Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Chiefly British A crisp bread made of fine wheat flour.
  • n. Chiefly British A rich fruitcake sometimes covered with almond paste and traditionally eaten at mid-Lent, Easter, and Christmas.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. simnel cake

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A kind of cake made of fine flour; a cracknel.
  • n. A kind of rich plum cake, eaten especially on Mid-Lent Sunday.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A cake made of fine flour; a kind of rich sweet cake offered as a gift at Christmas and Easter, and especially on Mothering (Simnel) Sunday.
  • n. A variety of squash having a round flattish head with a wavy or scalloped edge, and so resembling the cake so called: now called simlin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a fruitcake (sometimes covered with almond paste) eaten at mid-Lent or Easter or Christmas
  • n. a crisp bread of fine white flour

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French siminel, from Medieval Latin siminellus, ultimately from Latin simila, fine flour; see semolina.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • The pastry, also called simnel cake, was a rich fruit cake, remembered by Robert Herrick in the lines:

    Liz Smith: A Chapter From The Mother Book

  • Earlier, she and the audience got a good laugh when she asked to hear the word "simnel" in a sentence and was told: "The Wilsons had long ago lost their appetite for simnel, but luckily their poodle had much lower standards."

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  • Personally I like to stick with the old favourites but Heavenly has developed a reputation for wild and wonderful flavours such as bubble gum, pink grapefruit, Turkish delight, simnel cake an Easter special and peanut butter.

    Ten of the best UK ice-cream sellers

  • Holy Week...family arrangements for Easter with talk of travel arrangements and grandparents and simnel cake... jostling with the veiled statues in church and the Gospel bringing home the stark ghastliness of a Roman crucifixion and Christ's agony.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • A simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, that is covered in marzipan.

    Princess Party Cookbook

  • Spring bulb flowers (daffodils, for ex.) are given to mothers, and simnel cake is made to celebrate the occasion (this cake has also become an Easter Cake of late, however).

    Simnel Cake for Laetare Sunday

  • Last year I made very traditional simnel cupcakes so I decided on a change.

    Easter Cupcake Nests

  • They are eaten alongside hot cross buns, simnel cake and copious quantities of chocolate eggs as part of our Easter festivities.

    Archive 2006-04-01

  • Besides these dishes of domestic origin, there were various delicacies brought from foreign parts, and a quantity of rich pastry, as well as of the simnel-bread and wastle cakes, which were only used at the tables of the highest nobility.

    Ivanhoe

  • All these were duly packed away deep in the traveller's scrip, and above them old pippin-faced brother Athanasius had placed a parcel of simnel bread and rammel cheese, with a small flask of the famous blue-sealed Abbey wine.

    The White Company

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