Walnut Chocolate Cake Recipe

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

Monday, June 23, 1913:  Nothing much doing.

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today I’m going to go back to a post I did almost two years ago on August 13, 1911. That post was about the difficulty of interpreting old cake recipes using modern techniques, ingredients, and stoves.

The post included a lovely picture of Walnut Chocolate Cake from Lowney’s Cookbook (1907)—but I didn’t actually make the cake. 

Somehow every time I flipped through the Lowney’s Cookbook that picture kept pulling me back. It felt like I’d wimped out—and that I still had some unfinished business with that recipe.

So I finally gave in—took a deep breath and made a stab at interpreting the Walnut Chocolate Cake recipe for modern cooks.  Here are the results of my efforts:

Walnut Chocolate Cake

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups flour

2/3  cup milk

1 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup walnuts, chopped (+ whole walnuts to decorate top of cake)

Chocolate buttercream frosting

Vanilla buttercream frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 X 8 inch cake pans. If desired, line with waxed paper to make it easier to get the cakes out of the pans.

Combine all ingredients except walnuts and icings, and beat with electric mixer until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (reserve remaining walnuts).

Evenly divide the batter between the two pans. Bake until done (approximately 30 minutes).

Remove cakes from pans while still warm (approximately 15 minutes after removing from oven). After the cakes are cooled put one cake on a plate and thinly spread with chocolate frosting.  Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of chopped walnuts on top of the chocolate frosting.

Top with the second cake layer. Ice with the vanilla frosting. Decorate with whole walnuts.

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The bottom line: The cake was heavier than the typical modern cake—but delicious, and well worth the effort of trying to interpret the old recipe.

Creamed Asparagus on Toast

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

Monday, May 12, 1913:  No important events to record.

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

Did Grandma do any “unimportant” things a hundred years ago today? Did she help her mother with the cooking? If so, did they eat asparagus or any other fresh, seasonal vegetables?

Yesterday I bought some asparagus at the store. It was good, but not as tasty as the wild asparagus that I remember finding in fence rows when I was a small child.

We often only found a few tender shoots, and to make the delicacy go further, we’d cream it and serve it on toast.

Creamed Asparagus on Toast

1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

toast

Put asparagus into small saucepan; cover with water; bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. In a frying pan, melt butter. Stir the flour into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. If mixture is too thick, add a little more milk. Gently add the asparagus and bring back to a boil; remove from heat. Serve over toast.

Yield: 3 – 4 servings

An aside—Does anyone remember the book by Euell Gibbons called Stalking the Wild Asparagus? The author lived in central Pennsylvania when I was a teen, and— though I never met him—it seemed exciting to have a minor celebrity living in the general area.

Baked Rhubarb with Orange

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

Friday, May 2, 1913: My thoughts this evening are hardly worth writing about.

rhubarb with orange

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

Grandma—There must have been something worth writing a hundred years ago today. Did you ever try the menus that were published in Good Housekeeping magazine?may.1913.menu

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One of the foods listed on the May 3, 1913 menu is Baked Rhubarb with Orange.  .

Baked Rhubarb with Orange

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

5 cups Rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces

3 oranges

Preheat oven to 375°. In a small bowl combine the sugar, mace, cloves, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Wash the oranges, and pare off the peel thinly; coarsely chop and then set aside. Remove white inner skin and seeds from oranges and halve.  Slice halved oranges.

In a large bowl combine the rhubarb, sliced oranges, chopped orange peel, and sugar mixture.  Put into a 2-quart baking dish.

Bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until the mixture is hot and bubbly—and the rhubarb is tender.

Serve hot or cold.

Adapted from recipe in Good Housekeeping (May, 1913)

This dish is excellent. The orange peel and spices nicely balance the tartness of the rhubarb.

According to the old Good Housekeeping magazine:

Rhubarb thus prepared keeps well, and is good morning, noon, and night. As a breakfast relish, nothing is finer than a very tiny saucer of it.

Previous posts with other rhubarb recipes include:

Stewed Rhubarb (Rhubarb Sauce)

Rhubarb Sponge Pie

Rhubarb Pudding

Old-Fashioned Chocolate-Covered Coconut Egg Recipe

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

Saturday, March 22, 1913: Didn’t do so very much today.

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

In 1913 Easter was on March 23, so this was the day before Easter. Did the Muffly’s make Chocolate-Covered Coconut Eggs?

It was an Easter tradition when I was a child to make Chocolate-Covered Coconut Eggs. We’d start with a coconut and first tap holes with a nail and drain the coconut milk—and then break the coconut apart and get the meat out. We used an old metal grinder to grate the coconut.

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The freshly grated coconut and coconut milk gives the candy a wonderfully fresh taste.

Chocolate-Covered Coconut Eggs

3 pounds confectioners’ sugar

1/2 pound grated fresh coconut

1/4 pound butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

coconut milk

melted confectioners’ chocolate*

Combine all ingredients except chocolate. Add just enough coconut milk to make a soft dough; shape into small eggs and place on cookie sheets or plates that have been covered with waxed paper. Let dry overnight. Coat with melted chocolate. Store in refrigerator.

