Delicate Cake Recipe from 1877

Delicate cakes sound as if they are light and airy. I found this recipe in an 1877 cookbook and decided to try it.

Since the original recipe called for 6 eggs, I halved the ingredients.

Cream ¼ cup butter with 1 cup sugar. Whisk 3 egg whites until frothy and add to the mixture. Add the zest of one orange or lemon. (I used an orange.)

In a separate bowl, combine 1 ½ cups flour, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar, and ¼ teaspoon baking soda. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add ½ teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with 1/3 cup milk + 1 tablespoon.

Prepare a springform baking pan with cooking spray. Add batter and bake at 350 until done, about 25 to 30 minutes.

I drizzled a glaze (powdered sugar mixed with a little water) on each serving. This is a delicious cake with a delicate hint of orange. I plan to make it again.

This recipe is from Miss Mary E. Miller.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

 

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Hard Money Cake Recipe from 1877

I’d never heard of money cakes until finding this recipe in an 1877 cookbook. Photos of money cakes on the Internet show rolled up singles fashioned in the shape of a cake and given at weddings and graduations.

This cake is made of two batters—one represents gold, the other represents silver.

Since the original recipe called for 8 eggs, I calculated the portions for using 2 eggs. This smaller portion still made an 8 x 8 cake.

To make the sour milk required for this recipe, pour a cup of milk into a glass and stir in 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Set aside until needed.

Gold batter:

Cream ¼ cup butter with 1/2 cup sugar. Add yolk of 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon of lemon extract, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup flour and ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch powder. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add ½ teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with 1/4 cup sour milk. This makes thick batter. If you prefer, add more milk, teaspoon by teaspoon, until it is the desired consistency.

Set batter aside while making the silver portion.

Silver batter:

Cream ¼ cup butter with 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk 2 egg whites until frothy and add to the mixture. Add ½ teaspoon of almond extract or peach extract. (I used almond extract.)

In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup flour and ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch powder. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add ½ teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with 1/4 cup sour milk. This batter is white (not silver!) and thinner than the gold batter because of the frothy egg whites.

Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray. Spoon in the batter, alternating gold and silver.

Bake at 350 until done, about 25 to 30 minutes.

This cake needs no icing. If you choose, drizzle on a glaze (powdered sugar mixed with a little water.)

Yummy!

Hard money cakes are more of a coffee cake consistency. With one bite having an almond flavor and the next tasting of lemon, it is a delicious cake. The colors of the baked cake weren’t gold and silver, but food coloring in the batters can enhance this.

This can be a fun cake for celebrations of graduations or job promotions.

This recipe is from Miss Emma Fisher, 1877 cook.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

 

Feather Cake Recipe from 1877

I’d never heard of feather cakes until stumbling across this recipe in an 1877 cookbook. After I made it, a quick search on the Internet showed that this old-fashioned recipe can still be found—and it’s baked in a loaf pan. I baked it in a springform pan—whoops!

Oh, well. You will know before baking. 😊

Since I simply wanted to try the recipe, I halved the ingredients. Double the ingredients for a larger loaf.

Cream ¼ cup butter with 1 cup sugar. Add 2 eggs. Add the zest of 1 lemon.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add ½ teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with ½ cup milk.

As mentioned above, I baked this in springform pan but it is traditionally baked in a loaf pan.

Bake at 350 until done, about 25 to 30 minutes.

I served this cake with a glaze drizzle (powdered sugar mixed with a little water.) Yummy!

I expected a “feather cake” to have a lighter consistency. It was dense and sweet with a nice hint of lemon.

This recipe is from Mrs. E. I. C. of Springfield.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

 

Chocolate Cake Recipe from 1877

I was surprised to see “Baker’s chocolate” listed as an ingredient in an 1877 recipe. I researched and found that Dr. James Baker bought a chocolate company from Mrs. John Hannon. Her husband didn’t return from sailing to the West Indies and she sold it in 1780.

Dr. Baker changed the name to Baker Chocolate Company. How fun that the company still thrives today!

Since I simply wanted to try the recipe, I halved the ingredients. This gave 2 thin layers. Double the ingredients for normal proportions.

