Monday, 21 May 2012

Amulet Cake Day

The Pitt Rivers Museum is a great place to work for lots of reasons. But one of them has to be the importance of cake to Museum life. Staff regularly make and bake goodies, or bring back traditional confections from their trips abroad, for us all to enjoy at break times. Every so often we run themed cake day 'contests' and this time around, we decided it would be apt to base it on amulets.

So, those wishing to take part had to make a cake or dessert that was inspired by the Museum's amulet and charm collections. The cakes were then laid out anonymously in the staff tea room, each with a piece of paper beside it. Staff were then asked to sample each cake and vote for their favourite - judged on both looks and taste - by placing a tally on the relevant piece of paper.

Pitt Rivers staff sampling and voting for cake

We had some brilliantly conceived and executed ideas, including a sponge Evil Eye rendered in blueberries, a rich chocolate Yin and Yang, a pink-frosted German lucky pig giant cookie, and a St. George lucky medallion recreated in ginger cake. Here are some of the other entries and the objects which inspired them....

A delicious creation from Alice and Rosanna, inspired by one of the
many reliquaries in the de Mortillet collection (PRM: 1985.52.109)

A citrus and white chocolate sponge (mine) based on an amulet from the Lovett collection
(also acquired from Wellcome): a tiny circle of paper on which is written the Lord's
Prayer (PRM 1985.51.781) [see here for more amulets from the Lovett collection].
Also a lime-flavoured tart from Marina, based on this lucky four leaf clover captured
in a green glass heart from Paris (PRM: 1985.52.1557)

Each cake received votes and it was a close-run thing as each one was yummy. Much to my surprise, my sponge cake - inspired by a piece of paper bearing the Lord's Prayer - won. I'll definitely use that recipe again, but next time I want to decorate it I'll buy a much smaller icing pen - I could only fit the first two lines on! 

Thanks to all the staff who took part - both the cooks and the tasters. I wonder what the next cake day theme will be?


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