Many years ago while reading a book about appreciating life’s simplicities I read a small passage about something called a “Fate Cake.” I tucked it in the back of my mind as an idea to remember. Fifteen years later I finally got around to making a Fate Cake, with my own little twist, of course. First, instead of calling it a Fate Cake I changed it to a Fortune Cake. To me, fate is something powerful and mysterious; definitely not something to associate with cake.
The story behind the Fortune Cake is similar to that of the King Cake on Mardi Gras. Traditionally, for a “Fate/Fortune Cake” you are supposed to bake little charms into your cake which could either be tied to a string and pulled out of the cake or could be baked into the cake and the charm would be found while the person was eating their slice.
Whichever charm you found would reveal your fate or fortune for the year.
Not everyone has a set of fate cake charms on hand so I came up with a little way to make it easier. This is something you could even do with your kids. I made paper charms out of parchment paper to mimic the fate charms and used the parchment paper charms instead of the traditional charms. Parchment paper is easy to work with and can withstand the heat of an oven. For my set of charms, I cut out a:
- Bell – which would symbolize a wedding or a successful marriage, if you are already married
- Wheel – to symbolize a year full of travels
- Horseshoe – to symbolize a year of good luck
- Wishbone – to symbolize one wish
- Key – to symbolize unlocking the hearts of many
- Star – to symbolize a bright future
- Pot of Gold – to symbolize fortune
I folded my charms and placed them into the cake batter once the batter was poured into the pan. You can use any kind of cake recipe (or boxed cake mix) you like for the Fortune Cake. Because I enjoy all things seasonally inspired, I chose a Spice Cake recipe.
I then pushed the paper charms down into the batter so the cake would bake over the charms and hide them. After the cake was baked and had time to cool, I iced and decorated my cake.
When you are ready to reveal the fortunes, you cut slices of the cake and serve. Since the paper charms are baked into the cake, they do not reveal themselves until the cake is served. You may want to warn your family or guests of the charms (paper or otherwise) baked into the cake so they know to keep an eye out for them. Not every piece will have a fortune, only the lucky ones. My piece had the pot of gold paper charm. My husband’s piece had the key and the boys’ pieces had no charms.
Halloween is the perfect time to start a Fortune Cake tradition. This is the time of the year where witches and spirits are enjoyed and fortune-telling fits right in. You don’t have to believe in fortune-telling to start this tradition. It’s all about the fun. I hope you enjoy the Fortune Cake and use it as one of your traditions. xoxo
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