Grate 5 tablespoons of unsweetened Baker’s chocolate. (This is a little over an ounce—not enough for this chocolate lover. I’d suggest increasing this to 2 ounces.)

Cream ½ cup of butter with 1 ½ cups of brown sugar. Add 3 egg yolks.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, and the chocolate. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add a teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with ½ cup milk.

I made this into a thin 2-layer cake, but a single layer or an 8 x 8 pan will work fine.

Bake at 350 until done, about 25 to 30 minutes.

There were no suggestions for icing so I made a buttercream frosting.

This cake did not have a strong chocolate flavor. The amount of brown sugar made it a very sweet cake. I will at least double the chocolate next time. Instead of grating the chocolate, I will melt it with the butter and then mix in the sugar.

The look and texture of the cake more resembles a spice cake. It goes to show how tastes have changed over the years.

This recipe is from Mrs. Frank Woods Robinson of Kenton.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

“Baker’s Chocolate,” Wikipedia.com, 2018/03/25 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker%27s_Chocolate.

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

 

Agnes Hopper’s Apple Nut Cake

Today’s post is written by fellow author, Carol Heilman. She’s in the midst of a move and has taken time to share a recipe from her newly released novel. Thanks, Carol, and welcome to Historical Nibbles!

This recipe was taken from an apple cookbook I picked up at the First Baptist Church annual garage sale. I found the book in a box of shoes and handbags and such. Tattered and torn, I never would have given it a second thought, but it was resting on top of a red purse that had caught my eye. Well sir, I tucked the book underneath one arm while I purchased that purse, which was genuine leather and soft as a baby’s behind, and the saleslady said I could have the cookbook for free.

Apple nut cake became my Charlie’s favorite, and he especially liked it warm, along with a cup of strong, black coffee. I hope you enjoy it as much as he did.

2 C Sugar

1 C Vegetable oil

3 eggs, beaten

3 C Flour, plain

1 teaspoon Baking soda

½ teaspoon Salt

6 Medium apples, peeled & diced. Granny Smith works well or any tart, firm cooking apple.

1 Cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts and toast them in the oven first)

2 teaspoon natural Vanilla.

Hint: Homemade vanilla is the best. All you need is a couple of vanilla beans, vodka, and a jar with a tight lid. A mason jar will do, but you have to plan ahead. It takes about two months for the vanilla to reach its peak. And remember to shake the jar every few days.

TOPPING

1 C brown sugar

½ C (1 stick) Butter

¼ C milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil or spray 9×13 baking pan or dish.
  2. Mix sugar, oil, & eggs in large bowl. Beat well.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, salt. (I mixed the dry ingredients together first.) Add apples, nuts, & vanilla & beat with large wooden spoon until combined thoroughly.
  4. Scrape batter into pan. Bake 1 hour. (Mine took 55 minutes.)
  5. TO MAKE TOPPING: Boil together, brown sugar, butter & milk for 2½ minutes, right before you take cake from oven.
  6. When cake is done, immediately poke long tines of a fork down through cake & pour topping over cake. Serve warm or let cool.
  7. Freezes well

-Carol Heilman

Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar, Book One

Recently widowed, Agnes Hopper’s small farmhouse burns to the ground. She, along with her pet pig, Miss Margaret, moves in with her daughter. After six months they agree they cannot possibly live together. Agnes then moves into a local retirement home, Sweetbriar Manor, but she soon realizes the administrator runs a tight ship for sinister reasons. Can Agnes find another place to call home? Or will she stay to become the voice for her new friends?

Agnes Hopper Bets On Murder, Book Two

Feisty Agnes has a spending addiction that could leave her penniless and homeless.

When she visits the cemetery to talk with her husband, Charlie, she discovers the dead body of his best friend. The local sheriff declares the man died of natural causes, but Agnes promises Charlie, she will uncover the truth. She becomes a senior sleuth while she and her friends try to save Sweetbriar Manor from being sold and turned into a halfway house.

Can Agnes curtail her spending and stop the sale while looking for a murderer?

Or will the murderer stop her first?

Author Bio

Carol Heilman, a coal miner’s daughter, married her high school sweetheart, a farmer’s son. She began writing family stories for newspapers and magazines. One day her mother said, “We don’t have any secrets anymore!”

