Wednesday, January 11, 2006

100-Year-Old Cake Experiment

So you've got all this flour and butter and crap cluttering up your cabinets. What do you do? You get a 100 year old magazine and slap together some lame cake out of it, that's what you do. That's what I do anyhow. Or that's what I did yesterday.

Yes, I should get a life but I'm much too busy making horrible things out of vintage magazines.

These recipes are from New Idea Woman's Magazine, September 1902. I decided to do the Layer Cake with Chocolate Cream Filling, despite the fact that the Coffee Fruit Cake sounded way better. Why? That was what I had in the cabinets, that's why, so shut the hell up. I know I should have done the Coffee Fruit Cake but I didn't have most of the more interesting ingredients. Deal with it.

The sponge cake recipe was added for pure comedy value, since nobody in their right mind would whip up anything by hand for 40 minutes unless they were on crack.

The main point of this exercise was to whip up an antique recipe & see how it compared to modern cakes. That meant I didn't even use my 1940's Mixmaster, that's how determined I was to stick to the original recipe.

I'm a stupid, stupid girl sometimes.

It didn't make much batter. I was supposed to use four round cake pans but who the hell has four round cake pans? Not me, so I substituted two lasagne tins and that still only made two 1" layers.

It's probably a good thing it didn't make much batter because I don't think I could have unloaded that much cake on my co-workers. They're pretty much wise to my tactic of hauling in dodgy baked goods just so I won't have to eat them myself.

The only instructions regarding temperature involved chunking more wood on the fire, so I just used the normal 350 degrees. I guessed maybe 30 minutes but took it out at 25 which might have been five minutes too long. If I had used the four tins it might have been done at about 15 minutes.

See, lasagne. Yay.

There's another pan, just like that, to the right. Pretend you're looking at it.

Let's also pretend that the layers both came out in one piece despite the fact that I smeared the pans all over with butter instead of cheating with cooking spray.

I suppose I could have also churned my own butter, just to prove some retarded point that isn't terribly clear even to me.

This is just to show that yes, I did cook goddamned frosting on the stove. Frosting which was the consistancy of library paste that later cooled onto tire rubber. The flour & water made it rubber-up pretty fast so it got chewy. Nummy!

Note: If you do only one or two layers the recipe makes way the hell too much frosting. I've got a wad of it still in a container in the fridge.

Makes me think of Flubber, but not in a good way.

Since this recipe came from the heady, carefree days before shortening or vegetable oil (Crisco wouldn't turn up for another 10-15 years) and lard was only used for pies, this cake was pretty damn dry. Tasted pretty good, but it's a wee bit lacking in modern moistness. It possibly could have been better had I made four layers and ass-loads of frosting, and maybe not left it in the oven quite so long. I could have also done a whipped cream frosting but there was no way in hell I would have whipped it up by hand for 20 minutes, then watched it die like a dog ten minutes later.

Cakes and stuff went into a pie safe so I dunno if my fridge did anything unnatural to it.

The Vintage Stitch-O-Rama Testing Department deemed it "edible but dry" and "pretty good but not exciting." No-one got sick from it. If there was any vomiting, then it was quiet, polite, ladylike vomiting.

Click on the recipes for larger image in case you feel like making old cake.


emily said...

i never thought i'd find ANYTHING about vintage cakes funny. and i didn't, that was HILARIOUS.

thank you,
i needed that.

Severina said...

Wait 'til I find that recipe for Prune-Lard Surprise.

I know it's around here somewhere...

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