*Coating can be made by melting and stirring together 1/4 pound paraffin and 1 pound sweet chocolate

Makes approximately 50 pieces of candy.

 

Old Honey Candy Recipe

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

Friday, March 7, 1913: Ruth and I went to a candy box social up at Smith’s School House tonight. We walked up but rode home with her cavalier.

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

Whew, it must have been a  2 or 3 mile walk to Smith School. I think that the school was located  out in the country near the intersection of Vincent Road and 8th Street Drive.

This was the third time that a box social has been mentioned in 1913. They must have been really popular back then. It sounds like the box social went well for Grandma’s sister Ruth. I wonder who got Grandma’s box of candy.

What kinds of candy did the Grandma and Ruth make? Here’s an old recipe for Honey Candy that I found in the December, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

Honey Candy

One quart of honey, three heaping teaspoonfuls of butter, two tablespoonfuls of vinegar, half a teaspoonful of baking soda, and two teaspoonfuls of lemon extract. Put the honey, butter, and vinegar into a saucepan, and boil until the mixture will harden when dropped into cold water; then stir in the baking soda and the lemon extract. Pour into a buttered tin to cool. When half cold mark into squares and when cold break apart.

The candy turned out well, but has a different taste from the typical corn syrup-based hard candy of today. It is a rich buttery hard candy with concentrated honey undertones. It’s the perfect candy to satisfy my sweet tooth–without making me want to eat a second piece.

This mixture boils at a low temperature. Most of the time, I had it on the low setting on my stove to keep it from boiling over.

It takes a long time to get the boiling mixture to the hard crack stage (300 degrees). I boiled it for about 1 1/2 hours.

You may also enjoy these previous posts with old candy recipes:

Old-fashioned Sugar Taffy Recipe

Old Cocoa Fudge Recipe

1911 Chocolate Fudge Recipes

Old-fashioned Butterscotch Recipe

Old-fashioned  Coffee Candy Recipe

Sour Cream Fudge

Old Scalloped Celery and Eggs Recipe

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

Tuesday, February 18, 1913: Please excuse me for today. I haven’t much material to write about.

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

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’ll share a hundred-year-old recipe for Scalloped Celery and Eggs.

 Scalloped Celery and Eggs

2 cups diced celery

1/4 cup diced onion

4 hard-cooked eggs

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

1/2 cup celery stock

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Dice celery and onion, then simmer until tender in water to cover. Reserve one-half cup of the liquid (celery stock). Melt butter in a frying pan, stir in flour and seasonings. Gradually stir in reserved celery stock and milk to make a sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the cooked celery and onions, and put a layer in a buttered baking-dish (I used a 1 1/2 quart dish–it might have fit into a 1 quart dish, but I was worried that it would boil over.); chop the eggs, sprinkle on a light layer, add more celery, continuing until the dish is filled. Cover with the buttered crumbs, and bake in a moderate oven (375°) until browned.

Makes 4-5 servings

Adapted from recipe in the November, 1913 issue of Ladies Home Journal

I’ve enjoying rediscovering celery this winter. Celery was a popular winter vegetable a hundred years ago. It was easy to transport and store.

I’ve also discovered that celery and egg combinations were very popular years ago. You might enjoy this previous post:

Old-Fashioned Celery Chowder Recipe

Hundred-Year-Old Recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

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

Monday, February 3, 1913: It was simply enchanting this morning. The snow came down in fluffy flakes. It was an unusual sight. Had a pain this morning. Guess four dishes of ice cream was most too much for my capacity.

van.ice.cream

Caption: Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce Plate XX. For Receipt see pages 247 and 299. Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

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

The previous day the Muffly’s made ice cream. It must have tasted really, really good if Grandma ate four dishes (even if she’s paying for her indulgence).  Maybe she ate it with warm chocolate sauce.

Here is a hundred-year-old recipe for vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce:

Vanilla Ice Cream

4 cups milk

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/3 teaspoon salt

This is the simplest and cheapest ice cream made. One pint of cream added is an improvement.

Scald the milk in double boiler. Mix eggs, sugar and salt; added scalded milk to them; return to double boiler and cook until mixture thickens and is of a smooth and creamy consistency.

Strain into a cold dish. Add vanilla and cool before putting mixture in ice cream freezer.

Chocolate Sauce

2 ounces Lowney’s  Premium Chocolate

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cook all the ingredients except vanilla twelve minutes; add vanilla, and serve hot. This sauce is especially good served with Vanilla Ice Cream.

Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Lowney’s Cook Book was published by a company that made baking chocolate. I assume that any brand of unsweetened chocolate could be substituted for the Lowney’s Premium Chocolate in the chocolate sauce recipe.

For more old ice cream recipes and related information see:

Old-time Vanilla Ice Cream Recipes (These recipes are different than the one above. It’s interesting to see the variation in the old recipes.)

Hundred-year-old Chocolate and Fruit Ice Cream Recipes

Old Lemon Water Ice Recipe

Old Ice Cream Freezer Advertisement

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