The Bakers’ ABC: D is for Dumb Cake

According to tradition, a species of dreaming bread prepared by unmarried women. When baked it is cut into 2 divisions. A part is eaten and the remainder placed under the pillow. When the clock strikes twelve the votary must go to bed backwards and keep perfect silence. Should a word be uttered a charm is broken. Those who are to be married fancy they see visions of their future partners; those who are to live and die old maids see nothing.

From The Baker’s ABC by John Kirkland, formerly Head Teacher of National School of Baking, published 1927 by Gresham

4 responses to “The Bakers’ ABC: D is for Dumb Cake


  2. How do you not talk in your sleep (as people do from time to time)? And if you’re alone, who’s to know if you do?

  3. I’ve tried some of these old marriage-vision charms. I’m going to be an old maid.

  4. @salada: I don’t think the “don’t utter a word” is about sleep talking, but about any talking before falling asleep. It is my understanding that people slept in shared beds a lot more often at the time that these spells were first used — servants in a house would share beds with each other, siblings might share beds, or else children and their nannies might share a bed. I even remember reading about an event from the 1930s where a multi-generational house had the grandmother sleeping in a bed with her grandson. Anyway, under such conditions where one is sleeping in strange positions and placing cakes under the pillows, the odds of being questioned by your bedfellow would probably increase.