FSU Special Collections & Archives Presents: The Great Rare Books Bake Off Dessert Week

Welcome to the final week of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Great Rare Books Bake Off! We saved the best for last, this week we will be sharing and attempting dessert recipes from our collection. Please visit our introduction post to find out how you can participate.

An excellent source of inspiration for desserts and other sweet is Luncheon & dinner sweets: including the art of ice making by Charles Herman Senn (1920’s) http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_TX773S461920z

This book, once a part of the FSU Hospitality program reference library, features a variety of recipes for sweets and specialty ice desserts.

Another excellent resource for archival dessert recipes outside of FSU Special Collections & Archives is Cooking in the Archives, a blog that shares historic recipes that have been updated with modern measurements and baking instructions.

All about cookery: a collection of practical recipes arranged in alphabetical order By Isabella Beeton (1890) http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_TX717B421890

Pumpkin Pie: To every quart of strained pumpkin allow 6 eggs, 1/4 lb butter, 1/2 pint of sweet milk, 3/4 lb of white sugar, 1 Tbsp brandy, 1 gill (1 cup) sherry or madeira. To every quart of pumpkin add the ingredients listed above, beating the eggs til thick and light, and stirring the butter and sugar to a cream, when well mixed bake in a puff-paste 1 1/2 hour.

Snow Cake (a genuine Scotch recipe): 1lb arrowroot, 1/2 lb of pounded white sugar, 1/2 pound of butter, the whites of 6 eggs, flavoring to taste of essence of almond, vanilla, or lemon. Beat the butter to a cream, stir in the sugar and arrowroot gradually, at the same time beating the mixture. Whisk the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, add them to the other ingredients, and beat well for 20 minutes. Put in flavoring; pour the cake into a buttered mold or tin and bake in a moderate oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

The queen-like closet, or, Rich cabinet By Hannah Wooley (1675) http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_TX705W61675

Sugar Cakes: Take a pound of sugar with 4 ounces of flour, mix well with one pound of butter that has been washed in rosewater; beat 4 egg yolks with 4 spoonfuls of rosewater steeped with nutmeg and cinnamon; then add enough cream to make a stiff paste; knead and roll into thin cakes, prick them and bake on baking sheets, there is no need to butter the sheets.

Recipe for “A Premium Fruit Cake” by Mrs. Sarah Hopkins, May 18, 1874; November 1903, Box: 2, Folder: 09. Pine Hill Plantation Papers, 01-MSS 0-204. FSU Special Collections & Archives. http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_MSS0204_B02_F09_01

“Premium” Fruit Cake: 1 lb flour, 1 lb brown sugar, 14 oz butter, 10 eggs, 3 (Tbsp/ounce/lb unsure) seeded raisins, 3 (Tbsp/ounce/lb unsure) currants, 1 (Tbsp/ounce/lb unsure) citron, 1 wineglassful of brandy, 1 wineglassful of wine, 1 wineglassful of sweet milk, 1 tsp of soda, 1 Tbsp molasses, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Brown the flour; dissolve the soda in the milk, add the brandy and wine to it in order to make it curdle; beat the yolks and sugar together, then the butter, then the egg whites, add the flour, then the milk brandy and molasses; flour the raisins and add a handful of fruit from each plate at a time; butter your pan and bake 3 hours or longer in a slow oven. This makes 1 large cake or 2 small ones.

Snow Cake Recipe Attempt

I tried the recipe for Snow Cake from All about cookery: a collection of practical recipes arranged in alphabetical order by Isabella Beeton (1890). I was curious because this cake recipe uses arrowroot instead of flour so it is gluten free. I followed the recipe with just a few modifications for a modern kitchen. I used a stand mixer to mix all the ingredients and therefore didn’t need to mix for nearly as long as suggested in the recipe. The batter was very thick and had more of an icing-like consistency. I had to put it in dollops in the pan and then spread them out. I baked my cake in a moderate 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes.

Once the cake had cooled a bit I inverted it onto a plate. The whole cake had a golden brown color but a bit stuck to the bottom of the pan. There were no serving suggestions so I tried the cake as-is.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I found the cake to be very dense but it could be improved with icing or the addition of fruit -Kristin Hagaman

Join us for a wrap up post for the Great Rare Books Bake Off on November 30th!

Published by Kristin Hagaman

Research Services Associate, Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University Libraries

One thought on “FSU Special Collections & Archives Presents: The Great Rare Books Bake Off Dessert Week

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