The Sutton Hoo purse-lid cake

One of these days, I’d like to do a carved chocolate replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet. But for now, I’m starting small. So here’s the purse-lid from the same burial. Complete with imagined replica purse, because I wanted an actual cake instead of just a biscuit.


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As with all these cakes, this represents literally hours of my life. Ok, perhaps one hour. Maybe forty five minutes. It’s still far too long to be spent painting tiny lumps of fondant.  The base of mine is chocolate cake, coated in chocolate fondant, and the lid itself is gingerbread, decorated with hand-painted fondant and royal icing. The somewhat lazy coins are hand-painted fondant (by hand-painted I mainly mean that I sort of half-heartedly splashed them with some gold paint because by then my back, hand and eyes were hurting, and Lewis was on. Even I have my limits).

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One of my favourite parts of the purse-lid is the Master of the Animals motif. It turns up in so many places (Mesopotamia got there first, obviously) that it always feels like an old friend when you see it somewhere new. I’m sure that making a bastardised version from smudgy paint and fondant is the perfect way to honour it. Did you know, by the way, that the king found buried in the ship burial at Sutton Hoo was king of the ‘Wuffing Dynasty’? I know it means ‘the wolf people dynasty’, and yet it still sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss. According to the British Museum the vast hoard of riches is a ‘dramatic expression of the aspirations of Anglo Saxon royalty’. I wonder if their main aspiration was people overlooking their ridiculous name.

Next week – I miss Mesopotamia. There everyone had sensible names. Like Silli-Sin. And Suppiluliuma.

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