Doughnut Recipe (May 3, 1928)

A rather pedestrian card on the front but so interesting on the back! Imagine my delight to find this unusual portrait on the back of a recipe clipping. The date was Thursday May 3, 1928. A flourish separates the date from the drawing. Was it a family member? a self portrait? We can never know, but this is one of the many reasons I love vintage recipe cards. You really get a glimpse into people, don’t you?

The recipe also makes me ask some questions about historical context:

  1. When was the hand mixer invented? Would the person have used one of those hand-cranked egg beater things to cream the shortening? I ask because I think the electric hand mixer was invented in the 40s or 50s, or at least was not widely commercially available for housewives before that time. My mother remembers her mother being given one and it was a really “new fangled” item at the time. This might have been in the 1940s – she said Gram was always an early adopter of new technology and that Grandma Alice gave it to Gram for a gift. Grandma Alice died in 1952, so it had to have been before that time.
  2. What was “absorbent paper”? Paper towels were invented in 1931, so this recipe predates what we today think of as absorbent paper. The Scott Paper Company did make toilet paper in the late 19th century, so it is possible that was what they intended I suppose, but I really don’t know. For the record, schools, train stations and municipal buildings used those roller towels in their bathrooms – like a long piece of cloth that just wound over the roller in a big circle. I can remember using one somewhere and hating it because it was damp from other people drying their hands. Yuck. The germs they must have spread!

Doughnut Recipe

A good standard recipe is as follows:

1/2 teacup shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

3 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

Extra flour

Cream shortening and sugar, blending them thoroughly together. Then add beaten egg. Measure and sift together the flour and other dry ingredients, and add alternately with milk to sugar mixture. Beat well and add enough more flour to make a soft dough. Toss on floured board, roll to one-fourth inch in thickness and cut in desired shapes. Fry in deep fat at 360 degrees until brown. Drain on absorbent paper. When cool, roll in sugar.

Date & Nut Cake

The recipe for Philly Frosting would work nicely on the top of this cake. It seems like it could be dry or not have a lot of flavoring because it is literally dates & nuts together. Often you see cinnamon or other spices in a date cake. This is going to be a white cake with dates & nuts. For the flavoring, I recommend vanilla. I’m going to rewrite the method down below because it’s a bit confusing as written.

Date & Nut Cake

1 pkg dates (10 oz)

1 tsp soda

1 cup boiling water

4 tablespoon shortening

cup sugar

1 2/3 flour

1 egg well beaten

1/2 teas salt

1 tsp flavoring (vanilla)

1/2 cup nut meats

Pit a quarter dates, add soda and pour over this the boiling water, let cool, cream shortening, add the sugar gradually, and continue creaming until well blended. Add the well beaten egg. Sift flour once before measuring. Sift flour & salt together and add alternating with date mixture. Add the flavoring & nuts. Pour into well greased & floured pan & bake 40 min 350 F. 9″ square tin.


Pit a quarter of the dates (2 1/2 oz) and chop them in chunks. Put into a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda over them, then pour the boiling water of all. While this is cooling, cream the shortening and add the sugar gradually. Cream until well blended. Add the well-beaten egg. Sift the flour and salt together. Add this to the shortening mixture alternately with the dates. Add in the vanilla & nuts, blend until well combined but do not over mix. Spray a 9″ square pan with baking spray. Pour in mixture. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick before removing from oven.

Frosted Lime Walnut Salad

A lime jello dish. I really can’t say much about it because I don’t really like these, but I know they were tremendously popular. I can admit, they looked pretty when turned out on a plate of lettuce.

Frosted Lime Walnut Salad

1 pkg lime jello

1 c boiling water

1 #2 can crushed pineapple

1 c small curd cottage cheese

1/2 c finely sliced celery

1/2 c chopped walnuts

Dissolve gelatine in boiling water. Cool til syrupy. Stir in remaining ingredients. Turn into 8x11x4 loaf pan. Chill. When firm unmold or leave in pan; frost top & decorate with walnuts.

Frosting –

Blend & beat until smooth, 1 3 oz pkg cream cheese, 1 tbs mayonnaise, 1 teas lemon juice

Philly Frosting

I make a frosting similar to this but with more cream cheese and no milk. This would be nice on any of the spice cakes you make this holiday season. when making frosting with powdered sugar, I recommend adding the sugar a little at a time to prevent the billowing of the fine particles, or covering your mixer with a tea towel. It sure helps at clean up time!

