Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pound Cake--19th Century Style

See if you can guess how this cake got its name!  Most 19th century recipes for pound cake are very similar to the one below. This one came from Tyree, Marion Cabell. Housekeeping in Old Virginia. Louisville, KY: John P. Morton and Company, 1879.  In a time when eggs could be traded for other goods, using a dozen to make a cake for just the immediate family was quite a luxury. Butter was also used as a trade item so using eggs and butter was almost like eating your paycheck! Using sugar instead of a home grown sweetener, like honey or molasses, was also quite a treat.

Pound Cake

1 pound sugar
1 pound butter
1 pound of flour
12 eggs

Cream the butter; rub into it gradually the sifted and dried flour. Beat the yolks of ten eggs very light, then add the powdered sugar, beat again, add a wine-glass of brandy or one of good whiskey flavored with nutmeg, or the grated rind of a lemon; mix all together.  Stir in the whites of twelve eggs beaten to a stiff froth, just before baking.  It will take two hours to bake.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, ten lords a-leapin', nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milkin', seven swans a-swimmin', six geese a-layin, five golden rings, four colly birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.


  1. Sounds wonderful! I have a family recipe (or receipt, as Aunt Lilla called them) around here somewhere for egg custard that is almost as luxurious.

  2. Sounds interesting and tasty too...

  3. Leslie that is interesting that your Aunt Lilla says "receipt" because that was the normal way of referring to recipes back in the 19th century. Does your Aunt live in Meadows of Dan?

    Paula, I have made a 19th century pound cake before and they are very tasty! Maybe not quite as sweet as our modern day taste buds would hope for because we are SO used to sugar overload! Back in the 19th century, people did not eat very much sugar, so a little bit went a long ways to making things taste sweet.

  4. I've always wanted to try the true pound recipe-but haven't yet : )

  5. I have not had this recipe in about 6 years. I think it is about time to give it another try! :D


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