Your morning cup of nostalgia: Cake baking in 1894
We like to think that we have one up on earlier generations when we talk about using the best ingredients -- fresh eggs, the best butter, the purest extracts.... But that's the same exact conversation that serious bakers were having back in 1894, according to this article that I dusted off from the L.A. Times' historical archives:
Good cake requires good butter, as good as for the table. It demands fresh eggs, pure flavoring extracts, and the "foundation" recipe embodies correct proportions.My favorite part of this article regards sugar, which apparently was a tricky ingredient to buy and use back in those days.
Opinions differ as to sugar. Some insist on granulated, which doctors say is the purest in the market. It should therefore certainly be used in all invalid cookery. ... The fact that cane and beet sugars are sold indiscriminately renders it necessary for one to be sure of the sweetness of sugar before relying altogether upon proportions given in a recipe.
This is as close to being a doctors' endorsement of sugar-eating as I've ever seen. I wonder, though, what was meant by "invalid cookery." And what happened when dutiful readers began doling on the white stuff...
Click below to read the full article.
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Photo: The Dutch apple walnut loaf served at 1881 Coffee Cafe. Click here for the recipe: (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)