Samuel Issac’s Scripture Cake
Found 05/2005, Savers (North Loop and Burnet)
Scripture Cake is a simple and whimsical piece that doesn’t admit deeper analysis. Paint pen on linen in a light frame treatment, Scripture Cake is in the style of embroidery sampler, with much of the ornamentation of that medium, but the use of paint pen gives the piece a modern touch.
Serving up a bowl of Scripture Cake every year at the first Sunday in April has become something of a tradition in the Alternative Worship chapel, and by request we are putting our interpretation of the recipe here.
Please note, you will need a very, very large bowl.
Samuel Issac’s Scripture Cake
- 1 C water, milk, or butter
- 2 C frankincense or “sweet-smelling cane” (we assume cinnamon)
- 4 ostrich eggs, room temperature (substitute 88 large chicken eggs if ostrich is not available, though the flavor will not be as rich)
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp assorted spices (cinnamon or cardamom)
Judges 5:25: “He asked her water, and she gave him milk, and offered him butter in a dish fit for princes.”
Jeremiah 6:20: “To what purpose do you bring me frankincense from Saba, and the sweet smelling cane from a far country? Your holocausts are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.”
Job 39:13-14: “The ostriches’ wings flap joyfully with the…plumage of love. When she leaveth her eggs on the earth, thou perhaps wilt warm them in the dust.”
Genesis 19:26: “And his wife looking behind her, was turned into a statue of salt.”
Mark 16:1: “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus.”
1 Samuel 14:25: “And all the common people came into a forest, in which there was honey upon the ground.”
Genesis 24:20: “And pouring out the pitcher into the troughs, she ran back to the well to draw water; and having drawn, she gave to all the camels.”
1 Kings 4:22: “And the provision of Solomon, for each day, was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal;”
Numbers 17:8 “He returned on the following day, and found that the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi, was budded: and that the buds swelling it hid bloomed blossoms, which spreading the leaves, were formed into almonds.”
- 2 C pressed figs
- 2 C raisins
- 1 tsp baking powder
1 Samuel 30:10: “As also a piece of a cake of figs, and two bunches of raisins. And when he had eaten them, his spirit returned, and he was refreshed: for he had not eaten bread, nor drunk water, three days and three nights.”
Cooking instructions: Beat with a stick, as you would a teenage boy. (Proverbs 23:14)
Among the stranger elements of this recipe is the two cups of cinnamon, 15 cups of egg, and of course a lack of any sort of baking instructions, although the recipe is quite clear that it should be beaten. Traditional cakes in ancient Israel were patted together into loaves and baked on a flat stone, but owing to the gallon of liquid ingredients, a fundamentalist approach to cooking Scripture Cake usually just extinguishes the fire and leaves a few egg-covered almonds and figs behind. With a large enough skillet Scripture Cake can be made into a sort of cinnamon-flavored figgy omelet.
The April service celebrates the unknowable nature of god and the cheerful sense of humor of Spring, and eating the smallest possible serving of Scripture Cake is a good reminder of both.