Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Year Cakes (1885-1927)

It seems that I have only given you one recipe for New Year Cake in over nine years of blogging. How can that be? By way of a catch-up, and I hope also inspiration, I give you a selection of ideas from Australian newspapers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is interesting to see the great variation in style:

New Year Cakes.
Make a rough puff paste as follows : — Break twelve ounces of lard into a pound of dry flour, mix to a smooth paste with a little lemon juice and about the third of a pint of cold water. The lard must not be crumbled, but broken as large as a walnut. Roll out the pastry, double into three,
again roll out, and let it lie in a cool place for ten minutes, Repeat this process three times and it is ready for use. Then roll out into a square sheet as thin as for tartlets, and cover one half with mince made as under. One large grated apple of nice flavour, four ounces of chopped raisins, the same of mixed candied peel, two ounces of brown sugar, a good pinch of ground cloves and cinnamon, and a wineglassful of rum shrub; the whole well mixed. Double the other half of the pastry over, pressing quite flat all round the edges. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and mark with a knife into two inch squares, to be divided after baking, and bake in a good oven, on a sheet of
in, to a nice pale brown. These are delicious either hot or cold.
Burra Record (South Australia) 6 November 1885

A New Year's Cake.
Put one cup of sugar, a half a cup of butter, and one egg in a bowl, and beat them to a cream; then grate in a quarter of a nutmeg, and stir it through the other ingredients ; sift to and a half cups of flour and two heaping teaspoonfuls of baking powder in another bowl, and gradually stir it into the mixture. Butter the inside of a cake-pan well (a shallow oblong square pan is the best), line it with tissue paper, butter the paper, pour in the cake dough, and bake it in a moderate oven till it is a golden brown and can be pierced with a broom straw without sticking; make a frosting by beating the white of one egg to a stiff froth, then gradually stirring in four heaping tablespoonsfuls of powdered sugar; flavor the frosting with a few drops of lemon juice; turn the cake from the pan and before it gets cool spread the frosting over it with a thin knife blade; crack some English walnuts, take the kernels out carefully, so as not to break them, and place them on the frosting in lines, about half an inch apart; press the nuts into the frosting so they will stick to it.
The McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser (Heathcote, Victoria) 20 December 1900

A New Year's Cake.
One pound and a half finely-sifted flour, 1 lb. of fresh butter, 1 lb. sugar, and 1 lb. of finely-powdered sweet almonds, two teaspoonfuls of baking powder; beat very lightly the yolks of four eggs, then add to them the dry ingredients, stirring all carefully together. Divide into large squares, put on a well greased baking sheet, and bake to a golden brown. Before they
are quite finished, put here and there on top a few split almonds; or, if preferred, these cakes may be cut into fancy shapes and iced.
The Narracoorte Herald (South Australia) 19 December, 1902.

Scotch Cake.
This is also called New Year's cake :
Mix with one and a half pound flour and a quarter-pound rich flour, half pound butter; one pound currants; pound sugar; one pound raisins; one teaspoonful each ground cinnamon and allspice; half a grated nutmeg, and, last of all, twelve well-beaten eggs. Place near the fire for half-an-hour, then pour into a cake tin which you have lined with buttered paper, and bake for three
hours in a good, steady oven.
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld) 11 July 1903.

New Year Cake.
Four eggs, their weight in sugar, butter and flour, 2 extra tablespoons flour, 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 1 rounded teaspoon cream of tartar, rind and juice of 1 orange, 2oz. blanched and chopped almonds, 3oz. candied cherries, 8 drops essence of almonds. Cream butter
and sugar well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Then add juice and grated rind of orange, essence of almonds and sifted flour, soda and cream of tartar. Lastly, add almonds and halved cherries. Bake in well-greased tin for two hours in a slow oven. When cold, brush over with
egg white. Roll and cut almond paste ½ in. smaller than top of cake. Lay it on, leaving edge uncovered. Ice the top with soft icing and allow it to reach within ½ in. of edge of almond paste. Arrange curved pieces of candied cherries (like body of a bee) on icing and place split almonds
obi each side to represent white wings.
Almond Paste: Half-pound of ground almonds, 6oz. icing sugar, 6 oz. castor sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon lemon- juice, 1 dessertspoon brandy.
Mix together and knead till even.
Soft Icing: Four good tablespoons icing sugar, 1 dessertspoon oiled butter, mixed to a thick cream with boiling water.
The Bunbury Herald and Blackwood Express (West Australia) 21 January 1927


Elise Fleming/Alys K. said...

In the last recipe, "oiled butter"?? What might that be?

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Elise - I assume it means melted butter. What do you think?

Elise Fleming/Alys K. said...

After seeing your response about melted butter, I queried a cookery friend who said she thought it was clarified butter. It would make sense to get rid of the "sediments", yes?

Elise Fleming/Alys K. said...

Another friend, a librarian, picked up on the Australian recipe clue and sent a link to this article from Perth, 1937. Thought you might like to see it: . It's title is "How Do You Oil Butter?"

The Old Foodie said...

Ah! so it is clarified butter! I should have known that! Thanks for the info and the link!