We've all heard of the Queen proclaiming to "let them eat cake" which it turns out isn't what we think of today as cake but a by product of making bread. In any event, below are several recipes for various cakes from the 19th century.
CAKES—Federal Cake—Flour 2 1/2 lbs.; pulverized white sugar 1 1/4 lbs.: fresh butter 10 ozs ; 5 eggs well beaten; carbonate of ammoma 1/8 oz.; water 1/2 pt., or milk is best, if you have it
Grind down the ammonia, and rub it with the sugar. Rub the butter into the flour; now make a bowl of the Hour, (unless you choose to work it up in a dish,) and put in the eggs, milk, sugar, &c., and mix well, and roll out to about a quarter of an inch in thickness; then cut out with a round cutter, and place on tins so they touch each other , and instead of rising up thicker, in baking, they fill up tno space between, and make a square-looking cake, all attached together. While they are yet warm, drench over with white coarsely-pulverized sugar. If they are to be kept in a show-case, by bakers, you can have a board as large aa tho tin on which you bake them, and lay a dozen or more tinsful on top of each other, as you sprinkle on the sugar. 1 cannot see why they are called "Federal," for really, they are good enough for any " Whig."
Ammonia should be kept in a wide-mouthed bottle, tightly corked, as it is a very volatile salt. It is known by various names, as " volatile salts," "sal volatile," "hartshorn,"' "hartshorn-shavings," &c., &c. It is used for smelling-bot ties, fainting, as also in baking.
2. Rocgh-and-Ready Cake.—Butter or lard 1 lb.; molasses • qt.; soda 1 oz.; milk or water 1/2 pt.; ground ginger 1 tablespoon; and a little oil ot lemon; flour sufficient.
Mix up the ginger in flour, and rub the butter or lard in also; dissolve the soda in the milk or water; put in the molasses, and use the flour in which the ginger and butter is rubbed up, and sufficient more to make the dough oi a proper consistence to roll out; cut the cakes out with a long and narrow cutter, and wet the top with a little molasses and water, to remove the flour from the cake; turn the top down, into pulverized white sugar, and place in an oven sufficiently hot for bread, but keep them in only to bake, not to dry up. This, and the "Federal," are great favorites in Pennsylvania, where they know what is good, and have the means to make it; yet they are not expulsive.
3. Sponge Cake.—Flour 3 cups; fine white sugar 2 cups; 6 eggs; sour milk 1/2 cup, with saleratua 1 tea-spoon.
Dissolve the saleratus in the milk j beat the eggs separately; sift the flour and sugar; first put the sugar into the milk and eggs, then the flour,and stir all well together using any flavoring extract which you prefer, 1 tea-spoon — lemon, however, is the most common As soon as tho fl.,ui Is birred in, put it immediately into a quick oven; and if it is all put into a common square bread-pan, for which it makes the right amount, it will require about twenty to thirty minutes to bake; if baked in small cakes, proportion ately less.
4. Sponge Cake With Sweet Milk.—As sour milk cannot always be had, I give you a sponge cake with sweet milk
Nice brown sugar l 1/2 cups; 3 eggs; sweet milk 1 cup; flour 3 1/2 cups; cream of tartar and soda, of each 1 tea-spoon; lemon essence 1 tea-spoon.
Thoroughly beat the sugar and eggs together; mix the cream of tartar and soda in the milk, stirring in the flavor also; then mix in the flour, remembering that all cakes ought to be baked soon after making. This is a very nice cake, notwithstanding what is said of "Berwick," below.
5. Berwick Sponge Cake Without Milk.—Six eggs, powdered white sugar 3 cups; sifted flour 4 even cups; cream of tartar 2 tea-spoons; cold water 1 cup; soda 1 tea spoon; one lemon.
First, beat the eggs two minutes, and put in the sugar and beat five minutes more; then stir in the cream of tarcar and two cups of the flour, and beat one minute; now dissolve the soda in the water and stir in, having grated the rind of the lemon, squeeze in half of the juice only; and Dually add the other two cups of flour and beat all one minute, and put into deep pans in a moderate oven. There is considerable beating about this cake, but if itself does not beat all the sponge cakes you ever beat, we will acknowledge it to be the beating cake, all around.
C. Surprise: Cake.—One egg; sugar 1 cup; butter 1/2 cup; sweet milk 1 cup; soda 1 tea-spocn; cream of tartar 2 teaspoons.
Flavor with lemon, and use sufficient sifted flour to mak die proper consistence, and you will really be surprised t see its bulk and beauty.
7. Sugar Cake.—Take 7 eggs and beat the whites and yolks separately; then beat well together; now put into them sifted white sugar 1 lb.; with melted butter 1/2 lb., and a small teaspoon of pulverized carbonate of ammonia.
Stir in just sufficient sifted flour to allow of its being rolled out and cut into cakes.
8. Ginger Cake.—Molasses 2 cups; butter, or one-half lard if you choose, 1 1/2 cups; sour milk 2 cups; ground ginger 1 tea-spoon, saleratus 1 heaping tea-spoon.
Mash the saleratus, then mix all these ingredients together in a suitable pan, and stir in flour as long as you can with a spoon; then take the hand and work in more, just so you can roll them by using flour dusting pretty freely; roll out thin, cut and lay upon your buttered or floured tins; then mix one spoon ot molasses and two of water, and with a small brush or bit of cloth wet over the top of the cakes; this removes the dry flour, causes the cakes to take a mce brown and keep them moist; put into a quick oven, and ten minutes will bake them if the oven is sufficiently hot. Do not dry them all up, but take out as soon as nicely browned.
We have sold cakes out of the grocery for years, but nevei ound any to give as good satisfaction as these, eithei at table tor counter. They keep moist, and are sufficiently rich and ight for all cake eaters.
9 Tea Or Cup Cake—Four eggs; nice brown sugar 2 1/2 cups; saleratus 1 tea-spoon; sour milk 3 cups; melted butter or half lard 1 cup; half a grated nutmeg; flour.
Put the eggs and sugar into a suitable pan and beat together: dissolve the saleratus in the milk and add to the eggs and sugar' put in the butter and nutmeg also' stir ail well: then sift in flour sufficient to make the mass to such a consistence that it will not run from a spoon when lfted upon it. Any one preferring lemon can use that in place of nutmeg. Bake rather slowly.
10 Cake, Nice, .without Eggs Or Milk —A very nice cake is made as follows, and it will keep well also:
Flour 3 1/2 lbs.; sugar 1 1/4 lb ; butter 1 lb : water 1/2 pt having 1 teaspoon of saleratus dissolved in it. Roll thin and bake on tin sheets
For More Recipes check out Dr. Chase's Recipes for Cakes There are many more, I've only shared the first ten. The next one is really interesting. Not sure if I'd make or eat it though.