Medieval Cakes

Medieval Cakes

( click any photo to enlarge it )


The center part (minus the turnable page) for my 65th birthday cake. Borders copy one from a medieval page along with my arms and the SCA symbol for the Order of the Rose. The arms and rose are on rice paper and painted with paste food colors. Left hand text is a "bastard" mixture of Latin, English and Spanish. Right hand page is a copy of text from a 16th century book of manners. Writing is done with a number 1 tip.


My 65th birthday cake with the turnable page (right hand side) and the bookmark in place. Turnable page is made from rice (wafer) paper. The painting is done with paste food coloring (diluted). Writing is from a number 1 tip. Page is done on rice (wafer) paper and painted with paste food colors. It is "punched up" with black icing outlines done with a number 1 tip. Borders are done with a number 2 and 3 tip. Turnable page is tacked down with a few dabs of icing in the crease of the book and covered with a bookmark.


A "bottom end" view which shows how the turnable page lies on top of the icing writing on the cake below. I used a fork to carve in the jagged edges of the "pages" all around the cake.


Made for a feast for the Barony of the Cleftlands with the names of all the feasters arranged in order of precedence. Borders and designs were taken from various period manuscripts. Each person received his or her square. Cake is a full sheet cake made in two half-sheet cake pans. Most decorations were done with a number 2 or 3 tip.


The two center panels were painted on rice (wafer) paper using paste food colors and covered with gel. Additional outlines on the wafer paper are colored icing and a number 1 tip. The designs were copied from a Celtic coloring book. The four corner squares are on rice paper and feature interlaced patterns. The cake was one of two made for a local Renaissance fair's feast for paying patrons. This was the second one done and fatigue led to the misspelling of "Renaissance". It was too late to remove it. Fortunately, none of the patrons could spell the word either!


The cake is topped with a sugar paste helm, sugar paste coats of arms, and a sugar paste motto. The helm was formed over a yogurt container with the fabric (behind the helm and not very visible) draped separately and attached after the basic helm had been dried and painted. The join was covered by a rope of sugar paste which was then painted. Two ropes appear on the top of the helm. The suga paste shields were slightly curved and painted with food paste colors. There are eight "quadrifoils" on the corners of the top layer of the cake which are made of sugar paste. The gold on these is edible, but the gold and silver on the helm is not. White "swoops" and shells form decorations for the borders with blue dots from a number 3 tip.


There was not supposed to be a groom's cake. Fortunately, there were lots of sugar paste stars left over from the wedding cake preparation, as well as extra sugar paste "quadrifoils". The borders are shells from a large tip with a number 3 blue dot.


A full sheet cake made to look like a book. The leafy borders are taken from medieval books. The two pictures on the right hand page and the shield on the left are painted on rice (wafer) paper with food paste colors. Variously colored icing outlines the pictures to give it a three-dimensional effect. Additional icing helps attach the edges of the rice paper to the cake. The calendar in the middle of the pages mimics the Books of Hours calendars and includes dates and events of importance in the first ten years of the Barony of the Cleftlands. A ribbon bookmark runs between the two sides of the cake. Writing is from a number 1 or 2 tip as are the leafy borders.


Two photos have been joined together to show both sides of the full sheet cake which was an early attempt to make a cake which looked like a medieval book. I am unsure about how the dragon was made but it is probably by the "run sugar" method (royal icing) and is laid on an icing background. The flowers are from a drop-flower tube. On the right hand page, both pictures are done on rice (wafer) paper with an overpiping of icing on the outlines to give a three-dimensional effect. The icing borders around the rice paper help hold the picture on the cake. The names of the SCA groups participating in the event are on the right hand page and are from a number 2 tip.


The cake is made to look like a medieval book. Rather than icing, the covering is marzipan which has been scored on the side by a fork to make the edges of pages. The right hand side has a "turnable page" of wafer paper. The design is painted on with paste food colors and the outlines are overpiped with icing to give a three-dimensional effect. The rice paper page is held down with dabs of icing and the join is covered by the red ribbon bookmark. The writing is from a number 2 tip and lists the kings and queens of the Middle Kingdom for the years up to the time of this anniversary. The lineage continues under the turnable page. The bottom border of the book is a rope of chocolate brown marzipan to imitate the leather binding of a book.


A full sheet cake for the wedding of King Tadashi and Queen Ariake. The wrinkly texture is because the cake had to be made the week before being served. The icing wrinkled but the cake was still moist. The pictures are painted with paste food colors on rice paper and overpiped with icing to give a three-dimensional effect. Each has a detailed border to hold the rice paper onto the cake. The designs are taken from medieval drawings and modified to fit the wedding couple. The poem is in Middle English, written in a period hand with a number 1 or 2 tip. The border is formed from vines and leaves with quadrifoils of rice paper and different symbols on each such faithfulness, devotion, and so on. At the base of the cake are curved sugar paste shields painted with different symbols. The whole cake is set on a heavy wooden board covered with patterned red fabric. This is bordered with gold and white trim which was glued to the fabric.


