Hundred-Year-Old Devil’s Food Cake Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, August 3, 1914:   We had chocolate ice cream and devil’s food cake for supper. The ice cream was the remains of yesterday. The cake also.

Devil's Food Cake (Hundred-Year-Old Recipe)

Devil’s Food Cake (Hundred-Year-Old Recipe)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I’m going to repost part of a post that I originally posted on February 27, 2012 (1912) because it seems so appropriate for this diary entry:

Comparison of Hundred-year-old and Modern Recipes for Devil’s Food Cake

I recently bought a 1912 cookbook off eBay. My daughter glanced through it and noticed that the devil’s food cake recipe seemed very different from today’s recipes.

So we decided to compare a devil’s food cake made with a modern recipe with one made using a hundred year old recipe.

In the early 1900s angel food cakes and devils food cakes were seen as the polar opposites—one was white and light; the other dark and heavy.

The cake made with the hundred year old recipe was a dense chocolate spice cake. The recipe called for mashed potatoes (mashed potatoes ?!?!), cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts. It reminded us of gingerbread–though ginger was not an ingredient. I’ve never eaten anything exactly like it—but the cake was very good and I’d make it again.

100 Year-Old-Recipe

Calumet Devil’s Food Cake (Chocolate Spice Cake)

2 cups flour

2 level teaspoons Calumet (or any other brand) baking powder

2 level teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup butter

2 eggs

1 cup warm mashed potatoes

2 squares unsweetened chocolate

1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking pan, 13 X 9 X 2 inches. Melt butter and chocolate. Combine with all of the other ingredients except nuts. Beat until well-blended. Stir in nuts.

Pour into pan. Bake approximately 45-50 minutes or until pick comes out clean.

Adapted from the recipe in Calumet Baking Powder Reliable Recipes (1912)

The modern devil’s food cake recipe that my daughter made was from my Betty Crocker Cookbook. The recipe called for red food coloring—but otherwise seemed similar to other modern chocolate cake recipes. The cake was awesome.

Modern Recipe

Devil’s Food Cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 1/2 teaspoons soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate (cool)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon red food color

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour baking pan, 13x9x2 inches, or two 9-inch or three 8-inch round layer pans. Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend 1/2 minute on low-speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes high-speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan(s).

Bake oblong about 40 minutes, layers 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.

(Recipe suggests using chocolate or cream cheese frosting.)

Devil's Food Cake (Modern Recipe)

Devil’s Food Cake (Modern Recipe)

Spiced Blueberries Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Tuesday, July 28, 1914:  Nothing much these days.

DSC09175

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an old seasonal recipe for Spiced Blueberries. They make an excellent relish to serve with pork and other meats.

Spiced Blueberries

6 pints fresh blueberries

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons whole cloves

Combine blueberries, sugar, and vinegar in 5-quart pan. Put cloves in a cheesecloth bag and add to the mixture. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 25 minutes, or until the liquid begins to jell.*

Remove cheesecloth bag, and ladle into hot pint jars, filling to 1/8 inch of jar top. Wipe jar rim, and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes approximately 4 pints.

*The Portland Preserve website has a nice description of how to tell when the jellying point has been reached.

Old-Fashioned Black Raspberry Cobbler Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, July 12, 1914:  Went to Sunday school this afternoon. Besse and Curt were out this evening.

Black Raspberry Cobbler

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma’s sister Besse and her husband Curt lived in nearby Watsontown, and probably came out to the farm on a pleasant summer evening. Did the family sit on the porch and chat about everything—and nothing?

I bet they ate some dessert while they chatted . . . probably something made with fresh fruit.

My black raspberries are ripe, so maybe they had something with black raspberries. . . maybe Black Raspberry Cobbler.

Black Raspberry Cobbler

1 quart (4cups) black raspberries

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450° F. Combine sugar and 2 tablespoons flour, and mix with the raspberries. Put into a 2 quart dish. In a separate bowl combine 1 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or two knives. Add all the milk at once, and stir with a fork until the dough clings together. Pat pieces the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and place on top of fruit mixture. When all of the dough is used, most of the top of the fruit will be covered, but there should be gaps here and there so the steam can escape. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 325 ° F and continue cooking until berries are hot and bubbly, and the crust is lightly browned. Serve warm.

