This is another recipe that Olive Barton Warner of Granby made regularly (although I’m not sure how you could bake a cake in a wood-burning cast-iron range--that may go a long way to explaining the density of a lot of old cake recipes).
Funny how flavors come into fashion and then go out again. I’ve always liked cloves (including the clove-flavored Necco wafers—remember those? Another old New England brand). The flavor is pungent and distinctive. You’ll note that this recipe uses equal amounts of cinnamon and cloves, but it’s the clove flavor that wins out.
Once again I had to go hunting for a recipe, and found one from a decade ago labeled “100 Year Old Clove Cake.” The list of ingredients is simple, and of course the cake involves a lot of butter and eggs—all the good stuff. But that’s what you had to work with on a farm in 1880. What else were you going to use?
1 cup butter, softened
2 ½ cups white sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups flour
1 Tblsp ground clove
1 Tblsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour milk (okay, ick, but you can add a Tblsp of white vinegar to your whole milk)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and flour a 10” tube pan (I used my favorite vintage pan, which turns out to be precisely the right size—it holds eight cups).
Cream the butter and the sugar together. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add all at once. Blend.
Sift together the flour and the spices.
Stir the baking soda into 1/3 cup of the milk, and add it to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix.
Add the rest of the milk, alternating with the flour mixture.
Pour the mixture into the tube pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely.
|The real home of Olive Barton Warner, and|
site of the Orchard Mysteries
(the kitchen is around back)