A full sheet cake designed to look like a medieval book. Leaves and vines are from a number 2 tip. Black writing is from a number 2 (or 1?) tip with the red letters from the next size up. Text is from a 15th century book of courtesy on advice to wives and is done in a "black letter" hand. The sides of the cake were scored by a fork to imitate the rough cut edges of a parchment book. Cake is set on a wooden board covered with dark blue fabric. See the second photo for what the cake looks like with the addition of a turnable page.


See the other picture for a more detailed description. The turnable page made of rice (wafer) paper has been added to the right side of the "book" and affixed with dabs of icing. The red and gold bookmark hides the join. The portrait of the wedding couple was painted with paste food colors and outlined with black icing from a number 1 tip to give a three-dimensional effect. The rest of the page is all piped icing from number 1 and 2 tips.


A full sheet cake, this was the second medieval-style cake I tried. The left has a royal icing plaque in the center, held down with icing stars. The right has two rice paper illustrations painted with food paste colors and overpiped in black icing with a #1 tip. The writing is from a #1 tip also.


Made in a book pan, the pound cake is covered with marzipan with a chocolate-colored marzipan roll for the edge of the book. The right hand side is a turnable page of rice paper. The design was painted on the rice paper with food paste colors and the outline was overpiped with icing. The left-hand side, and the side under the wafer paper, are decorated with icing from a #1 and #2 tip.


The design is from the invitation card. The blue center is of royal icing.


The design is from the note card and was traced onto rice paper, then painted with food paste colors. Writing is from a #1 or 2 tip.


Missing from the top is another gold symbol, the Japanese "mon" of the recipient. It and the stylized gold crown were piped from icing. On the top is a flat marzipan dragon. Around the sides are three-dimensional marzipan dragons which can be seen in the Confections section.


Made at a demonstration class. The design is painted with food paste colors on rice paper and is overpiped with black icing. Most of the vines and writing are from a #2 tip.


The back view of a cake elsewhere in this section. The helm and mantling are of sugar paste as are the shields (partly visible) and the quadrifoils. The mantling flows from under the gold head roll on the helm and is edged with gold.


A book cake set on a half-sheet cake. The turnable page on the right is made from rice paper and painted with food paste colors. Icing has overpiped some parts to make it three-dimensional. The bride did the original drawing.


Here is the cake without the turnable page. The writing is from a #1 tube and is a sonnet by William Shakespeare. The whole cake is set on a purple silk-covered board of plywood with complimentary trim glued around the edges.


A full sheet cake made for a coronation in the SCA. The center part contains the duties of a king and queen. Around the side are rice paper roundels of various symbols of a good king. The wide border contains the names of many of the feasters at the event.


A large book cake which originally had a turnable page (photo is lost). Icing is piped from a #2 tip with initial letters from a #3.


The four pictures, representing four stages of a woman, are painted with food paste colors over a gel base on rice paper. The shield in the center is also on rice paper. This was for my 55th (LV) birthday which was on television that year. We dressed in medieval clothing, had a mini-tournament and one guest played the hammered dulcimer. Names of my guests are around the side.


Side view of the birthday cake with icing fleurs-de-lys.


Made for the 14th wedding anniversary of some friends. She wanted a blackwork design. The side borders are blackwork designs from the Elizabethan period. The owl is a modern blackwork design and is her favorite animal.


A half sheet cake. The center figure is a sugar paste bas relief of a 13th century sculpture of a knight. The knight is built up in layers to be more three-dimensional. The armor is painted on with black food paste. Names of the speakers at the meeting form three of the side borders.


The full sheet cake took over 15 hours to decorate. The roundels are the arms of the baronies in the Middle Kingdom and the center contains the names of all the groups in the Middle Kingdom The vines are from a #2 tip and the leaves from a #1.


The book-shaped cake is covered with icing with a roll of thickened chocolate-colored icing to form the base and bottom. It was designed to look like a Book of Hours. All the icing is piped on with various sized tips.


Another book cake with a turnable page on the right-hand side. The sides of the cake are scored with a fork to make it look like parchment pages. Writing is from a #2 tip and covers the turnable page as well as both sides of the main cake.


Made at a class at a cooking collegium with some assistance from the attendees. The right hand side is a turnable page made of rice paper. The design is traced from a period illustration and is painted onto the rice paper with food paste colors. Some of the outlines are overpiped with icing from a #1 tip. The cake is covered with marzipan. Most of the writing is from a #2 tip.


A side view of the cake. The fork-scored sides are easier to see here and you can see how the page lifts up. The turnable page is attached with dabs of icing in the center of the book with the bookmark placed to hide the join.