Chocolate Cake (1889) ★★

Here is a simple recipe for chocolate cake from the cook book "Aunt Babette's" Cook Book. Foreign and Domestic Receipts for the Household. A valuable collection of receipts and hints for the housewife, many of which are not to be found elsewhere., printed in 1889. This recipe is gluten free (imagine that!) and is relatively straight forward. I had to look up "slow oven" and I found that it means the temperature of the oven should be between 250 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course ovens in the Victorian period were mostly run by fire, so precise temperatures were not as easily attainble as they are today. I set my oven to 275 degrees and it worked well.

(No. 2.) Beat the yelks of twelve eggs with half a pound of sifted sugar, half a pound of grated sweet almonds, half a pound of finely-grated vanilla chocolate, and one tablespoonful of ground cinnamon. Add the stiff-beaten whites last, and bake one hour in a slow oven. Bake in a spring form lined with greased paper.

The Verdict:
This cake was really spongy as a result of having so many eggs in it. Consequently it also had a bit of an eggy taste to it. It wasn't really awful; definitely edible. It had a strange texture. My boyfriend said it reminded him of banana bread. I wonder how this cake would be if I had used small eggs (I have a feeling Victorian eggs were not so super-sized). I would eat this if I had to, but I probably wouldn't make it again.

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from "Aunt Babette's" Cook Book)

1/2 pound SUGAR
1/2 pound grated ALMONDS
1/2 pound grated BAKING CHOCOLATE
1 tablespoon ground CINNAMON

1. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with greased parchment paper.
2. If you need to grate/chop your chocolate, do so first. Also divide your egg yolks and whites into two separate bowls.
3. Mix together the egg yolks, sugar, almonds, chocolate, and cinnamon.
4. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into the cake batter.
5. Bake for 1 hour.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.