In honor of Nate going back to school, his internet recital and the fact that it is Sabbath tonight I baked a cake today.
My family calls it an Almond cake, but the book my mother got it from calls it a “Plain Cake.”
The book is “The New England Butt’ry Shelf Cookbook Receipts for Very Special Occasions” by Mary Mason Campbell. I can’t find the book through Amazon or Powell’s, but I could find a few used copies through Abebooks (Abebooks is a very good source for rare and obscure books). It is a very charming book with illustrations by Tasha Tudor. I suspect the illustrations are what first attracted my mother’s eye. I remember when I was growing up how much we loved the Corgiville Fair.
The recipe itself is very straightforward, but the author made it very awkward by writing it out in a conversational format. It is so much easier when the ingredients are plainly laid out at the beginning and then followed by clear step by step instructions. So I redid the recipe and laid it out in the more traditional format for your enjoyment.
3 eggs separated
¾ cup sugar with 2 tbl reserved
1/3 cup brandy or cognac
¼ tsp almond extract
¾ cup sifted cake flour
¾ cup finely ground blanched almonds
¼ lb melted and cooled butter
1/8 tsp salt
Beat the 3 egg yolks until light. Gradually add the sugar (minus the 2 tbl) and again beat until light. Add the brandy and almond extract. Then with a wooden spoon lightly beat into this mixture the flour. Then mix in the ground almonds. Once mixed, stir in lightly the melted butter.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the reserved sugar to the egg whites and beat until stiff.
Now lightly fold the whites into the batter. Pour the batter into a greased and floured bundt pan*. Bake the cake at 350 for about 30 minutes. The cake should be golden brown and the top springs back when you lightly touch it.
Cool the cake for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out. Place it on a pretty plate and dust it with powdered sugar. Cut into thin slices, as the cake is very rich.
*This link is a neat little history on the origins of the bundt pan. I love how the pan was developed at the request of the members of the Minneapolis Center of the Hadassah Society.
And here is the finished product.
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.