There continues to be slow progress on the repairs to my water damaged house. This week the flooring was to be installed. Fortunately some friends needed me to take care of their home and elderly cat this week so I’ve had a place to stay when needed and a kitchen.They return tomorrow so I want to leave them with a treat made using a recipe in the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. Like many people in 2012, at least one member of the house hold tries to avoid gluten so I decided to make Mrs. L. J. Breithaupt’s Rice Cake recipe.
I mixed 1 cup of rice flour and 1 cup of white granulated sugar together in a bowl and then started cracking eggs. I had purchased small eggs just for this recipe. There are a few other recipes in the cook book that call specifically for small eggs. Once all five eggs were in the bowl I started beating everything together using a spoon. I kept beating for ten minutes and finally had to give up. I simply do not have the patience or strength to beat cake batter for twenty minutes. I added the teaspoon of lemon flavouring and poured the batter into a greased square cake pan. I baked it for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. The cake was crisp on top and golden so I thought it was done but now I’m not sure if my timing or preparation method were correct. Tasting should help me decide.
Louis Jacob Breithaupt and Emma Alvarena Devitt some time before 1882. They had eight children. The last one was born when Emma was 43 years old and just three years before the cook book was published. The family lives in Waterloo for the 1901 census. By the 1911 census the family were at 108 Queen street North and seven of the children were at home. There were two female domestic servants care for the home and family. L. J. Breithaupt was very involved in politics and in the tanning/leather business. At the time Berlin became a city in 1912 he was a director of the Economical Fire Insurance Company. Clearly the family is well off as none of the four adult children still at home are employed. This is an era when young people particularly males were either in school or at work.
I was eager to taste this cake as I like things with lemon flavour but I was also curious about the texture. The cake has a wonderful crispy top but it is also very dense — not surprising since there is no leavening except the eggs. Once I got past the texture I liked the cake. The lemon flavour is just right. I’m so sensitive to the taste of egg that I found the egg flavour a bit dominant but it’s fine for most people. I think it should bake the cake just a little longer but most of all I will try making it more like a sponge cake next time. I’ll mix the egg yolks and sugar and then add the rice flour and flavouring. I’ll beat the egg whites separately and fold them in at the end. I think this might lighten the texture. This cake will be great served with some fruit or a fruit sauce. I’m thinking the leftover blueberries will do nicely. I might have to make Emma’s Rice Cake again before my friends come home. I’m not sure there will be much left for them!
UPDATE: I tried making the cake again this morning with much better results. I beat the egg yolks and sugar together, added the flavouring and rice flour and then folded in the beaten egg whites. I ended up having to use a bit of wheat flour as I’d run out of rice flour. I suspect that also contributed to a better cake. I baked it longer as well. So make this recipe like a sponge cake, bake for 35 minutes at 325 and substitute a little wheat flour for some of the rice flour if you can tolerate a little gluten.
1 cup rice flour, 1 cups granulated sugar, 5 small eggs. Beat for twenty minutes, then add one teaspoon lemon flavoring. Bake in a moderate oven.