Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Loaf Cake

When you're having a quilting party with two Elis/zabeths, there's only one receipt that will suffice:

The Elizabeth Loaf Cake
from The American Matron: or Practical and Scientific Cookery (1851)

1/2 cup (1 gill) yeast*
3 lbs flour
1 1/4 lb sugar
1 1/4 pounds butter
5 eggs
10 oz currants (substituted zante currants)
2 tablespoons cinnamon**
1 tsp mace

This made two loaf cakes, both rather dense.  I think that more yeast or a longer rising time should make for a slightly lighter bread.  More importantly, I discovered that, like a 12th Night cake, this cake really needs a long baking time in a slow oven; at 350F for 40-50 minutes, the crust was very well-browned, but the center barely cooked.  The spice was palatable, and on the light side.

*I used 1/2 cup of sourdough starter for this. The cake turned out fine, though I think it would be interesting to try it again with a some different types/quantities of yeast.

**"Spice to your taste" gives a lot of leeway.  I intended to use cinnamon and nutmeg, but substituted mace when I couldn't find the latter.  The other loaf cakes, when flavorings are named, call for nutmeg (alone, or with cloves and rosewater), or allspice and cinnamon. I think my choices are congruent with these.

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