This is from Elizabeth E. Lea’s 1866 cookbook Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers. This pound cake recipe is the basis for the method of many of the other cakes in the chapter. This is not such an extravagant cake - the fruit cake recipe calls for 30 eggs and a pint of brandy.
Cakes back then were somewhat larger than contemporary cakes and were baked in very large ovens. They also had odd ingredients, though none are evident in this recipe. Saleratus is baking powder. Rose brandy is made by steeping rose petals in white brandy.
I read this chapter for LibriVox today, and thought I’d share not only this excellent foundation recipe, but also the whole of the Cakes section in the form of an mp3. This will be put together with the other chapters to make a full audio cookbook.
Wash the salt from a pound of butter, and beat it with a pound of loaf sugar till it is as soft as cream; have a pound of flour sifted, and beat ten eggs, the whites and yelks separately; put alternately into the butter and sugar the flour and eggs, continue to beat till they are all in, and the cake looks light; add some grated lemon peel, a nutmeg, and half a wine-glass of brandy; butter the pan, and bake it an hour; when it is nearly cold, ice it. If you want a very large cake, double the quantity.
You can tell when a cake is done by running in a broom-straw, or the blade of a bright knife; if it comes out without sticking, it is done, but if not, set it back. You can keep a cake a great while in a stone pan that has a lid to fit tight.
Note: if you don’t want to weigh the ingredients here are the equivalents in cups.
1 lb butter = 2 cups
1 pound loaf sugar = 2 cups granulated
1 pound flour = 4 cups sifted
1/2 wine glass = 3 ounces
Posted by kuri at April 13, 2006 07:33 PM
Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts &tc. “Cakes” 22’36” MP3 (20.7 MB)