Monday, January 2, 2017

A 107-Year-Old Recipe to Ring in the New Year!


For New Year's Eve, I usually like to make an extravagant dessert. But I ran across this cake on Pinterest, posted by Katy at . She found it on another blog. Amazingly, it's from a 1910 McCall's cookbook! I had to try it.

I generally follow the directions the first time I make a recipe. But the instructions threw me for a little loop because the butter and sugar weren't creamed like they are for most cakes. Hmm. So I studied it a bit and decided to try it their way. The sugar, flour, and baking powder are sifted together and then beaten with the softened butter and liquids. I expected a lumpy bumpy mess. It worked beautifully. You won't believe the smooth luscious batter.

Except for the sifting, it's almost a dump cake. Unbelievably easy. In fact, I would recommend this for beginner bakers. Just be sure to use softened butter and do the sifting, and it should come out great.

The recipe called for using a hand mixer, but I made it in my KitchenAid stand mixer, so my instructions are for that.

The recipe calls for 8-inch cake pans, but that's one size I don't have. I baked it in two 9-inch cake pans and that worked fine. One more great thing about this cake is that I was able to cut and serve it immediately after frosting it. So this is a great choice if you're in a hurry. Easy to bake and no set-up time. That may vary depending on the frosting you use, though.

Katy used a Hershey's frosting, but I used one my mom's favorites that is made with whipping cream. This cake is neutral in a lovely sort of way, and I kept thinking it would make a great birthday cake. You could use whatever frosting the birthday girl or boy likes best and dress it up with fun sprinkles or M&Ms. I had a few sugar pearls left over from Christmas cookies so I just sprinkled them randomly to dress it up a bit.

Old Fashioned Butter Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1  1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch cake pans. I used parchment paper on the bottoms.

Sift the flour and measure two cups of it. Place the SOFTENED butter in a mixing bowl. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt over it. Add the milk and vanilla. Using the paddle insert, stir on the lowest speed until it begins to blend. Then raise the speed and beat about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides, add the eggs and beat another two minutes. Pour into the cake pans. Bake 25 - 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack.

Mocha Frosting

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup high quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour the coffee into the cream and stir to dissolve. Pour into mixing bowl. Beat until it just begins to take shape, then add powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Beat until it holds a peak.

Spread over one layer of the cake. Top with the other layer and frost the sides and top.

Coming February 7th!


  1. This sounds delicious! It's nice to know that earlier generations knew what they were doing (they must have done a lot of baking!). I have a vintage (yup, flea market) sifter that's more than large enough for all the dry ingredients in a two-layer cake like this, and I use it a lot.

    1. My sifter isn't vintage but it does the job. It's a bit of a hand workout, though. I think the earlier generations were expected to serve cake to guests. But they had to beat the batter by hand! Eeek!

  2. I always stirred my cake batters by hand. It was just easier for me. I can only go back 50 years to the first cake I baked but, dry ingredients were always sifted and added to wet ingredients slowly and there was no such thing as a stand mixer. lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    1. Linda, I usually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones as well, which is why this recipe seemed backward to me. Stand mixers have certainly changed things. Thank goodness for them!

    2. I have no idea when stand mixers were invented (maybe the serving girl or the eldest daughter stood by a contraption and turned a crank manually?). But I was reminded of the antique apple peeler I saw an a flea market a while back, said to come from a hotel kitchen. It was cast iron and about three feet wide in any direction, with lots of gears and handles--and it peeled one apple at a time. Makes you wonder what they were thinking back in the day.

  3. My favorite cake was always yellow with chocolate frosting.
    This sounds perfect.
    The randomly scattered pearls are a nice finishing touch.

  4. I have a strange aversion to mixers and the like, so hand sifting, hand mixing and such are the norm for me. Love the recipe and cant wait for the new release!!

  5. I am sorry that the holidays are over or I would make it tomorrow. I will keep the recipe safe so I can try it the next time I need a cake!

  6. Sounds and looks good thanks for sharing the recipe. I love those old cookbooks
    Penney penneyw(at)