Thursday, February 20, 2014

Coffee Cake

When a Coffee Cake is coffee in a cake...

Connecticut Coffee Cake    1866
Two eggs, two cups of sugar, one cup of coffee (liquid), three fourths cup of butter, three cups of flour, one tea-spoonful each of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, one tea-spoonful of cream of tartar, and one half tea-spoonful of soda.
Croly, Jane.  Jennie June's American Cookery Book.  NY: 1866

Modern interpretation:
3/4 C butter              2 C sugar
2 eggs                        3 C flour
1/2 t baking soda     1 t cream of tartar
1 t cloves                   1 t cinnamon
1 C coffee                  1 t nutmeg
Beat butter, then slowly add sugar.  Beat the eggs.  Alternate dry ingredients with the eggs adding to butter mix.  Add coffee last.  Some recipes added raisins and/or currants.  The recipe makes two 8” pans.  Bake 30 min. at 350.  It is easy to halve this recipe.

And ground coffee in a cake   1871...
"I was left alone to watch camp. I longed to experiment further in the cooking line, and discovering a bag of ground coffee leaning against the foot of a tree, I said to myself, "coffee cake." I had heard of it, I had eaten it, I would again surprise the boys. I had no eggs, no butter, no milk (condensed milk was unknown at that time), but I had flour, water, cream of tartar, saleratus, sugar, salt, and ground coffee. I thought these quite enough, and went at my task. The mixture I made I put in a small tin and baked in the Dutch oven.

I was so much occupied with this interesting experiment that I forgot all about time and about having something substantial ready for the return of the hungry climbers, so when they did come about noon, as famished as coyotes and dead tired, all I could offer was the cake, ever after famous on that trip, a brown, sugary solid, some six inches in diameter, two inches thick, and betraying its flavour everywhere by the coffee-grounds scattered lavishly through it. Andy gave it one brief sad look, and then went to work to get dinner. But they were such a rare lot of good fellows that they actually praised that cake and not only that, they ate it."
Dellenbaugh, Frederick.  A Canyon Voyage: The Narrative of the Second Powell Expedition down the Green-Colorado River from Wyoming, and the Explorations on Land, in the Years 1871 and 1872.  New York: 1908

©2014 Patricia Bixler Reber

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