The Baddeley Cake
One of the original Directors of the Fund was Mr Robert Baddeley who died in 1794. In his Will he left a bequest to provide a Twelfth Night Cake and Punch to be enjoyed by the company in residence at Drury Lane every year on January 6th. The Fund took over the administration of this fascinating bequest in December 1821, when Baddeley's Executor transferred the £100 of 3% stock to the names of the Trustees of the Fund "for the purchase of a Twelfth Cake and Wine for ever."
The first Baddeley Cake was cut on Tuesday 6th January 1795, making the ceremony perhaps the oldest theatrical tradition still observed.
The Secretary of the Fund, Mr William Terriss, cuts the cake in 1883
The Master, Mr Harry Nicholls, cuts the cake for the pantomime "Babes in the Wood", 1908
The Master, Mr Frank Collins, addresses the cast of Oklahoma in 1948
In the 18th century, Twelfth Night was a festival which was much celebrated as the end of the Christmas season. There have only been thirteen known occasions when it has not been possible to carry out the bequest because of the Theatre being closed or the ingredients for the Cake not being available during war time rationing.
In the beginning, the Manager of the Theatre was responsible for the arrangements but since 1822, Drury Lane Theatrical Fund have organized the Ceremony every year. Really Useful Group Theatres, the current Management, very kindly provide the Punch which is dispensed from a beautiful silver bowl given to the Theatre by the original 'My Fair Lady' company
The Baddeley Cake 2018