One of the biggest challenges for me and my Tasty Tuesday recipes is adapting the cake recipes. Why? Well, let me explain.
Take a look at Hannah Glasse’s receipt for Pound Cake and then I’ll share my reaction to it.
To make a Pound Cake.
Take a pound of butter, beat it in an earthen pan with your hand one way, till it is like a fine thick cream; then have ready twelve eggs, but half the whites; beat them well, and beat them up with the butter, a pound of flour beat in it, a pound of sugar, and a few caraways. Beat it all well together for an hour with your hand, or a great wooden spoon, butter a pan and put it in, and then bake it an hour in a quick oven.
So, 12 eggs? A pound each of sugar and flour and butter? How big of a cake will this make? I truly believe I don’t own a pan large enough to bake this cake. But then the show-stopper for me was beating it by hand, literally, or I could use a big wooden spoon, for an hour. An hour? Well, that couldn’t happen since I’m not strong enough to last for an hour. I’d have to use my mixer.
I believe I’ve mentioned before that the eggs then were smaller than today’s. What I don’t know is the equivalence. Not knowing how big a cake this recipe would make, I wasn’t certain how to cut it down. So I went looking in my other colonial and early America cookbooks to see if there was another pound cake recipe I could use. And yes, I found one in Revolutionary Cooking by Virginia T. Elverson and Mary Ann McLanahan.
Let’s take a look at both the original receipt and the adapted recipe, which I followed with one small change.
Original receipt by Mrs. Mary Randolph, 1824, in The Virginia Housewife; or, Methodical Cook (p146)
Wash the salt from a pound of butter, and rub it till it is soft as cream—have ready a pound of flour sifted, one of powdered sugar, and twelve eggs beaten; put alternately into the butter, sugar, flour, and the froth from the eggs—continuing to beat them together till all the ingredients are in, and the cake quite light: add some grated lemon peel, a nutmeg, and a gill of brandy; butter the pans, and bake them. This cake makes an excellent pudding [aka dessert], if baked in a large mould, and eaten with sugar and wine. It is also excellent when boiled, and served up with melted butter, sugar and wine.
Here is their take on how to make a modern sized cake:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
½ pound butter
1 teaspoon each of lemon, rum, and vanilla extract
Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch tube or bundt pan generously. Mix all ingredients at one time in a mixer and beat for about 10 minutes, or until smooth. Turn into greased pan. Bake at 325°F for about 1 hour, until cake tests done.
Note: As in the original, there is no liquid or baking powder or baking soda.
The only change I made is that instead of the three extracts I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. It still turned out really tasty!
Even though I used my electric mixer, my right arm let me know it wasn’t okay to do so. I’m still not quite back to pre-surgery strength but almost.
What I love about this recipe is that there are only five ingredients (the way I made it) and all wholesome foods. I wondered about reducing the sugar but I’d need to do some kitchen science research to understand how that might impact the results. Would less sugar make a smaller cake, for instance, since there is less mass introduced to the batter? I don’t know the answer but suspect it would be denser. Anyway, it’s a yummy recipe and I hope you’ll try it!
Next week’s blog will be a summary of the lessons I’ve learned, the recipes that I will earmark to use again, and those that I won’t. Until then, happy reading!
Remember that my A More Perfect Union series (ebooks) are on sale for the holidays! And the prequel novella, Elizabeth’s Hope, is also only 99 cents for the ebook at Amazon.
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My latest romantic witch story is The Touchstone of Raven Hollow, and it takes places in an enchanted valley during Thanksgiving. What a perfect time to give it a try! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing Tara and Grant’s love story!
He dug for the truth and found her magic.
Tara Golden has hidden her healing power all her life. But occasionally, she uses her abilities on people passing through town, sure they’d never figure out what saved them. Now a tall, sexy geologist is asking questions she doesn’t want to face, and he isn’t going to take no for an answer. There’s no way she would reveal her abilities and her gifted sisters for a fling.
The latest tests divulge geologist’s Grant Markel’s fatal condition is cured, but the scientist within him won’t accept it’s a miracle. When he meets the sexy, mystical witch who may hold the answer to his quest, he’s determined to prove she’s full of smoke and mirrors despite their mutual attraction.
When they are trapped in an enchanted valley, Tara must choose between her magical truth or his scientific beliefs. Can she step from the shadows to claim her true powers before it’s too late?
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-AU
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-CA
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Touchstone-Amazon-UK