 

Carol’s book series, Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar and Agnes Hopper Bets on Murder, was inspired by her mother’s spunky spirit and her dad’s humor.

Buy her book at Amazon

1841 Seasonings for White Sauces, Fricassees, and Ragout

I found a Seasoning recipe for white sauces, ragouts, and fricassees in an 1841 cookbook.

Ragouts are highly-seasoned meat stews. White sauce, made from white roux and milk, is the base of other sauces. Fricassees are stewed meats or vegetables that are served in a white sauce.

Select a small mixing bowl.

1 tablespoon white pepper

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon mace

1 tablespoon dried lemon peel

Mix ingredients together.

Store in closed container until needed in white sauces, fricassees, and ragouts.

To try out the seasoning blend, I made baked macaroni and cheese using the Basic White Sauce Recipe from Taste of Home. I prepared the sauce as directed and then added cheese. I added about ¼ teaspoon of the seasoning mixture to the sauce and baked as usual.

The extra flavors changed the dish enough that it did not taste like macaroni and cheese to me, but wasn’t bad.

It’s also worth a try in stews, which often benefit from extra flavor.

I’d love to hear if you try this recipe in your cooking.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Gelzer, Lois. Taste of Home, 2018/01/21 https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/basic-white-sauce.

Hale, Sarah Josepha. Early American Cookery: “The Good Housekeeper” 1841, Dover Publications, Inc., 1996.

 

1841 Cider Vinegar Recipe

Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of an 1841 cookbook, wrote that vinegar was “perpetually wanted” by families yet was expensive to purchase. Frugal housekeepers prepared their own vinegar.

There were several varieties of vinegars used by early cooks including celery vinegar, horseradish vinegar, and cucumber vinegar.

They also used cider vinegar, as we do today. It is surprisingly easy to prepare.

Add a cup of white sugar into a half gallon of apple cider. Stir well.

This liquid needs to ferment for 4 months. I am storing mine in the original plastic container.

I will update this post at the end of that time. I’m uncertain whether buying refrigerated cider affects the fermentation process, but I’ll let you know if I have cider vinegar in 4 months.

Stay tuned!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Hale, Sarah Josepha. Early American Cookery: “The Good Housekeeper” 1841, Dover Publications, Inc., 1996.

 

1841 Mustard Recipe

Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of an 1841 cookbook, wrote that mustard is best when freshly made. I occasionally like mustard on my sandwiches so this seemed like a fun experiment.

As is so often the case with old recipes, no ingredient amounts were supplied.

Hale suggests using the best ground mustard. I used 2 tablespoons of ground mustard. A “little salt” became 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

Mix this together. Add 2 teaspoons of warm water and stir. You will probably need a little more water (I used 3 teaspoons) until it is spreadable consistency.

I tried this mustard on a ham sandwich. It has VERY STRONG taste, similar to horseradish mustard. I did not like it.

Hale included a recipe for Mild Mustard, where milk is substituted for the water. This made a creamier consistency, but the taste was even stronger.

Having grown accustomed to the popular mustard brands available today, this old recipe was too spicy for me. I don’t believe that greatly watering down the mustard would have improved the taste.

Did our ancestors use mustard more sparingly in their cooking than modern cooks? Or did strong spices improve the taste of poor quality meats?

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Hale, Sarah Josepha. Early American Cookery: “The Good Housekeeper” 1841, Dover Publications, Inc., 1996.

 

1841 Powder of Fine Herbs for Soups and Sauces

I found a Mixed Spices and Seasonings, used for soups and sauces, in an 1841 cookbook and decided to make it.

This recipe calls for summer savory, a new spice for me. It has a pungent, peppery flavor.

The 1841 cook used lemon-thyme, which smells and tastes like lemon. I was unable to find this seasoning so I substituted thyme for it.

I adjusted the amounts yet maintained the proportions in the 1841 recipe because it made too large a batch. For instance, the cook used 2 ounces of dried parsley and an ounce each of the other seasonings. This is way more than I need to store for the next few months.

Select a small mixing bowl.

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 tablespoon lemon-thyme (I used thyme)

1 tablespoon summer savory

1 tablespoon sweet marjoram (also called marjoram)

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 tablespoon dried lemon peel

1 tablespoon celery seeds (optional)

Mix ingredients together. Though the celery seeds are optional, I added them.

