“When I’m in a competition, I go to a lot of bother. If I thought the first one wasn’t right, I’d make another one,” says the prize-winning baker who has won the simnel cake competition three times now.
Just over two years ago, she won the ‘Take Pride Picnic’ competition and within the last 10 years she won the all-Ireland brown bread competition.
Up against 23 other competitors in Wexford, the judges declared Mella’s eight inch simnel cake to have great texture and taste and to be very well presented.
A simnel cake is an Easter cake, a fruit cake with almond paste in the centre, almond icing on top and it’s decorated with 11 balls, also of almond paste.
These represent the apostles — 11 because Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is omitted. It’s baked for about two and a half hours.
“It’s not a very popular competition because it’s a very expensive cake to make. I’ve been making them for 25 years and my mother, Ellen Kelly, used to make a simnel cake years ago.
"If you like a fruit cake and you like almonds, it’s a lovely cake to eat. It’s lovely and moist because of the almonds in the centre. I put it under the grill to toast the top,” says Mella.