Monday 5 December 2011

This Year's Twelfth Cake

Food History Jottings' Twelfth Cake for 2012

Every year I make a Twelfth Cake, which I ornament with gum paste motifs printed from original eighteenth and nineteenth century moulds. Some years ago I was fortunate enough to find a lovely boxwood confectioner's mould designed for making the components of a crown. This has enabled me to embellish my cakes with a couple of beautiful sugar crowns in the manner of the period. This year I have decorated my cake with motifs from the Regency - the Prince of Wales feathers, the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland and the shamrock of Ireland. The background icing is coloured with cochineal, which according to the evidence seems to have been fairly usual. Although it looks like something from Barbara Cartland's boudoir,  this colour sets off the pure white gum paste perfectly.

This particular cake is going to be raffled to support the appeal to purchase Rose Castle in Cumbria (see previous posting). It is displayed at Dalemain House near Penrith.

Every year I run a course called A Taste of Christmas Past, on which I teach my students how to make and decorate a Twelfth Cake using period techniques. We bake the yeast leavened cake in a wooden hoop or garth and everybody gets the chance to learn the difficult techniques of making gum paste sprigs. To find out more visit the Twelfth Cake page on my website.

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