The party cake is the best part of a celebration and is the thing that is remembered long after all the drinks have been consumed. Some recipes have never been published and are handed down from generation to generation. Cakes can become specialties of certain chefs and are little known outside of the immediate family. I attended a function where Simnel cake was on the menu and it was the most divine cake I have ever tasted.
The chef sculpted the marzipan into artistic designs and married the effect to the inside of the cake where there was soft liquid marzipan. The outer surface had crystallized and was slightly hard, but only on the surface, to allow for mounting on the cake stand. The entire cake looked so beautiful and delicate that it seemed a shame to cut into it. But the taste of the cake matched the exterior appearance for exquisiteness and I can safely say I have never tasted anything quite as good as it.
I never did find out who made that wonderful cake, nor have I come across the recipe. Chefs who make cakes to this high standard are to be treasured. No mater how many cake cooking guide books I buy I have not been able to make a Simnel cake anywhere near as good as this one. I have learned how to cook cakes since then and I can make a mean Black Forest Gateau. This, by the way, is not my own opinion but from reviews of others who have tasted my culinary attempts. I especially like to bake a Black Cake (Plum Pudding) at Xmas time as well as the traditional Christmas Cake. I do try from time to time to make an Easter Simnel cake but I don’t believe I will ever attain the heights of excellence of that first cake I tasted.