Mocha Layer Cake (Sour Cream Cake with Mocha Filling)

The early 1900’s were the heyday of decadent layer cakes with wonderful fillings, so when I recently needed to make a birthday cake, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a hundred-year-old cake recipe. Then I had the hard (but fun) job of deciding which old recipe to make. Should I make a white cake with a rich caramel filling?  . . .or a chocolate cake with a whipped cream filling?  . . .  or a white cake with a chocolate filling?  . . . or a cake with a fruit filling? , . . or . . . ?

I finally selected a delightful recipe for Mocha Layer Cake. This really is a recipe for a Sour Cream Cake with a delightful Mocha Filling; and, as I interpreted it, a White Frosting to top everything off.

The Sour Cream Cake not as airy as many modern cakes, but it had a wonderful flavor and consistency, and was tender and rich. The hints of coffee and chocolate in the Mocha Filling were nuanced and mild  in the assembled cake.

Here’s the original recipes:

Source: Tried and True Cook Book Published by the The Willing Workers, The Minneapolis [MN] Incarnation Parish (1910)
Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here are the recipes updated for modern cooks:

Mocha Layer Cake (Sour Cream Cake with Mocha Filling

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Sour Cream Cake

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans; line with waxed paper or parchment paper, then grease again and lightly flour. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl; beat until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the cake pans, dividing evenly between the two pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.

Mocha Filling

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons strong coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons cocoa

1 teaspoon melted butter

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.; beat until smooth.

White Frosting

3 cups confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2+ tablespoons cream

Combine all ingredients; Beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. Slowly add more cream if too thick. (I used a total of about 4 tablespoons of cream.)

To assemble cake:

Put one cake layer upside down (so that the top surface is flat) on serving plate; spread with the Mocha Filling. Top with the second cake layer, right side up. Ice cake with white frosting.

Southern Golden Fleece (Cream Cheese and Eggs) Recipe

Scrambled eggs are always good, but sometimes when I make them for the fourth time in less than a month, they begin to seem boring – so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe with a “new” twist and an intriguing name to boot.  Southern Golden Fleece is made with cream cheese and eggs, and is silky and rich.

It surprised me that Southern Golden Fleece is made using just one dish, and cooked in the oven.  Apparently the recipe author did not want to end up with a stack of dirty dishes.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1915)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Southern Golden Fleece (Cream Cheese and Eggs)

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup whipping cream

5 eggs

salt and cayenne (red) pepper

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put cream cheese and cream in a large casserole dish. (A 2-quart dish works well and leaves lots of space for stirring and beating).  Place in oven for about 5 minutes or until the cream cheese is soft; remove from oven and blend using a fork.  Break the eggs on top of the cheese mixture, and stir until combined. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper. Put lid on dish and return to the oven. Bake until the egg whites begin to set (5-8 minutes); then beat for 2 minutes. Cover and return to oven and cook until the eggs are set (3-5 additional minutes). Remove from oven, and put in serving dish. Serve immediately.

Creamed Radishes

I have a plethora of radishes – most slightly past their prime. The recent hot weather has made them grow quickly, and they are rapidly becoming large and bitter. So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Creamed Radishes that began with the following sentence, “For this radishes which are a little larger than those desired to eat may be used,” I knew that it was a recipe that I had to try.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Creamed Radishes turned out. They were soft and easy to cut when my fork, and the cream sauce nicely balanced the cooked radishes’ mild tangy zing.

That said, I was surprised and disappointed that radishes lose their lovely red color when boiled. The cooked radishes were pale pink – and a few were so faded that they were almost beige.

I’ve already made this recipe twice, so Creamed Radishes definitely are a vegetable that my husband and l enjoy. Perhaps the reason this dish is not popular is because of its homely color, but if you can get past the color, it is definitely worth a try.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Ladies Home Journal (June, 1918)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creamed Radishes

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 bunches of radishes (about 2 cup after the  leaves and roots are cut off)

water

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

Wash the radishes and cut off the leaves and root, but do not pare off the red skin. Put radishes in a saucepan and cover with water. Add salt and bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 25 minutes), then drain.

In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Gently stir in the cooked radishes. Remove from heat and serve.

Old-fashioned Strawberry Bavarian Cream

Now that the weather is getting hot – and strawberries are in season – I wanted to find a recipe for a tasty and refreshing strawberry dessert.  I searched through my hundred-year-old cookbooks, and I think I found the perfect recipe. Strawberry Bavarian Cream is creamy and cool, and it made a beautiful presentation.

This recipe was in a 1905 church cookbook from Berwick, Pennsylvania published by “The Ladies of Directory No. 2 of the Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.”  I’m very curious how the cooks who made this recipe in the early 20th century chilled this dessert. Most won’t have had a refrigerator; perhaps they refrigerated the Strawberry Bavarian Cream in an ice box chilled with a block of ice, or maybe this recipe was often made during the winter months using strawberries that had been canned the previous summer.

Regardless of how cooks in 1905 kept the Strawberry Bavarian Cream cold, this silky, delectable dessert is a winner. I know that I’ll make it again in the near future.

