Old-fashioned Loaf Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Loaf Cake

When browsing through a hundred-year-old cookbook published by a shrine patrol in Rochester New York, I saw a recipe for Loaf Chocolate Cake, and decided to give it a try. This recipe is a winner. The recipe was easy to make, and the loaf cake was soft and moist, and had just the right amount of sweetness. (I prefer cakes that aren’t overly sweet).

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Chocolate Loaf Cake
Source: Cook Book published by Bethany Shrine Patrol No. 1, Rochester, NY (1923)

A hundred-years-ago milk often was not pasteurized. Back then, if the non-pasteurized milk was not used quickly, the “good” bacteria in the milk would turn it into a sour milk suitable for use in recipes. Today’s pasteurized milk can be turned into a sour milk by adding a little vinegar.

In 1923, squares of baking chocolate were typically 1-ounce. Today they are often 1/2 ounce, so 4 squares rather than 2 may be needed.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Loaf Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 7 - 9
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon vinegar

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups flour

2 eggs

2 1-ounce squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted (Many brands of baking chocolate have squares smaller than 1 ounce, so more than 2 squares may be needed.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a large loaf pan (9″ X 5″) or use two smaller ones.

Put the milk in a cup or bowl, then stir in the vinegar. Set aside for at least 2 minutes to allow milk to sour.

Put brown sugar, butter, flour, eggs, melted chocolate, baking soda, vanilla, and the soured milk in a mixing bowl; stir to combine. Add boiling water; beat until smooth than put in loaf pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (The time would be less if two smaller pans are used.)


Old-fashioned French Chocolate (Hot Chocolate with Coffee and Brandy)


French Chocolate (Hot Chocolate with Coffeee and Brandy_

Sometimes recipe names change across the years, but the recipe is classic – and works just as well today as it did a hundred years ago. An example, of this is a recipe for French Chocolate that I found in a hundred year old cookbook. French Chocolate is hot chocolate with coffee and brandy.

A steamy cup of French Chocolate topped with whipped cream is the perfect warmer-upper on cold winter days.

Here’s the original recipe:

French Chocolate Recipe
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1921 Edition)

A Dover egg beater is a rotary egg beater.  Maybe they still sell them, but I haven’t seen one in years, so I whisked the French Chocolate to make it foamy.

I’m always fascinated when I see alcohol in recipes in 1921 cookbooks, since this was during prohibition. I’m not quite sure where cooks were supposed to find the brandy that the recipe called for.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

French Chocolate (Hot Chocolate with Coffee and Brandy

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups milk

1/4 cup ground coffee

2 tablespoons sugar

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/2 cup hot water

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brandy

whipped cream

Put the milk and ground coffee in a saucepan; stir to combine. Using medium heat, heat while stirring constantly until the milk mixture is scalded, and hot and steamy, Remove from the heat and strain to remove coffee grounds.

In the meantime, put the sugar, melted unsweetened chocolate, and water in another saucepan; stir to combine. Using medium heat bring to a boil while stirring constantly; then reduce heat and continue boiling and stirring for 2 minutes.

Gradually, add the strained milk and coffee mixture to the chocolate mixture while stirring. If needed, reheat until very hot, then remove from heat. Stir in salt and brandy. Beat with beaters or a whisk for a few seconds to make foamy. Pour into cups, and top with whipped cream.

Old-fashioned Chocolate Mint Blancmange

Chocolate Mint Blancmange on plateSummer is the perfect time to make chilled desserts, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Chocolate Mint Blancmange.

Chocolate Mint Blancmange is smooth and chocolaty with the essence of mint. It is made with milk and thickened with gelatin, and topped with whipped cream.

This molded dessert seemed old-fashioned, but the taste and texture reminded me of some of the small individual- serving chocolate desserts that I’ve had at restaurants or hotels. I think that Chocolate Mint Blancmange would seem much more trendy and modern if put into individual serving cups.

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for Chocolate Mint Blancmange
Source: American Cookery (August-September, 1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Chocolate Mint Blancmange

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 packets (0.25 ounce) of unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

3 ounces grated chocolate or 5 tablespoons cocoa (I used cocoa.)

1 quart (4 cups) milk

1 cup sugar

dash of salt

3 or 4 drops of peppermint extract

whipped cream

Place the cold water in a small bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let the gelatin absorb the water and soften for a few minutes.

