July 18 …
Just a simple little cake recipe for you today my friends, for no other reason that it adds to the collection of recipes on a similar theme. We had Matrimony Sauce and Matrimony Pudding in a story over two years ago, today I give you Matrimonial Cake, and ask for you to help find the earliest recipe, just for fun, because it is disputed. We will allow ‘Matrimony’ as being an equivalent name, OK?
First, here is the recipe, as it appeared in an
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups pastry flour
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp soda
1 cup butter or oil.
1 lb. stoned dates
¼ cup brown sugar
juice of 1-2 lemons
1 ½ cups boiling water.
Cook slowly over a low fire until soft. Cool Mix often to prevent burning.
Mix all dry ingredients with butter. Grease shallow cake pan. Cover with ½ of ingredients and then cover with date filling and with balance of dry ingredients.
Bake in oven at 325 degrees F. for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. When cold serve with whipped cream. Serves about 15.
The common theme to these recipes for sauce, pudding, and cake, is a mixture of two different items – existing, we hope, in delicious harmony rather than remaining rigidly aloof.
The OED gives other examples of ‘matrimony’ or ‘matrimonial’ as they apply to food. It may refer to ‘that injudicious mixing of wines, which is called matrimony’, or ‘a name given jocularly to raisins and almonds mixed’, or ‘oranges and star apples [peeled and sliced] mixed’, and even ‘a slice of cake between two pieces of bread and butter’ eaten together like a sandwich.
As for matrimony (or matrimonial) cake, the ownership is in dispute.
There are ancestors of course – a Jewish cookbook of 1871 has a Matrimony Cake, although I do not know its composition. An oldish Northern England recipe has a one too, which is ‘a large round cake … having a layer of currants between two layers of pastry, covered with sugar … and cut into as many pieces as there are persons at the feast.’
Can anyone add any more anecdotes or recipes to this search for the perfect marriage of cake ingredients?
Quotation for the Day …
I refuse to believe that trading recipes is silly. Tunafish casserole is at least as real as corporate stock. Barbara Grizzuti Harrison.