Just for fun, note the phone number of the business: Long Beach 612-61. I looked up the address and it’s a storage lot for shipping containers now.

Philly Frosting

1 3 oz package cream cheese

1 tbs milk

2 1/3 c sifted confectioners sugar

1/2 teas vanilla

Devils Food Cake

Devils food is usually a moist and delicious chocolate cake. This recipe follows the “new” method espoused in the 1950s for sifting dry, then adding wet ingredients. I have several other devils food cake recipes posted on the site. You can find them by searching, or just browse the “cake” category, although that would probably distract me with all the other lovely options. :-)

Devils Food Cake

Sift together in bowl

1 3/4 sifted flour

1 1/2 c sugar

1 teas B Pow

1/2 teas soda

1 teas salt


1/2 c shortening

2/3 c milk

Beat 2 minutes


1/3 c milk

1/3 to 1/2 c eggs

2 squares unsweetened chocolate (I assume melted)

Beat 2 minutes more

350 temp

30 to 35 min

Butterscotch Wafers

Today’s recipe for Butterscotch Wafers reminds me how much of cooking is chemistry. Why, you ask? Well, this recipe calls for cream of tartar. Many recipes that use egg whites also call for cream of tartar, but many of us don’t know why. It’s just something about making the egg whites rise nicely, right? So I did a little searching, and as it turns out, cream of tartar is a really interesting compound. The chemical name is potassium bitartrate and is a byproduct of wine making and the processing of grape juice. It has been called “wine diamonds” in the past as the crystalized potassium bitartrate would cling to the underside of a cork in certain conditions. Cream of tartar is derived from these crystals. In baking, cream of tartar is an acid that can help to stabilize egg whites or whipped cream when beating, or even be used as a household cleaner when mixed with something acidic such as lemon juice. The cream of tartar changes the ph of egg whites just enough to stabilize the proteins when egg whites are whipped into a foam, thereby allowing the oxygen that has been beaten into the whites to remain sturdy. The resulting baked items (angel food cake, merengues, etc) will be more glossy, white, and airy. Be sure to click through the links after the recipe for more information.

I find it really funny after that chemistry lesson to read that the recipe does NOT have you mix the cream of tartar into the egg mixture, but instead add it to the dry ingredients. I wonder how it would be different if you made that switch. I suspect however, that it is being used to prevent the sugars from crystalizing during baking, which is another use of cream of tartar.

Butterscotch Wafers

2 c brown sugar

3/4 c shortening

2 eggs

1 teas soda

1 teas cream of tartar

3/4 teas salt

3 c flour

Cream shortening. Work in sugar gradually. Beat in eggs. Continue beating until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients. Add to first mixture. Shape into 2 rolls about 2 inches in diameter. Place in ice box over night. When ready to bake, cut in thin slices. Bake at 350 degrees F (moderate oven) for about 10 minutes.



Additional Information

What is cream of tartar via

Potassium bitartrate via wikipedia

What is it and how to use it via


This recipe for Haystacks had me turning to the internet for more information. The mystery: what exactly is corn soya? As it turns out, corn soya was one version of “fameal” a wheat/soy or corn/soy blend mixed together for a nutritious (?) base product that can be made into other things such as bread, and distributed as part of hunger aid programs around the world. It came into use in 1949 in food-aide programs under the US Agriculture Act of 1949. The mixture can be made into porridge, used to replace flour in bread recipes, dumplings and cookies.

The Kellogg’s company thought corn soya would make a great breakfast cereal, so in the 1950s, they used this base product to make a stick-like cereal. Picture the fried won ton sticks you get at a Chinese restaurant and it might have been similar to that. Online commenters who ate Corn Soya Shreds during the 1950s say it was sweet and delicious. I have seen other recipes for Haystacks using chow mien noodles, but keep in mind they would not be sweet like the original corn soya cereal.


1/2 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c dark corn syrup (Karo)

1/4 teas salt

6 tbs water

1 tbs butter

2 1/4 c corn soya shreds

1/2 c peanuts

Combine sugars, corn syrup, salt, water & butter. Cook, stirring until sugars are dissolved. Continue cooking, stirring only to prevent burning, until temperature of 245 is reached (cold water test) (firm ball but not hard). Remove from heat, add corn soya shreds and peanuts. Mix thoroughly. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet & shape into peaks.



Additional Information

Corn Soya Cereal via

Fameal via wikipedia