Has that photo got your attention?? Good 🙂
It is now, officially, spring. The days are longer than the nights, and I took my hat off only ten minutes into my morning run today (that’s quite high praise for the British weather in late March 🙂 ). Lambs are being born, thoughts are turning to Easter eggs, and we have a long weekend to look forward to.
So, who is planning some baking?!
This time of year has been a symbolic one for new growth and rebirth for centuries. Easter itself, of course, is a key point on the Christian calendar, and commemorates a miraculous rebirth. Jews too, celebrate the renewal of their freedom with the flight from Egypt at Passover. But this is all overlain over a much older tradition of joy at the lengthening days, the birth of new animals, and the start of the growing season. Plus – pertinently for anyone interested in how baking fits into all this – it is the season when hens start to lay eggs again, their pituitary glands stimulated into production by the increased sunlight.
This is one reason why eggs are traditional at Easter. They are also round, a shape which can symbolise the cycle of life, and they hold the promise of new life inside them. Unless, of course, they are destined for a spring-time bake 🙂 So let’s get baking!
The most traditional Easter cake is of course the Simnel cake (above): a fruit cake which is distinguished from its Christmas cousin by the layer of marzipan through the middle, and the marzipan balls on the top, which symbolise Jesus’ apostles (minus the traitor Judas). The Victorians favoured crystallised flowers too, which could be another nod to the change in the season.
Non-traditional types may prefer other inspiration and I’ve put together some which tickled me, from the chocolate-cornflake nests beloved by young children (Munchkin and I made some of those last week), to burrowing rabbits, hidden bulbs, and a whole host of cute bunnies, lambs and chicks. A less garish option might be the pastel-tinted beauties which seem to come up more frequently on American sites, and you could do worse for a showstopper than a gravity defying egg releasing a shower of chocolate.
Whatever you choose, happy baking, and happy springtime!