Company is coming this weekend and I feel like chocolate so I’m going to make a recipe from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book called Dark Cake. It is similar to another recipe in the cook book for Devil’s Food Cake so I’m expecting something chocolatey.
I made the first part by adding brown sugar, milk and three squares of chocolate to a saucepan. It didn’t take too long for them to melt and mix together. I made the second part next. I creamed the butter and sugar. I separated the three medium eggs and added the yolks. Finally I stirred in the milk. I mixed the first and second parts together and then added the baking soda and flour. Once it was smooth I poured the cake batter into two greased square cake pans. They baked for 25 minutes at 350º F. Once out of the oven I set them aside to cool while I made the frosting.
I’ve already made the boiled icing recipe in the cook book and it didn’t turn out well at all so I thought I’d try another icing/frosting recipe. The Caramel Frosting recipe contributed by Emma Schenk of Ayton Ontario looked like it would go well with this chocolate cake. I melted the brown sugar, water and a square of chocolate in a saucepan very very carefully. I found that it was turning into fudge after 10 minutes so I took if off the heat and poured it over the first layer of the cake and then added the second layer. There wasn’t enough caramel frosting for the top of the cake so I started to make another type of icing/frosting.
I thought the Quick Icing recipe from Mrs. H. Graber might also suit this cake. I put the icing sugar in a bowl and added a little water. I flavoured it with a bit of orange extract. I spread this icing on top of the cake.
Miss Edith Wisdom’s sister Maggie also contributed recipes so I’ve talked about this family already. Edith was born in 1883 and must have married soon after the cook book was published in 1906. Based on information in the Waterloo Region Generations website Edith Cecilia Wisdom married William H. Graber and they had a son born in February 1910. In the 1911 census they lived on the same street as her parents but at number 122 Courtland Avenue. William worked as a dye works merchant.
Emma Schenk was 14 years old in 1901 and lived in Grey County with her farming family. I’m assuming that she had some sort of family connection to someone in Waterloo County and that’s how she ended up with a few recipes in the Berlin Cook Book.
Mrs. H. Graber contributed quite a few recipes. She is either Laura or Louisa. Laura was married to Harvey John Graber and Louisa was married to Henry Graber.
The cake turned out a little dry but it does make two good-sized layers unlike some of the other recipes. The caramel frosting is okay but it is basically chocolate fudge and it set up very quickly making it hard to spread. The quick icing is the type my family made when I was growing up. We usually used almond flavour which I like but I also like the combination of orange and chocolate. There are better chocolate cake recipes in this cook book but this one will work too. I think next time I’d bake it a little less and see if that affects the texture of the cake.
Miss Edith Wisdom
First Part — 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup grated chocolate, 1/2 cup sweet milk. Cook these ingredients together until dissolved but do not boil.
Second Part — 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter scant, 1/2 cup sweet milk, yolks of 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon soda. Add first part before stirring in 2 cups of flour. Bake in 2 or 3 layers and put together with thick boiled frosting.
Emma Schenk, Ayton,, Ont
1 cup brown sugar, 1 square chocolate, scraped fine, 1 tablespoon water. Simmer gently 20 minutes being careful not to burn. Spread on while hot.
Mrs. H. Graber
1 cup icing sugar, water, flavoring. Put the icing sugar in a bowl, add the liquid gradually making it just thick enough to spread nicely on the cake. Add the flavoring and spread evenly with a knife, over the cake.
Note. — Instead of the water, orange juice or lemon juice, or a mixture of both may be used.