In this work, Raphaelle Peale depicted a dessert that might have been served in a wealthy home like that of Robert Gilmour, the prominent Baltimore art collector who purchased this painting from Peale in 1819. The rich food and drink, particularly the iced "Queen's cake" in the center, represent material abundance, but the limited quantity of sweets and single glass of wine suggest the virtues of moderation.
Raphaelle Peale was the eldest son of artist and statesman Charles Willson Peale, and he followed his father into a career in art. While the elder Peale concentrated on portraiture, Raphaelle became one of the first Americans to specialize in still lifes. His austere compositions and meticulous attention to detail encourage the viewer to linger on the beauty and structure of each object.