There was a time when I ‘religiously’ made a Simnel cake every Easter. I absolutely adore that layer of gooey marzipan which runs through the middle,.
It’s an interesting tradition, what I didn’t know was that the Shrewsbury version became the most popular version, as I hail from Shropshire, maybe that’s why the tradition was so strong in my family.
As a child I was the one who would decorate the top of the cake but I’m not sure I knew the significance of that decoration until I was much older:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Simnel cake is a light fruit cake, similar to a Christmas cake, covered in marzipan, then toasted, and eaten during the Easter period in Great Britain, Ireland and some other countries. A layer of marzipan or almond paste is also baked into the middle of the cake. On the top of the cake, around the edge, are eleven marzipan balls to represent the true disciples of Jesus; Judas is omitted. In some variations Christ is also represented, by a ball placed at the centre.
Simnel cakes have been known since medieval times, and were originally a Mothering Sunday tradition, when young girls in service would make one to be taken home to their mothers on their day off. The word simnel probably derived from the Latin word simila, meaning fine, wheaten flour with which the cakes were made.
A popular legend attributes the invention of the Simnel cake to Lambert Simnel, but this is clearly false since the Simnel cake appears in English literature prior to Lambert’s escapades.
Different towns had their own recipes and shapes of the Simnel cake. Bury, Devizes and Shrewsbury produced large numbers to their own recipes, but it is the Shrewsbury version that became most popular and well known.”