Tag Archives: King Alfred’s Cakes

Anyone for cake?

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Friends of Saron volunteers spotted these curious fungal growths on an old ash stump in the graveyard.

They turn out to be the fruiting bodies of a fungus which is variously called the coal fungus, carbon balls, cramp balls or King Alfred’s Cakes (Daldinia concentrica).

King Alfred was a terrible cook. In fact (but really in legend) while hiding from the Danes, he’d left a whole batch of cakes in the oven. They were suitably burnt and naturally ruined. So we can only guess he went to the woods and scattered them everywhere on dead ash trees to try and cover up his mistake and pass them off as some kind of fungus. Or something!

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