 

Old-fashioned Strawberry Muffins (Strawberry Cups) Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, June 20, 1914: Am having quite a time working these days. Hardly take time to eat my dinner.

strawberry muffins

strawberry muffinHer middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma sure has been keeping busy picking strawberries. I hope that she was well paid for her hard work.

What did she have for her rushed dinner? . . . well, she probably was eating seasonal foods, so maybe one food was Strawberry Muffins.

The June, 1914 issue of Good Housekeeping had a recipe for Strawberry Muffins–though back then they were called “Strawberry Cups”.  Here it is—slightly adapted for modern cooking methods and ovens.

Strawberry Muffins (Strawberry Cups)

Preheat oven to 400° F. Separate two eggs; beat the yolks and add one cup of milk, one-half teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of melted butter. Add two teaspoons of baking powder and one and a half cups of flour, and beat well. In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until stiff, then fold the whites into the batter. Put a tablespoon of the batter in each of 12 muffin pan cups. Add a layer of thinly sliced strawberries; then fill the cups two-thirds full of batter, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Best when served warm.

Old-fashioned Strawberry Tapioca Recipe

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, June 13, 1914:  This is Saturday. Not much doing.

Strawberry Tapioca

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an old seasonal recipe that I really like. Strawberry Tapioca combines the classic taste of tapioca pudding with the wonderful taste and texture of fresh strawberries.

Strawberry Tapioca

1/2 cup small pearl tapioca

2 cups water

2 1/2 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups thinly sliced strawberries

Soak tapioca in room temperature water overnight. Drain.

Heat milk (preferably in double boiler) until warm, add drained tapioca and milk. Cover, turn heat to very low and cook for one hour. Stir occasionally. Watch to make sure that the mixture doesn’t boil. (It will boil over very easily—and also has a tendency to burn on the pan bottom if care is not used).

Beat egg yolks and sugar together. Add a little of the hot mixture to the egg mixture and blend thoroughly. Then add the egg mixture to the hot milk mixture, stirring constantly. Reheat over medium heat and cook while stirring until tapioca mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into hot tapioca mixture. Stir in vanilla, and then gently stir the sliced strawberries into the hot tapioca. Chill and then serve.

Makes 7 – 8 servings

Old-Fashioned Raisin Filled Cookies Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:

Wednesday, January 14, 1914:  Did some experimenting in the baking line this afternoon. Didn’t turn out so bad either. That’s ‘bout all I can think of at present.

DSC08738.b

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma—

What did you make?  Maybe some Raisin Filled Cookies? I remember that we often had them during the winter when I was a kid. They made the perfect after-school snack on cold winter days.

Old-fashioned Raisin Filled Cookies

Filling

3/4 cup raisins

2/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2/3 cup water

Combine all filling ingredients and cook over medium heat until thick.

Cookie

1/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine shortening, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and soda; then stir in flour. Roll thin and cut into cookies using a round cutter. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Put a spoonful of filling (don’t overfill) in center of cookie. Top with another cookie that has a small circle cut in the center. Firmly press edges together.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until cookie is lightly browned.

I have a set of round fondant cut-out cutters. I used the large cutter to make the cookies—and then cut the hole in the center of the top cookies using the small cutter.

When I was a child we made cookies that were a little larger. We used a doughnut cutter that had a removable hole cutter.  We removed the hole cutter to make the bottom cookie.

Rivel Soup (Potato Soup with Small Dumplings) Recipe

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, January 6, 1914:  Nothing much doing.

Rivel Soup

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

It’s cold here! I like to make old-fashioned hearty soups, like Rivel Soup, on icy days like today. I wonder if the Muffly’s regularly ate soup during the winter months.

Here’s an old recipe of Rivel Soup. It is a potato soup with small dumplings (rivels).

My family often ate this soup when I was a child. I didn’t like it back then, but now my husband and enjoy this nuanced and mild, yet delectable, soup.

Rivel Soup

4 medium-sized potatoes, diced into very small pieces

water

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 cups milk

1 cup cream

salt

crumbled crisp bacon

Put the diced potatoes in a large saucepan and just barely cover with water. Cook diced potatoes in water until soft. Add butter and milk.

Meanwhile, to make rivels, combine flour and egg in a bowl.  Drop rivels, which are no larger than a raisin, into the boiling potato mixture, while periodically stirring to prevent the rivels from sticking together.

Cook 5 minutes. Add cream and salt to taste; reheat until hot.  Put into serving bowls and garnish with bacon.

4 servings

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