Monday, March 03, 2014

Layer Cakes, by Many Other Names.

I have neglected the bakers amongst you recently, so today I give you three recipes from One Hundred and One Layer Cakes, by May E Southworth, (San Francisco and New York, 1907.) What I find fascinating about the recipes in this book is the choice of names for the cakes.

I wonder what the story is behind the decision to name a cake for fourteen years in the future?

A cupful of sugar, a half-cupful of molasses, a half-cupful of melted butter and a half-teaspoonful each of cinnamon and nutmeg, creamed together; add three whole eggs and beat for ten minutes. Dissolve a level teaspoonful of soda In a half-cupful of sour milk and add with two cupfuls of flour and a pinch of salt. Add a half-pound of fresh dark whole figs; or if dried figs are used steam whole until soft. Bake in three layers.
FILLING. Boil two cupfuls of sugar with a half-cupful of hot water till it threads; pour over the beaten whites of three eggs; add a half-cupful of soaked and chopped raisins and a teaspoonful of lemon juice.

“Gibson Girls” were the creation of the American artist Charles Dana Gibson in the 1890’s and represented the embodiment of the ideas of female beauty of the time. So, please tell me what is “Gibson Girly” about this cake?

Beat the yolks of five eggs till thick and lemon colored; stir in a. cupful of granulated sugar, the grated rind of a lemon and a tablespoonful of the juice. Whip the whites of the five eggs to a froth, add a few tablespoonfuls to the beaten yolks, then a cupful of pastry flour, to which a quarter of a teaspoonful of salt has been added and then the rest of the beaten yolks.
FILLING. Break the whites of two eggs in a glass and in another put the same measurement of cold water. Mix these and work in sufficient confectioner's sugar to be the right consistency to spread; add a teaspoonful of almond-extract and a half-teaspoonful of baking-powder; put on a flat platter and whip with a wire egg-beater till smooth and light. Add a cupful of blanched and chopped almonds.

And my final choice for the day is the cake intriguingly-named for:

Beat the whites of three eggs very stiff; add a cupful of confectioner's sugar and beat ten
minutes. Beat the yolks of the three eggs till thick and lemon colored; add a teaspoonful of almond-extract and stir them into the whites and sugar and beat ten minutes more. Mix a half-teaspoonful of baking-powder with a cupful of sifted pastry flour and add with two tablespoonfuls of boiling water.
FILLING. Boil two cupfuls of sugar with ten tablespoonfuls of boiling water till it forms a soft ball; add thirty-two marshmallows cut fine and boil up again. Beat the whites of three eggs till stiff; add a quarter of a teaspoonful of cream of tartar and a half-teaspoonful of almond extract. Pour the boiling syrup on the eggs, beating all the time, and when cool add a cupful of chopped nut meats.

As a post-script, may I refer you to a previously-posted recipe from this book for a fragrant Violet Cake?


korenni said...

The "Gibson Girl" sounds light and frothy and a little nutty. Men might say these girls weren't nutty, but that's because they just wanted the girls to be "nutty on them." ;-)

Anonymous said...

The names are a puzzle. Another is why there's baking soda in the filling of the Gibson Girl. I wish someone would make one of these cakes.

Anonymous said...

Or because both the cake and the Gibson Girl were "stacked"? :-) Though I suspect the term wasn't used in that way back then.


Unknown said...

Well, I might give it a try for a birthday cake this weekend.....I'll let you know.

Unknown said...

I might give it a go this weekend for a birthday cake....I'll let you know.

Unknown said...

I'll give it a go and let you know.