It’s New Year’s Eve. Time to celebrate the end of 2010 and
the beginning of 2011. HUZZAH!
As I wrote last year at this time, the best way to celebrate
the dawn of any new year (at least, historically speaking)
would be to make New Year’s Cake. What could be better?!
Here’s a receipt (recipe) for this confection from Amelia
Simmon’s American Cookery (1796), which, as you may
know, was the first cookbook published in America that
was also written by an American. Now, if perchance you’re
going to try this, might I suggest that you cut the proportions!
New Year’s Cake.
Take 14 pound flour, to which add
one pint milk, and one quart yeast,
put these together over night, and
let it lie in the sponge till morning,
5 pound sugar and 4 pound butter,
dissolve these together, 6 eggs
well beat, and carroway seed; put
the whole together, and when light
bake them in cakes, similar to breakfast
biscuit, 20 minutes.
Note yeast is used, much like with bread. There’s the usual
flour, sugar, and eggs. Then “carroway” seeds, making this,
in essence, a spice cake. Notice, too, it says to “bake them
in cakes” that are “similar to…biscuit.” In other words, this
is a receipt for making little cakes, or what we call cookies.
Up until the late 18th century, and even way into the 19th,
the word “cake” could mean several things: what we refer
to as a cake, large or small; what we’d call a cookie; and
even a biscuit. All are usually grouped together in the same
chapter of historic cookbooks, as well. And don’t forget, even
today, if you ever find yourself hankering for a cookie while
in jolly ol’ England, you’ll need to be sure to ask for a biscuit.
Nevertheless, HAPPY NEW YEAR to one and all! Here’s
to a fantastic 2011. HUZZAH!