Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Night of Solstice and the gift of Spice Cake


I woke near 3:00 am on Solstice having had the most wonderful dream. I stumbled upon a bakery no larger than a closet. Inside an old woman dressed in flaxen cloth in tones of all brown (earth or the rich spices of winter?) appeared with a spice cake on a tall cake stand. “You must take this” she repeated, it is spice and will bring luck. I wasn’t hesitant in the lease and felt so blessed to be given such a confection. Without hesitation I left the shop, I actually backed out with the cake on the high stand and did not turn around until I was on the street. I watched her smiling face and was filled with gratitude.
A gift…the first I have received on this entire journey!
I have been fixated on spice cake since that night and did a bit of research. It appears the custom of eating spice cake at Christmas is a rather common English tradition. Some cakes are filled with dried fruits and spices, while others are as simple as the addition of ale, ginger and cloves.
It is said that Yule cake should be made a day or so before the holiday and eaten on Christmas Eve. The cake should be baked round, about the size of a dinner plate, and should be three inches thick. Cheese and ale, or other spirits, usually accompany the cake. The rural housewife makes crosses on the cheese with a sharp knife, and, as is the case with plum pudding cakes, it is considered unlucky to cut either cake or cheese before Christmas Eve.
After searching for recipes I found one that was supposedly Colonial in nature. This spice cake or Ginger cake came to Virginia from England at the time George III was struggling to hold on to the colonies. How perfect, given I live not too far from Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia and my grandfather arrived in this country from Bolton England. (A gift from the ancestors?)
Sweet dreams to you all, my cake shall be served Christmas Eve, as is the tradition. My deepest thanks to the Lady in brown for beckoning me. Deep Peace everyone.


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