What does a 1920s BIRTHDAY CAKE taste like?


I make myself a chocolate birthday cake using a 100 year old recipe, and I explore the history of birthday cake and why we put candles on them.

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SUPER – CHOCOLATE CAKE – (Based on the Annie Gray interpretation in The Downton Abbey Cookbook: https://amzn.to/3aO0LVa)
INGREDIENTS
(For the cake)
– 1 cup (225g) butter at room temperature, plus more for the pan
– 3/4 cup (90g) flour, plus more for the pan – https://amzn.to/344r08k
– 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (225g) superfine sugar, plus more for the pan – https://amzn.to/2QXnnvv
– 1 cup plus 2 tbsp (115g) almond flour – https://amzn.to/2XrbhP4
– 1 tsp baking powder
– A pinch of salt
– 1/2 lb (225g) bittersweet chocolate – https://amzn.to/2Jnvb5A
– 6 large eggs (or 7 medium)
– 1 tsp vanilla extract – https://amzn.to/2wSgQvh

(For the icing)
– 1 cup (115g) powdered sugar
– 2-3 tbsp cherry or orange liqueur

ORIGINAL 1922 RECIPE
Super-Chocolate Cake. Half a pound fresh butter beaten to a cream, 7 eggs (yolks and whites beaten separately, and the whites stirred in the last thing), 1/2 lb. best vanilla chocolate grated and heated in oven, then beaten up in the butter with 3 oz. dried flour, 1/2 lb. sifted sugar, 4 oz. ground almonds, 1 teaspoon of sal volatile. Bake in a slack oven, then ice with a thin soft icing flavored with maraschino. If ingredients are thoroughly beaten up it will be very light.

MODERN METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment and butter the bottom and sides of the pan. Then dust with a mixture of flour and sugar and coat the entire pan, tapping out the excess.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk gently to blend.
3. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool.
4. Separate the eggs into two bowls. Beat yolks to blend, then stir in the vanilla. Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
5. In a bowl, cream together the butter and superfine sugar until mixed. Mix in the melted chocolate. Mix in a spoonful of the flour mixture to prevent curdling, then gradually beat in the egg yolk mixture. Gradually fold in the remaining flour mixture. Add about one-fourth of the beaten egg whites, folding in just until no white streaks remain. Fold in the remaining egg whites the same way. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
6. Place cake in oven and turn temperature down to 250°F/120°C. Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 75 – 90 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then turn out onto the rack and peel off the parchment. Turn the cake upright and serve plain or with icing.
7. If making the icing, put the powdered sugar into a bowl, whisk in enough of the liqueur to make a soft pourable icing, and pour over the cake or, make a stiffer icing, and spread on with an offset spatula.

SOURCES
The Downton Abbey Cookbook – Annie Gray: https://amzn.to/3aO0LVa

About agogo22

Director of Manchester School of Samba at http://www.sambaman.org.uk
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