17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Saturday, September 14, 1912: I made a cake this afternoon with mater’s assistance. She did the baking and put him together. It got real nice.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
If Grandma’s mother put “him” together and baked him, it sounds like she did most of the work. What did Grandma do? Maybe she found the recipe . . .
It’s interesting that Grandma gave the cake a gender—I would have referred to the cake as “it”.
When I try to replicate one-hundred-year-old cake recipes, I find that I need to make a lot of adaptations—as compared to candy recipes which haven’t changed much.
A hundred years ago cakes were made in wood or coal stoves with ovens that had difficult to regulate temperatures. Baking powder was a “new-fangled” product and had not yet standardized across brands. And, recipes had not yet been standardized for 9” X 13” cake pans.
You might enjoy some of previous posts about cakes: