Monday, July 26, 2010

Mary Todd Lincoln's Cake: A Taste of History


As you know, last year was the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. And while he was born in Kentucky, he lived from ages seven to 21 in Southern Indiana. I co-authored a book last year called Indiana’s Lincolnland (Arcadia, the publisher, chose the title, not me) and I spent a lot of time down there researching and meeting families whose ancestors had known the Lincoln family back in the early 1800s. Well, I received an invitation from a friend of mine, Laura Barker, about a play they have at the Lincoln Amphitheater in the Lincoln State Park in, are you ready, Lincoln City. The play is titled Lincoln and besides being a great play, anyone attending gets, for the price of a ticket, an Amish meal catered by the Black Buggy of the types of foods they ate back then including fried chicken, roasted pork, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans, a roll and a dessert called Mary Todd Lincoln Cake.


“Mary was a fan of almonds and the cake is almond flavored with pecans in it,” my friend Laura tells me. So of course because culinary history is one of my interests, I asked her for the recipe and here it is.

Also, anyone interested in finding out more about the play, should visit: www.lincoln-amphitheatre.com; www.legendaryplaces.org or call 888-444-9353.

Mary Todd Lincoln Vanilla Almond Cake

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

1 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¾ cups sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/3 cups milk

1 cup almonds, finely chopped

6 egg whites; stiffly beaten



White Frosting:

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

¼ teaspoon cream of tarter

1 dash salt

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Cake Directions:

Cream together sugar, butter and vanilla extract.



Stir together the cake flour and baking powder, add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in almonds. Gently fold in the egg whites. Pour into two greased and lightly floured 9 x 1 ½ inch round baking pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 28 – 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Fill and frost with white frosting.



White Frosting Directions:

In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt. Bring mixture to boiling, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

In mixing bowl place egg whites; very slowly pour the hot sugar syrup over, beating constantly with electric mixer until still peaks form; about 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract.

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