Dance Manual--John Playford's The English Dancing Master

March, 2007

This cake based on John Playford's Dance Manual, 'The English Dancing Master', (specifically the first edition published in 1651), and a similar one based on Negri's 'Le Gratie d'Amore' were constructed for the dessert revel at the SCA event "Terpsichore at the Tower XIII". The books was open to the dances "Jenny Pluck Pears" and "Gathering Peascods". In the first edition of this book, depicted here, research suggests that the pages were bound with the dances head to head as shown. This was apparently changed in later editions of the book.

The cake was baked in a book shaped pan and iced in buttercream. The page edges on the sides were piped using tip 1D. The page designs were taken from the online facsimile of the book, resized to fit the cake, and then I had them made into custom edible images at my local cake supply shop. Edible images are made on paperlike frosting sheets with an inkjet type printer, using food color for ink.

The edible images were carefully measured and trimmed to fit the top of the cake, then attached to the top. The edges were deliberately crinkled, and the book was aged using cappuccino colored edible petal dust mixed with vanilla extract to hand paint the edges of the pages. The cover was dark green rolled fondant.

This cake and the Negri one were convincing enough that several people mistook them for real books, and tried to turn the pages.

A larger photo of the page describing the dance 'Gathering Peascods':.

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