Now, How About Vintage Cakes?
jmcarthur8 and Ruthie have been talking about vintage pies - anyone for vintage cakes?
These two come to mind: Sausage Cake and Seed Cake.
There is a restaurant/bakery in Minneapolis that serves "sausage bread" made with bison. This tripped a switch in my memory, and I looked up sausage cake - sure enough, there it was, with pork rather than bison, of course! Since the recipe from the restaurant has been published, it's easy to see that the recipes are virtually the same -
Here is proof that the old recipes can see a new life - and a profitable one, at that!
I would love a good English recipe for seed cake, myself.....
In Montreal there used to be a chain of Woolworth's stores and each one of them had a vintage styled restaurant counter with spinning stools and a bakery counter, that memory is forever in my mind. My mom used to purchase a cake with a brown sugar and coconut icing and it was delicious, I think it was a German chocolate cake. I hope you get a good response, I would love to see some vintage cake recipes. A slice of cake and a percolated coffee from my vintage pyrex coffee pot might be in order this weekend.
I had two Woolworth's in my growing up-one in Oakville, ON (Hopedale Plaza) and they had that same cake that Ruthie is talking about-there was a frozen Sara Lee version that was similar). But my favourite Woolworth's was on Water Street in St. John's, NL...and there the big deal was a Boiled Raisin Cake...which, I believe is also known as a War Cake.
I knew this NL Woolworth's very well as I worked there as my after-school job-proudly wore the blue smock and worked in the Bridal Department (I kid you not!)
I have a recipe that I will dig out and submit to this thread as soon as the dogs get off my lap!
Sometimes the Woolworth's in our area had a "prize" gimmick: they'd blow up balloons, add a slip of paper with numbers on it, and hang them along the cafeteria wall. You'd pick any balloon, then pay the price listed on the slip instead of the menu price. Woohoo--cake for 15 cents! We thought it was great fun when we were kids.
German Chocolate. That's a great one that you don't see very often anymore.
One thing comes to mind at this point - generally if a recipe is pretty old I cut back on the sugar considerably, maybe 25-30%. I hate to mess with the classics, but to me they really are generally too sweet.
What does everyone think about this? Is it O.K. to update recipes in this way?
I am a recipe meddler- when it comes to sugar, I think modern tastes (and better understanding of nutrition) mean less is more. In baking, despite a need for recipe balance when it comes to fat/flour/liquid ratios, I find that you can cut back on sugar without negatively impacting flavour.
Here's our family's recipe for that
German Chocolate Cake Frosting
(Coconut Pecan frosting)
Enough for 2-3 cake layer tops
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
½ cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Cook and stir sugar, evaporated milk, egg yolks, butter and vanilla over medium heat until thick (about 12 minutes).
Remove from heat and add coconut & pecans.
Cool until spreadable, beat occasionally.
I think of coconut covered cakes when I think of cakes from childhood. Maybe because I dreamed of having one, but never got one.
I still do upside down cakes and an occasional red velvet (which seems to be enjoying a resurgence). My MIL loves war cake - which is essentially means it lacks all the things that were rationed during the war - so milk, eggs butter... but it has sugar - which was rationed. Hmmm. Maybe it is more commonly known as depression cake. Yep. I think so.
I don't think I have had a seed cake. Like poppyseed with lemon? I have eaten plenty of those buggers. Overly plenty.
Boiled Cake (aka War Cake)
Source: my Newfoundland United Church fund-raising cookbook, with my own notes
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
1 tsp allspice
1 cup nuts (kind is unspecified but I recall walnuts)
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup currants
1 1/2 cups chopped, seedless dates
1 1/2 cups mixed fruit: chopped citrus peel, candied pineapple etc
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Bring all ingredients EXCEPT flour and baking soda to a boil inj a large pot on top of stove.Cook for 5 full minutes.
Allow this mixture to cool thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Add flour and baking soda to cooled fruit mixture, stirring well.
Place in a greased, 10" tube pan. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, checking after first time, using clean straw method.
(I recall this cake being a huge draw at church auction nights, especially when made by one of the lady's in the congregation who I suspect added a little 'nip' of her own.)
My father's favorite birthday cake was crazy cake with seven minute icing. I haven't seen either in a looooong time. (Oh, and the crazy cake was the very dark chocolate kind, not the "crazy cake" with vinegar and other things poured down holes in the cake.)
After seeing the threads I was reminded of a cookbook I purchased some time ago called the Ministry of Food. It has recipes some of them cake from the World War 2 time. My Mom used to make a pudding or cake of sorts and boil it in a dishtowel this thread also reminded me of that. I will go through the recipes in the book and note them, think they qualify as vintage....
I just went through The Ministry of Food, cakes mentionned, Fat Free Sponge Cake, The Ok Corral Birthday Cake, Princess Birthday Cake,Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Carrot Cake, Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies, Wedding Cake. Rations were limited and sources of fat including butter during World War 2,were scarce. The book has a mention of the fat being scraped off tins of ham and meats and used to make pastry. Can`t fathom myself doing this. Is it possible that vegetables like zucchini and beets in cakes helped to stretch the recipe and provide moisture and originated from hard times?
Well it certainly wouldn't surprise me if they originated from hard times. During the depression and times of rationing, cooks had to make do with what was available.
If your family had a bumper crop of zucchini from the Victory Garden, well, you'd better find creative ways to use it all up. Our grandparents were pretty smart that way :)