that sons and daughters got the day off to visit their mothers and the daughters would bake simple as a gift. Others say it was a post-Lent treat as it contained all the things you weren't allowed to eat during Lent.
Another story is that one Easter, 'Simon' and 'Nelly' had a piece of left over dough and argued about what to do with it. Simon wanted to boil it while Nelly wanted to bake it so they did both, resulting in 'Simon and Nelly's cake' or Sim-Nel.
In reality, Simnel probably refers to the Latin word 'simila' meaning fine, wheaten flour. The cake is often decorated with eleven marzipan balls to represent the disciples (minus Judas).