Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fortune Telling Cake Set, 1957

Fortune telling cake set, 1957
(as always, you can click on the image to go to my Flickr page. "All sizes" over the image will allow you to zoom and read the details)

These are charms that were baked into a cake, then the recipient would discover his or her prediction of luck for the coming year.

This idea of finding fortune in a slice of cake is still a feature in many traditions around the world.
During Mardi Gras, for example, The King's Cake includes a bean (representing the baby Jesus). Whoever is fortunate enough to receive the slice with the bean (or coin, or plastic Jesus, etc) is said to have good luck for the rest of the year.

The Victorians added ribbons to the ends of the charms.
The ribbons extended outside the cake slices, and the charms were pulled out (they are called cake pulls).
You can buy modern examples of these charms, usually for wedding cakes.

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Blogger Very Mary said...

What happens when you bite into one and choke?

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in England there is a tradition of having silver fortune charms in your Christmas Pudding. "Past Times" sells them at christmas. I think there was a Poirot episode which involved them and a missing ruby too.

3:30 AM  
Blogger The Calico Cat said...

Do you own those?

I have seen them used in a baby shower cake... (with the ribbons)

5:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cute. i have heard to wrap them tightly in a piece of alum. foil and forewarn guests eating the cake to be careful.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Jane said...

I think this would make such a fun New Years party. I would want to use ribbons!

8:30 PM  
Blogger kt said...

My mother-in-law (she who makes The World's Best Buttercream Frosting) always assembles layer cakes with toothpicks holding the layers together and we always figure that the lucky ones at the party get the tootpick in their slice of cake!

No one has had an impaled palate yet, but we do have a couple of natal-day celebrations coming pthis month, so I'll let you know if that statistic changes....

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew about the English custom and always thought it sounding charming.

The wonderful vintage set in your post, however, looks as though it's made from the kind of base metal that contains lead. Don't be tempted to use it -- besides, it's more valuable if you keep it as is!

8:01 PM  
Blogger Gina E. said...

How cute! I never heard of those being put in a cake, and as Jane said above, what a great idea for a New Year's Eve cake! We have coins in our Christmas puddings here. Before decimal currency in 1964, it was threepences and sixpences. After 1964, we'd find 5c and 10c pieces. They aren't worth much to kids now, so you're more likely to bite on a $1 or $2 coin! My FIL had fun with the family one Xmas Day. He secretly scrunched up a $50 bill and made out that he'd just chomped on it while eating his pudding. The kids eyes were like saucers!

6:48 AM  

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