Frater Orpheus recently posted some thoughts on creating Cakes of Light on FB. Look YUMMY!
LEAVINGS OF RED WINE ANYONE?
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
Those familiar with Thelemic Magick have undoubtedly heard of Cakes of Light. Chances are that many reading this will have made a batch or two at one time or another if not on an ongoing basis. For those that might not know, Cakes of Light are the “bread” used in the daily Eucharist such as Mass of the Phoenix, Liber XV – The Gnostic Mass, and other Thelemic Rituals.
Exactly how these cakes are made and what they are comprised of remains a point of contention. Its ingredients are based upon two lines from chapter three of Liber AL:
23. For perfume mix meal & honey & thick leavings of red wine: then oil of Abramelin and olive oil, and afterward soften & smooth down with rich fresh blood.
24. The best blood is of the moon, monthly: then the fresh blood of a child, or dropping from the host of heaven: then of enemies; then of the priest or of the worshippers: last of some beast, no matter what.
The blood of the moon, monthly—being the most mysteries of the ingredients—has of course spurred the most controversy and the wildest interpretations. Thankfully, this is not what I will be discussing today as to explain why the phases of the moon should be favorable to Lovers and Hunters is a lecture unto itself and a bit off topic. Suffice to say there is a bit more to this ingredient then simply catamenia, but that is another conversation.
Today, my aim is simply to make it convenient, (for those interested), to obtain proper leavings of red wine, which is the second most misunderstood ingredient in the Cakes of Life.
According to Liber AL, leavings are one of the five primary ingredients in Cakes of Light, which some associate with the five primary elements. According to Sabazius, “During the Mass, the Host, the First Matter of Five Elements, is broken up, and a Particle of it is dissolved within the Wine, the Mercury of Three Principles. The Mystic Union of the First Matter and our Mercury gives rise to the Stone of the Philosophers; the joining of the Five with the Three begets the Eight, the number of BAPHOMET and CHRISTOS.”
So just what the hell are “leavings of red wine”?
Once grapes are pressed and left for a time as a maceration, the juice is poured into a special fermentation tote with yeast to properly ferment into wine. Leavings are what is left in the fermentation tote when the wine is poured into casks for the aging process. It is a byproduct composed of partially live yeast and potassium bitartrate or tartaric acid. Often the yeast is separated, and the tartaric acid is cleaned and refined into a powder commonly called Cream of Tartar. Cream of Tartar or Beeswing as it was commonly known in Crowley’s time has been used as an ingredient in baking for centuries. Crowley mentions that Beeswing is a good option for the Leavings probably because it was easy to get a hold of and still is today, found in most spice sections of a grocery store. However, one cannot really describe the powered tartar as thick.
So, what are THICK leavings? I suggest that they are the original form of the leavings before they are refined into cream of tartar. At this stage it will contain both yeast and tartar salts and has the thick consistency of a foamy paste. (See Image 3)
Trial and error has proven that this raw and unrefined form of the Leavings is the best material for making Cakes of Light because the remaining yeast and tartar salts act as a leavening agent in the dough allowing it to lightly rise and give it air and a lightness of texture. This has the added benefit of preventing the sugars in the honey from crystallizing and creating rocks of light because the yeast is still live and it will feed on some of those sugars which is an effect that processed Cream of Tartar does not have, though refined tartar will make dough rise through a slightly different process –too complex to get into here– I believe that the intent of Liber AL is to use this THICK raw form with the yeast which helps the dough rise more and makes for a more bread-like Cake.
Well it is nearing harvest season and soon fresh leavings will be available. My goal is to purchase this in bulk and distribute it to the larger Thelemic community. Luckily, leavings can be frozen, and a small quantity can easily last throughout the year. My hope is to repeat this process yearly, thereby making proper leavings available to all interested parties. However, I do not have the freezer space to store large quantities and can therefore only offer this product once a year.
This is a live culture product that will go flat after a year in the fridge or freezer. So I want to make sure there is the right amount to last a year for all your Cake-making needs. Based on an average recipe (see below), 8oz for $10 should be more than enough to last the year. Each order will come sealed in a reusable container that is safe for freezing and includes a recommended recipe. In the end, using fresh leavings should not alter your favorite recipes and/or methods for making Cakes.
I am starting a list of those interested so we are sure to get enough supply for those who want it. When we get a little closer to the harvest of the Leavings, I will post a link to an Etsy Store so that you can be sure to order yours and guarantee you will get it. Look for this mid-late August to early September.
So if you want on the pre-order list contact me!!!
Here is a recommended Cakes of Light Recipe
½ c Flour (Kamut is recommended). For Gluten Free: ¼ c Millet and ¼ c Sorghum
2 tbls olive oil (choose one you like for the flavor profile)
2 tbls honey (soft white honey is best, as it is less likely to crystallize though if you can get Kiawe honey from Hawai’i the flavor works really well with the Abramelin Oil and makes a nice connection to Acacia, of which Kiawe is a species.)
3-7drps Oil of Abramelin.
1-2 tsp of THICK Leavings (depends on your flour) or 3 tsp refined Beeswing
1 pinch of Blood Ash*
When making Cakes, I will sift the dry ingredients together.
(Beeswing-if you use it)
And separately mix the wet ingredients
Olive Oil – do this first and the honey won’t stick to your measuring spoon
Thick Leavings of Red Wine
Fold and mix the wet and dry together. If the dough is a little oily, sprinkle in more flour until it can hold shape.
Put the dough between two sheets of wax or parchment paper and roll out by hand or with a pin. Cut out your Cakes according to the size and thickness you would prefer. Thickness will increase slightly as they bake so roll them thinner than you want the final one to be. As for size, I use a film canister to cut them out, it makes for a good size. Cut out the Cakes and lay them out on a non-stick baking sheet or put down a sheet of parchment paper if you do not have non-stick. Re-roll the cut away parts until the dough is used up. Yield is about 30-40 Cakes.
Gas mark for 150-200 depending on your oven and set the baking sheet in the oven. DO NOT LEAVE IN FOR TOO LONG! This is maybe 8-10 minutes. It really depends on your oven and thickness of Cakes. Keep checking them and pull them out when they are just firm to the touch- like not sticky or wet to your finger; they will firm up more after you pull them out of the oven!! (I usually know to pull them as soon as I can smell them and then do a touch test.)
Pull them out and let cool on the baking sheet, they will set up more as they come to room temperature and the honey solidifies. Once cooled, gently remove them from the baking sheet and they are ready to be used for whatever ritual you need!
* To make Blood Ash, mix up the dough as above, take a fat pinch of the dough and add a few drops of the “blood.” roll that dough out very, very thin and put it in the broiler on high till it becomes ash. Warning about smoke detectors and ventilation.
Love is the law, love under will