E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Rich cakes eaten in Lancashire in Mid-Lent. Simnel is the German semmel, a manchet or roll; Danish and Norwegian simle; Swedish, simla. In Somersetshire a teacake is called a simlin. A simnel cake is a caks manchet, or rich semmel. The eating of these cakes in Mid-Lent is in commemoration of the banquet given by Joseph to his brethren, which forms the first lesson of Mid-Lent Sunday, and the feeding of five thousand, which forms the gospel of the day. (See MID-LENT.)