I came across a recipe for ‘Canadian Mountain Cake’ by chance recently, and was intrigued, not having heard of it before. The recipe appeared in The Times of India on December 5, 1910 – and although I am not sure how this speaks to the authenticity of the recipe, I am confident that one or two of you will have a comment or opinion on the matter.
I am also pleased to present this recipe because I have neglected the passionate bakers amongst you recently, and this is my opportunity to make amends. So, get out your newly-polished knitting needles, bakers and bakeresses, and try one of these two quite different recipes out, please, and report on your success.
Afternoon Tea Cakes.
Canadian and Other Recipes.
Some of the following recipes are great favourites in Canada, and others are adaptations of American cakes:-
Canadian Mountain Cake.
Take half a pound of butter and a breakfastcupful of moist sugar. Place these in a basin, and with the bear [sic] hand, beat the whole to a cream. Add gradually a cupful of warmed treacle and two cupfuls of warmed flour, the yolk of an egg, and a large cupful of very strong coffee. Mix thoroughly with the hand.
Last of all, add, just before baking, a dessertspoonful of mixed spice (ths may be omitted if liked) and a teaspoonful of good baking powder. This is the brown part. For the white: Cream half a pound of butter and a cupful of white sugar with the hands, and add gradually the whites of four eggs, a cupful of warm flour, and the same quantity of cornflour.
Flavour with essence of lemon, and if necessary, add a little milk. It should be of the consistency of an ordinary sponge cake. Stir in at the last minute a teaspoonful of good baking powder. Have ready two round cake tins well lined with three thicknesses of buttered paper. Pour in a layer of the height of the tin with the brown mixture, and then, very gently, add a layer of the same thickness of the white mixture. Bake in a moderate oven for three-quarters of an hour or until the cake is done. Test by piercing with a polished knitting needle. If this comes out sticky the cake requires longer cooking. Great care must be taken not to move the cake till it has set or it will fall and be quite spoilt.
When cut, the brown part shows where it has risen through the white part, and makes a quaint resemblance to a mountain range; hence the name. ice with a good coffee icing or serve plain.
Another Mountain Cake.
Take one pound of flour and rub into it quarter of a pound of butter. Add two tablespoonfuls of sugar and the grated rind of a large lemon. Mix all together and mix to a soft paste with a cupful of milk or cream and a well-beaten egg. Stir in just at the last a teaspoonful of baking powder. Divide into three portions, and roll out to the same size. Lay in sandwich tins, and bake in a warm oven for a quarter of an hour until done. Turn out onto a pastry-board well strewn with caster sugar, and spread with a filling made as follows:- Take a pint of thick rich cream and whip as firmly as possible after flavouring with some strawberry syrup. Sweeten with icing sugar. When the cakes are cold, spread the whipped cream on two of the cakes, laying them one on top of the other. Ice the top one with pink icing and ornament with chopped pistachio nuts in little piles. It should be eaten immediately.