Thursday, 9 April 2015

Betty's Bury Simnel Cake

ON Easter Monday I was in Bettys in Harrogate chewing on a fruit merange and drinking China Rose Petal tea when I couldn't help but notice a Bury Simnel Cake on the menue. I'd never come across this tea-time treat before even though I live next door to Bury, and had read Chris Draper's 'Six O' the Best Tea Time Treats' in an earlier issue of Northern Voices years ago. The woman on the counter at Bettys in Harrogate told me that she'd ofter been asked about the authenticity of the Bury Simnel cake but had never looked into the matter. Below is what an excursion into Google produce for Northern Voices: Bury Simnel CakeCakesLancashire

A Springtime Celebration Cake. A rich fruit cake with nuts, cherries and peel (
White 1932), covered with icing (often with marzipan) and decorated, often with Springtime fancies and always with 11 sugar or paste balls, possibly representing the 11 Good Apostles.

Although there are several forms of Simnel Cake, it is the rich, highly decorated, Bury form which has become known nationwide. This is possibly because of a series of promotions for the town carried out in the early 19th Century, which included the presentation of a 70lb Bury Simnel to Queen Victoria in 1863 and the monster 170lb Bury Simnel displayed at the 'National Free-Trade Bazaar' held at the Covent Garden Theatre in London in 1845.

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