I have moved temporarily to my great grandmother’s cookbook – “Rumford Complete Cookbook,” published in 1908. Rumford, from the Rumford baking powder company. I’ve never heard of Rumford baking powder. I’ve always used Calumet. Perhaps I just never noticed it in the store.
At any rate, this cookbook was originally my great grandmother’s mother’s book – so my great great grandmother’s. I wanted to start trying these recipes just to see if they were as good as our recipes today. This is my first attempt, and it is pretty good. However, it calls for molasses which gives the cake a more spice cake flavor vs. the coffee taste I was expecting. But it is still really good.
The challenge in using these old recipes is the instructions. The assumptions are different today, so there is some guesswork involved. I will type the instructions verbatim, but also add what I ended up doing.
Coffee Layer Cake
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup mollasses
1/2 cup made coffee
2 cups flour (I used gluten-free all purpose flour – with xanthan gum to keep flour together. The package says to use 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour for cakes)
1/2 teaspoon mixed spices (Mixed spices???? I used what I had – apple pie spice – which yesterday I thought said, “Apple Allspice.” Typical. Note to self: pick up some allspice at the store.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Rumford baking powder (I used Calumet)
Beat the butter and sugar till creamy; add the eggs, then the molasses and coffee and, lastly, the flour, salt, spices and baking powder sifted together. Bake in layers about twenty minutes, and put together with frosting.
At the beginning of the cake chapter, it said most cakes require a moderately hot oven, but should not bake too quickly at first. As soon as the cake has risen well, the heat may be increased a little to give it a good crust. SO, I started with 350 degrees and then bumped it up to about 375 after the cake rose and got a little firm.
Oh, and here’s my favorite part. The instructions said to test the doneness of the cake with a broom straw. A BROOM straw???? I hope the assumption was a NEW one vs. one from the one you use on the floor.
I used a toothpick, thank you.
And miraculously it finished baking after 20 minutes. Which I found amazing because my oven it not very accurate with the temperature.
Mocha Filling and Frosting
6 tablespoons butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons dry cocoa
3 tablespoons liquid coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat the butter to a cream, adding one cup of the sugar; then sift and add the cocoa. Beat well, put in the coffee and remaining sugar, and then the vanilla. Spread between and on top of the layers of cake.