Monday, May 16, 2011

The 1832 Cup Cake recipe

I was browsing through a book first published in 1832 called "The American Frugal Housewife" by Mrs. Child, which you can download today at Homeschool Freebie of the Day.  I think it is so fascinating to look back in history and see how people went about their daily life, and especially for me, to glimpse into the lives of homemakers.  To see the recipes they used, hear tips on how to perform housework, and remedies for sickness and other maladies is just so interesting!

As I was looking I came across this recipe for "Cup Cake":
"Cup cake is about as good as pound cake, and is cheaper. One cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs, well beat together, and baked in pans or cups. Bake twenty minutes, and no more."

I decided to try this recipe out and here is how they turned out!  They tasted like a less rich pound cake and I think they would be sweet for a tea party with a lemon or pink glaze on top.

I did a little research on the history of cupcakes and found this on Wikipedia:
"The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in “American Cookery” by Amelia Simms."
There were two uses for the name "cup cake" in the 19th century: to describe the cups or ramekins they were baked in, and the other for describing the cake whose ingredients were measured by volume in cups rather than weight.  
"...these recipes became known as 1234 cakes or quarter cakes, so called because they are made up of four ingredients: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs.They are plain yellow cakes, somewhat less rich and less expensive than pound cake, due to using about half as much butter and eggs compared to pound cake. The names of these two major classes of cakes were intended to signal the method to the baker; "cup cake" uses a volume measurement, and "pound cake" uses a weight measurement."
And now I understand why this recipe tasted like a less rich pound cake!  It makes perfect sense that it was included in a frugal homemaking book :)  I think it would be fun to try out some more recipes from this book in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment