I hope the women of Berlin Ontario had friends like mine. I came home today to discover that not only were two of my radiators sitting in the only clear area of my kitchen but that everything had been removed from my back up kitchen. Even the little fridge had been unplugged. I stood there totally stunned and panicked. What would I have for supper? And most of all — how could I make anything from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book? The solution — call nearby friends and beg to use their kitchen. The side benefit was a dinner invitation. After a look at the well stocked pantry of my friendly vegetarian, I decided to make Carmel Cake. It is one of three very different recipes for caramel cake in the cook book. This one was contributed by Mrs. Scherer.
I creamed some soft butter with sugar and then added the milk. I mixed in the corn starch and flour but couldn’t find any cream of tartar so I substituted 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder for the soda and cream of tartar. I separated the eggs (3 large) and whisked the whites before folding them into the batter. I greased a cake pan and poured in the batter. I baked the cake in a 350 degree F. oven for 30 minutes. While the cake cooled I made the icing. I put the brown sugar in a small saucepan and added the milk. I started heating it on low and slowly turned up the heat. I let it boil for 3 minutes and then removed the pan from the burner. I stirred and then added the vanilla. I turned the cake onto a plate and drizzled the icing on top. It was time for everyone to taste.
Mrs. Scherer could be Mary J. the wife of August P. or Mary the wife of Edward. Both couples live in Berlin in 1901. Another Mary is the wife of Frank in Waterloo. There are more possibilities in other parts of Waterloo county.
The cake is a bit different from others I’ve tried in the Berlin Cook Book. It is very light and with the texture of a cake from a mix. It makes a smaller cake than some of the other recipes. The icing is pure sugar. The cake was a success with everyone but the icing was just too sweet for all some of the tasters. The only difficulty is the cake is very crumbly.
Whites of 3 eggs, 1 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/2 cup sweet milk, 1 teaspoon soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter.
Icing – 1 cup brown sugar, 1 heaping teaspoon sweet milk, boil 3 minutes, stir while cooling and then add vanilla.