After this week’s gastronomical traumas of ersatz coffee and rhubarb with ketchup, I feel that perhaps we need something comforting today. From a new find - One Hundred and One Layer Cakes, by May E Southworth, (San Francisco and New York, 1907) - I give you an exceedingly fragrant, and very girly cake.
Violet [Layer Cake]
Cream a half-cupful of butter; add a cupful of sugar and cream again. Sift together a teaspoonful of baking-powder, one and a half cupfuls of flour and a quarter of a teaspoonful of salt; add this to the butter and sugar with a half-cupful of milk and the beaten whites of four eggs. Flavor with a teaspoonful of violet-extract and four drops of vanilla.
Whip a pint of cream dry and stiff; add the beaten whites of three eggs and a half-cupful of confectioner’s sugar. Flavor with a teaspoonful of crème yvette cordial and a half-teaspoonful of vanilla. Color violet with coloring paste. Put this between the two layers and make a plain icing for the top flavored with crème yvette. Decorate with crystallized violets, making stems of shredded angelica.
And to gild the lily, what better than some violet tea?
This is a soothing beverage for persons suffering from bronchitis and similar affections. Put a teaspoonful of dried violets in a jar, and pour upon them half a pint of boiling water. Let them infuse for five minutes, strain the liquor, sweeten with honey, and it will be fit for use.
Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery, c.1870’s
Quotation for the Day.
I sat at a table where were rich food and wine in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board.
Henry David Thoreau.