Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunshine Cake

by Kelly

It looks like the heat wave may be over! It's only supposed to be 83 degrees tomorrow. Brrr! That's almost twenty degrees cooler than Thursday.

So in honor of the extremely hot and sunny weather which has now come to an end, I thought I would put up a certain recipe. Not that long ago, I posted a review for Mary Meade's Kitchen Companion, a 1950's cookbook that recently came my way. In one of the chapters was a mysterious, off-hand reference to a 'sunshine cake'. Specifically what she said was, "The egg leavened cakes: This group includes angel food, sponge cake, 'sunshine cake', jelly rolls and others...they contain no fat or baking powder."

I couldn't help but wonder why this was called a sunshine cake. Was this just a fancy name for ordinary yellow cake? Was it lemon or orange flavored? Orange in color or usually frosted with orange icing? Something that could only be made in the summer because of ingredient availability? A cake to brighten a rainy day?

I have always been a lover of mysteries, and there was no listed recipe for this cake, so I began to search. Google presented me with a few possibilities, and many of them did involve oranges, pineapple, and lemons, and modern ingredients like Cool Whip. But I knew the recipe must pre-date 1955, when The Kitchen Companion was published, so I looked for very old cookbooks on Project Gutenberg, and began to browse through them online.

Surprise! I found 'Sunshine Cake' in a very old cookbook entilted 'Good Things to Eat as Suggested by Rufus'. So here it is, in all its glory. Oh, and why is it called 'Sunshine Cake'? Well, the answer to that question is in the recipe. Have a look and see if it jumps out at you.

Sunshine Cake -- Cream one cup of butter, add two cups of sugar and beat, add one cup of milk, the yolks of eleven eggs beaten until very light and smooth, and three cups of flour sifted with four teaspoons of baking powder three times to make it very light. Turn into a tube baking pan and bake three-quarters of an hour in a moderate oven.

No wonder this recipe didn't survive to the modern day! Eleven egg yolks for one cake would make any modern dietician choke on his decaf coffee.

For another version (without the baking powder, which Mary Meade suggested in her book) visit this link to my man's belly. Her recipe is from the 1900's, and there is a beautiful photo of the cake itself.

So what do you do with the remaining lonely egg of the dozen, after you make this cake? Well, if the weather is hot enough, you could try to fry it on a sidewalk and see what happens.

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