Cider Cake (1840) ★★★★

Last semester I was working on a website project for school, which I named Early Canadian Cookbooks Online. I'm actually still working on it, but I hope to have it completed eventually! Anyway, I had planned to make this cake for a blog post on the website. Unfortunately things didn't go as planned...

Original Recipe:

11. Cider Cake.
Take two pounds of flour, one pound of sugar, half a pound of butter, one pint of cider, cloves and cinnamon, with or without fruit, two teaspoonsful of saleratus; put the saleratus in the cider, and mix it while foaming.
N.B. - As a general rule, every thing mixed with saleratus should be put in the oven immediately.

The Verdict:           
Well, as you can see by the pictures, I kind of undercooked this cake. Um, a lot. And the worst bit of it is that this is actually a really delicious cake! The taste is very similar to the Dutch breakfast cake called ontbijtkoek. Also, this recipe only has 5 ingredients (not counting spices)! And no eggs! I'm pretty impressed, actually. The texture is was nice and fluffy, with a hard-ish crust. I think what I would do next time is divide the dough in half and make two cakes, rather than trying to shove it all into one pan. Or maybe use a bundt pan. That might be big enough. I was really alarmed at the amount of sugar in this recipe, but it actually doesn't taste that sweet. Mr. Man and I both enjoyed this cake (we ate the cooked part).

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from The Frugal Housewife's Manual)

1/2 lb. butter, softened
1 lb. sugar
2 lbs. flour
Cloves, to taste (I used 1 teaspoon)
Cinnamon, to taste (I used 2 teaspoons)
2 cups apple cider
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cakes pans or a large bundt pan.
2. In a very large bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar until combined and fluffy. Add in the flour and the spices. The mixture will be crumbly like a pastry dough. Using your hands to mix is beneficial.
3. Add the baking soda to the apple cider and mix it into the dough. Make sure it is well combined, but be gentle and get the dough into the oven quickly.
4. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes for one large cake or 15 - 20 for each small cake.

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.