Easter is a time for celebration and food is as pivotal to today’s Easter celebrations as those of centuries ago, according to David Astles, trade marketing manager of BakeMark UK (Merseyside).

He says that bakers are well placed to reap the rewards from offering luxury simnel cakes, hot cross buns and new takes on traditional favourites, such as mini-egg topped cookies and gingerbread bunnies.

Named after the fine flour from which it is made – simila – simnel cake has long been symbolic of Easter. Traditionally topped with 12 balls to represent Jesus and the 11 faithful apostles (Judas is omitted), simnel cake is a rich spiced fruit cake made to celebrate the end of fasting and the start of spring.

They can be made with Rich Celebration Cake Mix from the Craigmillar portfolio. The mix is described as easy to use, and produces a fruit cake with a rich texture and good crumb stability.

Buns baked on Good Friday are said to have magical powers that ensure they keep for a year. The Arkady range of dough conditioners, including Platinum and Gold rich bun pastes, do not quite boast that long a shelf-life, but do claim to facilitate handling and processing of hot cross buns.

Mr Astles adds that customising home-style cookies for Easter is also a good option for bakers.