Here’s the original recipes:

Source: Berwick (PA) Cook Book No. 2, The Ladies of Directory No.2 of the Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1905)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Strawberry Bavarian Cream

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 envelopes (0.25 ounce each) of unflavored gelatin

1/3 cup cold water

1 cup boiling water

1 quart fresh strawberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

Place the cold water in a bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let sit for one-half hour.

In the meantime, slice strawberries into a bowl; add sugar and stir to combine. (Reserve several berries to garnish the molded dessert.) Let sit for at least 5 minutes or until the sliced berries begin to become juicy. Then thoroughly mash the sliced berries until no large pieces remain. (I used a potato masher to mash.)

Add boiling water to the gelatin mixture; stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the mashed strawberries. Chill just until the mixture is no longer warm.

In the meantime, beat the whipping cream until it is light and stiff peaks form. Then fold it into the strawberry and gelatin mixture. Pour into a 7-8 cup mold and chill until firm (at least 4 hours). (I used a 6-cup mold and had a little of the mixture left over after the mold was filled, which I put into a small bowl.)

To serve: Quickly dip the mold in hot water, then unmold unto serving plate.

Note: This recipe may also be made using 1/2 pint frozen or canned strawberries. If frozen or canned strawberries are used as a substitute for the fresh berries, do not add the 1 cup of sugar.

Orange Puffs with Orange Sauce

I recently found a delightful recipe for Orange Puffs with Orange Sauce in a hundred-year-old cookbook. The puffs are baked in a muffin pan, and are tender and moist with a hint of orange. Served with the refreshing, sunny orange sauce, this dessert is a winner.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Orange Puffs with Orange Sauce

  • Servings: approximately 10 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Orange Puffs

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400° F. Put flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl; stir to combine. Add milk, egg, and butter; and beat thoroughly. Then stir in the grated orange peel. Grease a muffin pan, then spoon batter into muffin cups. Fill each cup about 3/4ths full. Place in oven. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned and the muffins spring back when lightly touched. Serve warm with Orange Sauce.

Orange Sauce

1 orange

1 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch

dash salt

2 tablespoons water + 1 cup water

Grate orange peel (reserving 1 tablespoon for the Orange Puffs) and then juice orange; set aside.

Put the cornstarch and salt in a sauce pan. Add 2 tablespoons of water; stir until smooth. Add additional 1 cup water. Bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Add orange juice and grated orange peel; bring back to a boil, then remove from heat.  Serve warm.

Cook’s note: My rule of thumb for using cornstarch is 1 tablespoon cornstarch for each cup of liquid. The amount of cornstarch may need to be adjusted depending upon how much juice is gotten from the orange.

Old-fashioned Rhubarb Dumplings

Each spring I eagerly await the arrival of rhubarb at the local market.  I bought some rhubarb last week-end,  so I was thrilled to find a  hundred-year-old recipe for Rhubarb Dumplings in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

The Rhubarb Dumplings were tender with a refreshingly tart rhubarb filling embedded in a sweet custard-like sauce.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Rhubarb Dumplings

  • Servings: approximately 12 dumplings
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Rhubarb Dumplings

2 – 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 egg

shortcake dough (see below)

sugar

cinnamon

whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put sugar, flour, and egg in a small bowl; stir to combine. On a pastry cloth or other prepared surface, roll shortcake dough to 1/4 inch thickness; cut into squares, 4-inches by 4-inches. Put heaping 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) in the center of each square, then cover with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and egg mixture. Fold dough so that the points overlap on top of the rhubarb mixture. Put the dumplings in a large flat baking dish, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Shortcake

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Cut in the shortening; then add the milk. Stir gently with a fork to create a dough.

The old recipe only called for 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. When I made this recipe, I had difficulty measuring 2 tablespoons of rhubarb for each dumpling. (Rhubarb is just too thick to fit well on a spoon.) So I used a 1/8 cup scoop, and put a heaping scoop of rhubarb in each dumpling, I ended up running out of rhubarb before I’d used all the shortcake dough, so I cut up an additional stalk of rhubarb. I think in the end that I used 2 – 2 1/2 cups of rhubarb. The dumplings were excellent, though if I made them again, I might put even more rhubarb in each dumpling.

Old-Fashioned Creamed Celery and Green Peppers

Creamed vegetables on toast are one of my favorite comfort foods, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for a combination that was new to me. Creamed Celery and Green Pepper is delightful. The celery and the green pepper complement each other perfectly. The chunks of green pepper add flavor and reduce any bitterness in the celery.  This quick and easy recipe is a keeper.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (October, 1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creamed Celery and Green Pepper

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups celery, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 small green pepper (1/2 of a typical large supermarket green pepper), cut into vertical slices 3/4 inch wide, then halved

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 1/2 cups milk

toast

Put celery in a saucepan, and cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and drain.  Stir green pepper pieces into the celery.

In the meantime, in a skillet, melt butter using low heat. Stir the flour into the butter; add salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the celery and green pepper pieces, and bring back to a boil; remove from heat. Serve over toast.