Store in closed container until needed for soups or sauces.

To try out the seasoning blend, I made vegetable soup. At first, I added 2 teaspoons of the seasoning mixture to the soup as it cooked. Then I added another teaspoon because I made a large stockpot of soup.

Yum! I loved the flavors this seasoning blend added to vegetable soup. Winter is the perfect time for soup and this addition made the dish even more comforting. I will make this again.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Hale, Sarah Josepha. Early American Cookery: “The Good Housekeeper” 1841, Dover Publications, Inc., 1996.

“Marjoram Leaf,” Spices, Inc., 2018/01/21 https://www.spicesinc.com/p-95-marjoram-leaf.aspx.

“Summer Savory,” Spice Islands, 2018/01/21 http://spiceislands.com/products/summer-savory.

 

Spiced Peach Pie, Anyone?

Photo © Catherine Castle

Today’s post is written by fellow author and dear friend, Catherine Castle. I’m looking forward to making this peach pie and reading her newest novel. Welcome, Catherine!

I’m going say upfront that although I like pie, it’s not a dish I serve at our house much due to dietary constraints. But when I was first married, pie was a regular addition to the dinner table. My husband loved lemon meringue pie, and I learned to make a pretty good one, if I do say so myself. Today any pie I bake, or eat, leans toward fruit pies that are lightly sweetened, if at all. (Remember those dietary constraints I spoke about.)

So, imagine my surprise when Chip Vandermere, the hero of my newest book, Bidding on the Bouquet, decided he loved pie—any kind of pie. Having just done some research about pies and their role in Early American weddings (they were the original wedding dessert of choice back then), Chip’s pie fetish became a recurring motif in the new book.

Suddenly, I found myself writing about this sweet dessert, and craving it. To help alleviate that craving, and provide a valid reason for baking, I decided to include Chip’s love of pies in the book’s promotions. The first result of that decision is an original recipe I named Emelia’s Spiced Peach Pie.

Chip’s housekeeper, Emelia, is a pie baker extraordinaire and the one person in his home to whom he can spill his heart. For Chip, a slice of Emelia’s pie is a comfort, a reward, and a little piece of heaven. When Emilia begins to play matchmaker between Chip and a pie-loving young lady Chip suspects of being a gold digger, their shared love of pie becomes an irritation. Face it, what other reason would a down-and-out-on-her-luck girl want to bid for a bridesmaid spot in his sister’s wedding, if not to worm her way into the life of the rich and famous Vandermeres?

Emelia’s Spiced Peach Pie

© 2018 Catherine Castle

Ingredients:

  • One, 2-crust pie pastry, homemade or store bought
  • 7 cups sliced peaches, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • ¼ sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. finely minced orange peel. Remove the white membrane from the peel before mincing.

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over peaches and mix well.
  • Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch and orange peel in a small bowl and add to peaches, mixing well.
  • Place bottom crust in a glass pie pan and pat against the sides and bottom of the pan.
  • Pour peaches onto crust and arrange evenly in the pan.
  • Trim bottom crust leaving pastry about ½ inch from the edge of the pie pan.
  • Top with second crust, turning top crust under bottom crust. Crimp or flute crust edge as desired, making sure you have sealed the two crusts together to prevent leakage.
  • Cut several slits in top crust to allow steam to escape.
  • Cover the edges of the pie crust with aluminum foil to prevent burning.
  • Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees.
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake pie for 70 minutes longer or until crust has browned and filling is bubbly.
  • Remove pie from oven, take off aluminum foil strips, and let pie cool completely before slicing. This pie will cut better after is has been refrigerated.

Note: If you prefer a juicer pie, let the peaches sit after sugaring them, stirring several times, until juice has formed in the bottom of the bowl. If you do this you may want to protect the bottom of your stove from filling leakage.

-Catherine Castle

About the Author:

Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, theatre, and quilting. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her books The Nun and the Narc, A Groom for Mama, Bidding on the Bouquet  and Trying Out for Love boxed set on Amazon. Connect with Catherine on her website: websiteFacebook, and Twitter  @AuthorCCastle.

Buy link for Bidding on the Bouquet on  Amazon.