Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Cake.

Whatever happened to Love Cake? Love cake seems to have been born and died during the Victorian era. Perhaps we could help it stage a come-back this particular Valentine’s Day? The beauty of Love Cake is that if you didn’t get to the diamond-jewellers before closing time, you can demonstrate undying love equally convincingly by whipping one up at the last minute, for the object of your affections.

One of the things I love about old cookery books and household manuals is that it is usually delightfully difficult to tell where the title ends and the front matter begins. The first Love Cake for the day comes from a book whose first page confidently announces:

5,000 Gems for the Household.
A Book That Teaches Everything A Lady Would Like To Know.


It tells you how to make paper, wool, feather, hair and tinsel flowers; how to paint on satin, silk and velvet; full list of characters for masque ball; a chapter on bead and embroidery work; a list of over three hundred new names for children.
1,000 Useful Receipts for Anyone and Everyone.

By M.S.Fox (Albany, Oregon, 1887)

Love Cake.
Sift through one pound of flour two heaping teaspoonfuls of baking powder, whip to cream half-pound of butter, then stir into the butter one pound of sugar, the yolks of six eggs and about half of the flour, then add one cup of sweet milk and the remainder of the flour, lastly, the white of five eggs beaten to a stiff froth, and flavor with extract of vanilla. Bake in
moderate oven.

From other sources, I give you two other quite different interpretations of ‘love cakes’. The first is a cookie or biscuit (depending on where you come from), the second is a rich fried batter.

Love Cakes
To one pound of powdered sugar, and six well beaten eggs, put as much flour as will make a stiff paste; flavor with essence of lemon. Roll it about half an inch thick, and with a tin cutter the size of the top of a wine glass, cut it in small cakes; strew some sugar and flour over a baking tin, and lay the cakes on it; bake them in a quick oven for ten or twelve minutes; when cold, ice the tops with plain white frosting, and set them in a warm place to dry ; finish by putting a bit of jelly, the size of a large nutmeg, in the centre of each. The edge may be finished with ornamental frosting.
Every Lady’s Book: an instructor in the art of making every variety of plain and fancy cakes, pastry, confectionery, blanc mange, jellies, ice creams, also for the cooking of meats, fish, vegetables, &c., by A Lady of New York (1845).

Bola D'amour—Love Cake.
Take the yolks of eggs, as many as are required for the dish (about twelve), and beat them up in a pan with an equal weight of sugar, the same as sponge cakes, using any kind of liquor or essence for flavouring. When the mixture is beaten up light and got thick, have ready some clarified butter in a stewpan, made hot enough for frying. Pour the mixture into a funnel having a small bore or pipe, and let it run into the hot butter, turning the hand while it is running, so that it may be formed into threads all over the surface of the pan. In about two minutes it will be done, when it should be taken out with a skimmer, and be placed on the dish for serving, garnishing it with any kind of preserve, and serve cold.
Another way is, to beat up the eggs with some liquor, and run it into some boiling syrup at the blow.
The modern housewife: or, Ménagère, Alexis Soyer, 1851.

Quotation for the Day.
Love is much nicer to be in than an automobile accident, a tight girdle, a higher tax bracket or a holding pattern over Philadelphia.
Judith Viorst.


Foose said...

"Full list of characters for masque ball" - my God, how have I lived so long without this essential knowledge?

The Old Foodie said...

That really grabbed me too, Foose! There is so much lost knowledge in these old books!