There’s something about fall weather that makes me think of cinnamon and other sweet spices. After moving all the furniture sitting in my kitchen, I was able to access my oven again tonight so I’m going to make Spice Cake. The recipe comes all the way from Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) via Mrs. Garland who contributed the recipe to the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
I creamed the brown sugar and butter. After separating the eggs I added the egg yolks. The general cake making instructions in the cook book say to add the yolks and whites separately. It is quite common to whip the egg whites and add them at the end. I decided to mix the dry ingredients separately before adding them to the creamed mixture. I measured the flour, baking powder and the dessert spoon of each spice. A dessert spoon equals two teaspoons. I combined the wet and dry ingredients and slowly added the milk. Sweet milk just means fresh milk rather than sour. I added the vanilla last. I poured the batter into two greased cake pans and baked at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes. The spicy smell emanating from my oven has me salivating already.
I found three Garlands in Port Arthur, Ontario in the 1901 census however they are all single. John (25) is listed as head of household and is living with his sister Nellie (22) and supposedly his daughter Eliza but since she’s 15 years old that’s seems impossible. However, the City of Port Arthur in the 1911 census has a Samuel Garland (28), his wife Catherine (26) and their son Cal (4) and five month old daughter Amelia. I don’t know how any of these possibilities are connected to Berlin Ontario.
The Spice Cake batter tasted wonderful so I was prepared for a nice cake. It is spicy without being harsh and the texture is very light. It would make a good base to add raisins or dates but it is very good alone. I can imagine a caramel or butter cream icing or something with apples as a filling. I highly recommend Mrs. Garland’s Spice Cake for grown ups who want to move away from chocolate or carrot cake for their next birthday. It also makes a nice fall family cake. I don’t think it is a “keeping cake” so probably Mrs. Garland made it knowing it would be eaten within a day or two. Now I just have to ensure I don’t eat too much myself.
2 cups light brown sugar, 3/4 cup butter, 5 eggs, 1 cup sweet milk, 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 dessert spoon each of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.