This is the cake I made for the "creative project" of my Shakespeare class in May 2001. Our professor wanted us to do something other than an essay paper, so this was my solution. This cake is supposed to represent an Italian Courtesan during Shakespeare's time in the late 1500's and early 1600's. A courtesan was a "woman of the court" who was hired by nobels to be their escorts or mistresses. Similarly to the Geisha in Japan, these women were supposed to entertain and be companions to those who hired them. However, unlike their counterparts and other women of their time, Courtesan ladies were educated in reading, writing, science, math, and government, as well as in manners and politeness. Knowing these things enabled them to be better entertainers in terms of being interesting and holding a respectable conversation. Additionally, this cake represents a cake for the festival of "12th Night", which is also the name of a play by William Shakespeare. 12th night is the 12th night after Jesus was born when he is visited by the 3 kings laden with gifts. During those times, the 12th night of Christmas is celebrated at court with a masquerade ball where a cake is served. Baked inside each slice are little charms that represent the different positions at court like the King, Queen or jester. The cake is cut and whoever gets a certain charm must play that role all night. So if the King get's the jester charm, then he must play the jester all night.
I made this courtesan out of spice cake to represent the expensiveness of spices during Shakespeare's time. Usually only people at court could afford such lavishness. However, instead of charms, I used glass beads inserted with a tiny peice of parchment paper upon which was written the name of the different positions at court. Glass beads were another expensive item of the time. Her dress is made of rolled fondant. Her shawl is just a gold ribbon and I used the neclace I received for my first communion as her rosary. I used a stamp with non-toxic powder paint to make the intricate designs on her dress.