Self-frosting Spice-Nut Cake

From another site on the internet, I saw a comment that in the 1960s, the easiest food was the best food. A cake that frosts itself must have seemed like a dream to homemakers who baked a cake every week (or in some cases every day). Not to say that making frosting is difficult, but with the need to cool the cake before icing, it adds to the length of time spent on making the cake. If two steps could be combined into one, all the more time saved. This particular cake has a meringue frosting, which reminds me in some ways of Martha Washington’s Great Cake. That had a merengue layer that was baked onto the cake. It’s an entirely different thing, but that’s how my mind works. :-)

Self-Frosting Spice-Nut Cake

1 1/2 c enriched flour

1/4 teas salt

2 1/2 teas B.P.

1/2 teas cinnamon

1/2 teas nutmeg

1/2 teas allspice

1/2 c shortening

1 c B. sugar

1/2 c milk

1/2 teas vanilla

Sift together twice flour, salt, B.P., & spices. Cream shortening & sugar; beat in egg yolks. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with milk & vanilla. Spread batter in greased 13x9x2 pan.

Nut Icing

Add 1/8 teas salt to 2 egg whites & beat until stiff. Beat in 1/2 of B. Sugar (takes 3/4 c altogether) & fold in remainder. Spread meringue on batter. Sprinkle with chopped nuts (3/4 c). Bake in moderate oven 350 35 minutes


Bran Date & Nut Muffins

Third in a series of bran muffins, today we have Bran Date & Nut muffins. These muffins are intended to be “mini muffins” with the direction to bake them in a gem pan. Gem pans can be configured in a variety of arrangements but they are usually intended to make a dozen or two dozen bite sized muffins. The recipe refers to the dates & nuts having some flour sifted over them. This should help to keep these larger items from sinking to the bottom of the muffin during baking.

Bran Date & Nut Muffins

1/4 c shortening

1/4 c sugar

1 egg

1 c flour

1 c bran

3/4 c milk

2 teas B. P.

1/2 teas salt

2/3 c chopped dates

1/2 c chopped nuts

Cream shortening & sugar, add beaten egg, flour in which B.P. and salt have been sifted, bran & milk. Stir in dates & nuts over which some of the flour has been sifted. Bake 25 min in greased gem pans in hot oven.

Bran Muffins

More bran muffins, this time calling for straight bran. You can use Graham flour or unbolted wheat flour, or even whole wheat flour in a pinch.

Bran Muffins

2 c flour

3 1/2 teas B.P.

1 1/2 teas salt

1/3 c sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 c milk

2 c bran

3 tbs melted shortening

Sift flour, B.P., salt & sugar together. Add milk to beaten egg & add alternately with bran to flour mixture, beating well. Lastly add melted shortening. Put in warm greased muffin pans & bake 35 to 40 minutes in hot oven.

All-Bran Muffins

All-Bran by Kellogg’s, while suggesting it is “all” bran, is actually a cereal made with bran, sugar, malt flavoring and salt. Some vitamins and minerals are added for health benefits. All-Bran was introduced in the USA in 1916. According to the Kellogg’s website, they “invented” bran muffins, but I found a citation at a different recipe that mentioned a bran muffin recipe dating back to 1857. That earlier recipe calls for “bran (unbolted wheat flour).” According to Bob’s Red Mill, unbolted wheat flour contains all the germ, oil and fiber from the wheat kernel, and is commonly called Graham flour. You may not remember this post from a while back where we discussed Graham flour and its interesting origins (itinerant minister, healthy living, saving souls through vegetables & morality). Considering that muffins existed, and Graham flour existed, it is unlikely that Kellogg’s “invented” the bran muffin. They may have popularized it, but the Fannie Farmer cookbook had a recipe for bran muffins in 1907, a gap of 9 years before All-Bran was released. I tend to associate bran muffins with the health food craze of the late 70s and 80s, myself.

All-Bran Muffins

2 tbs short (shortening)

1/4 c sugar

1 egg

1 c sour milk

1 c All-Bran

1 c flour

1/2 teas soda

1 teas B.P.

Cream shortening & sugar, add egg. Mix & sift dry ingredients. To creamed mixture add bran & milk alternately with dry ingredients. Pour into greased muffin tins & bake in a moderate oven 20 minutes. Makes 8 large or 12 small.


Additional Reading

Bran Muffins & some history via New England Recipes

The Original All Bran Muffin Recipe via Kellogg’s

Brown Sugar Cake

These old typed recipe cards were not typed in purple ink. Over the years, the black ink has been damaged by the acids in the paper it was typed onto, and faded to this interesting eggplant purple color. You can tell it was typed on a manual typewriter (as if anything else existed for the longest time!) because the letters vary in where they sit on the line of type. Some are a smidge higher than others. This has to do with the force of the pressure on the key, which in turn mechanically swung an arm up onto the inked ribbon to make the letter appear on the page. If the shift key was depressed, it could cause the whole machine to lurch. Our old manual typewriter would make a big “clunk!” sound when the shift key was released.

Brown Sugar Cake

Measure sifted flour, B.P., & salt into mixing bowl. Measure B. Sugar & add. Measure shortening & milk. Measure vanilla into milk. Add soft shortening & the milk to the dry ingredients. Mix on slow to medium speed on mixer for two minutes by the clock. Add eggs (unbeaten). Continue mixing 2 more minutes by the clock. Total mixing time 4 minutes. Bake in moderate oven 350F 35 to 40 minutes for 8 inch layers or 25 to 30 minutes for 9 inch layers.

2 1/2 c flour 3 teas B. P. 1 teas salt B. Sugar 1 3/4 c packed in cup 1/2 c shortening using part butter for flavor 1 c skimmed milk 1 teas vanilla, 2 large eggs



Brown Sugar Cake

2 1/2 c flour

3 t baking powder

1 t salt

1 3/4 c brown sugar, packed

1/2 c shortening

1 c skimmed milk

1 t vanilla

2 large eggs

Measure sifted flour, baking powder & salt into mixing bowl. Combine. Add brown sugar, combine. Add softened shortening and milk with vanilla in it. Mix on slow to medium speed 2 minutes. Add eggs and continue to mix for 2 minutes.  Pour into 2 greased 8″ cake pans and bake 35-40 minutes at 350. For 9″ pans, bake 25-30 minutes.

Such a tease

I just wanted to share that we have literally hundreds of recipes on deck for scanning and sharing!

There are Jewish recipes, recipes for liver, tongue and veal, two notebooks filled with handwritten pages of recipes…

Plus some fun instructional and commercial books that might be interesting to peruse. Stay tuned for this and more!

Golden Layer Cake

A lovely and simple recipe for a golden layer cake. Notice that all of the ingredients are white, except the eggs. The use of shortening in place of butter helps to preserve the lovely, pale color of the cake. If you used egg whites only, you could produce a lovely white cake. Where there is the notation for “D.A. P. Pow” I am assuming this is a particular brand of baking powder and any type can be substituted. In terms of flavoring, you can go traditional with vanilla, almond or lemon.

Golden Layer Cake

Sift together in a  bowl:

2 1/4 c cake flour

1 1/2 c sugar

2 1/2 teas D. A. B. Pow (baking powder)

1 teas salt


1/2 c shortening

1 teas flavoring

2/3 c milk

Beat 2 min, then add:

1/3 c milk

1/3 to 1/2 c eggs

Beat 2 min more. Temp 350 30 to 35 min


Method: Sift dry ingredients together, add shortening, flavoring and 2/3 c milk. Beat well for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 c milk and eggs. Beat 2 more minutes. Pour into greased 8″ round cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely, then split the cakes. Assemble with your preferred icing.