Adding regularly to the Vintage Christmas Recipes archive but avoiding too much duplication is becoming a challenge after several years – but I refuse to give up. Here is something a little different – a Christmas cake that is not a Fruit Cake. And from a celebrity to boot. It is from a
newspaper of 1926, in an article entitled “Christmas Recipes from famous actresses”. It serves my secondary purpose of trying to find some dishes from outside the English and American corpus – which is a tricky challenge, given my limited language skills! Massachusetts
Ilsa Marvenga’s Wickelkuchen.
This popular German Christmas cake is made of 4 cupfuls of flour, 1 cupful of butter, 1 ½ small cupful of warm milk, 1 ½ tablespoonful of rose-water, and ½ yeast cake which is dissolved in the warm milk.
Rub the butter and flour together and stir In the milk, yeast, and rose-water, making a soft dough even if you have to use more milk. Roll this out on a board to one-half inch thickness and put on it ½ cupful of butter in small pieces. Strew over this ¼ pound of finely cut citron and ¾ cupful of sugar mixed with a teaspoonful of cinnamon. Roll up and make a slash down the middle lengthwise about one inch deep Brush over with the yolk of 1 egg and let rise in a warm place until very light.
Bake one-half hour in a moderate oven. It takes from one to three hours to rise.
Sentinel, Fitchburg , Massachusetts Dec 22, 1926]
This is ‘cake’ in its original sense (before leavening powders) of a sweet bread . I love the idea of rosewater in fruit bread, don’t you? It sounds like a great breakfast bread.
With the help of those invaluable research and translation aids from Google, I find that Wickelkuchen translates as Wrap Cake – which makes sense, when you read the recipe. I would love some feedback on this cake from German readers or those with a German heritage. Is it specifically a Christmas bread?
As for Ilsa Marvenga, the same research tools let me down somewhat, but it appears that she was a performer in the Ziegfeld Follies in the 1920’s, as well as other shows around the country.
Quotation for the Day …
Christmas is for children. But it is for grownups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts.
Lenora Mattingly Weber.