In the meantime put the milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil using medium heat; stir constantly. Stir in sugar, chocolate (or cocoa), and salt. Add the softened gelatin while continuing to stir constantly. Once the gelatin has dissolved, remove from heat. Strain and let partially cool for a few minutes, then add the peppermint extract and stir. Put into a 5 or 6 cup mold (or put into individual serving dishes or cups). Chill until firm (at least 4 hours).

To serve (if molded): Quickly dip the mold in hot water, then unmold onto serving plate.

Serve with whipped cream.


Chocolate Animals (Chocolate Animal Crackers)

Chocolate-covered animal crackers on plateWhen were animal crackers invented? Until I saw a recipe for Chocolate Animals (Chocolate Animal Crackers) in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I’d never given it any thought.

I knew that animal crackers have been around for a long time (or in other words, since I was a child), but I would have guessed that they were invented mid-century. However, the recipe in the 1920 cookbook suggests that they have been around much longer.

This led me to check what it said in Wikipedia. I was surprised to discover that animal crackers have been around since the late 1800’s. It also said:

Animal biscuit crackers were made and distributed under the National Biscuit Company banner. In 1902, animal crackers officially became known as “Barnum’s Animals” and evoked the familiar circus theme of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Later in 1902, the now-familiar box was designed for the Christmas season with the innovative idea of attaching a string to hang from the Christmas tree.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Chocolate Animals
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1920)

I used a small (2.125 ounce box) of animal crackers when I made this recipe, so I only needed a little chocolate. If I’d made more Chocolate Animal Crackers I would have need to use more. chocolate.

The old recipe describes a process for making tempered chocolate. This is necessary to get a smooth, glossy coating – or chocolate melting wafers or chocolate candy coating can be used. I generally try to be true to old recipes – but ended up deciding that making a small batch of a fun recipe was the time to make an exception – so I went with the melting chocolate waters.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Chocolate Animals (Chocolate Animal Crackers)

animal crackers

chocolate melting wafers / chocolate coating

Put a piece of waxed paper on a plate. Set aside.

Using the microwave or low heat on the stove, melt enough chocolate to coat the animal crackers. (If a small 2.125 ounce box of crackers is used, melt about 1/2 cup of chocolate.) Dip the animal crackers in the melted chocolate, and then place on the waxed paper-covered plate.

Let the chocolate thoroughly cool and harden before serving. (I put the plate of chocolate-covered crackers in the refrigerator for a few minutes to quickly harden the chocolate.)


Old-fashioned Chocolate Mint Sauce for Ice Cream


Last week I did a post on a hundred-year-old recipe for Mint Syrup. In that post, I said that the syrup could be used in coffee (it’s delicious) – but several readers suggested that it would be wonderful on ice cream, especially if it was mixed with chocolate syrup.

Well, great minds think alike – and it goes across the years. The magazine that contained the Mint Syrup recipe, also contained a recipe for Chocolate Mint Sauce for Ice Cream.

This sauce was much thicker than most modern chocolate syrups, but it was delightful on vanilla ice cream. The hundred-year-old recipe calls for lots of brown sugar and only one tablespoon of cocoa. I expected the syrup not to be chocolaty enough – but I was wrong. It had just the right amount of chocolate with the brown sugar apparently contributing to the rich flavor.

Here’s the original recipe. (I’m also including the Mint Syrup recipe, so that you don’t need to go back to last week’s post.)

Source: Good Housekeeping (August, 1917)

I found this recipe challenging. When I made it, the sauce quickly hardened into a candy-like consistency. I reheated it and added butter. I then removed from the heat and stirred rapidly until the sauce began to thicken – and it again got too thick, so I  added water (quite a bit of it), and stirred until the consistency seemed right for a sauce.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks – though I feel like it still needs a bit more tweaking. If you try this recipe, I hope you’ll add comments about how well it turned out – and whether you made additional revisions to the recipe.

Chocolate Mint Sauce

  • Difficulty: difficult
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Chocolate Mint Sauce

2 cups brown sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup mint syrup (see recipe below)

1/2 – 1 cup water, if needed

Put the brown sugar and cocoa in a sauce pan; stir to combine. Gradually add the milk while stirring. Bring to a boil using medium heat, then reduce heat and cook until it forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water (238° F.).  Remove from heat, stir in the butter. After the butter has melted,  add the mint syrup.  Stir rapidly until the sauce begins to thicken; add water if the sauce is too thick.  Serve on ice cream.

Mint Syrup

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup mint leaves

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; then add the mint leaves. Bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid begins to thicken to a syrup consistency (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat; strain and cool.