Tonight the lights went on in Victoria Park, a city park near my home that was already ten years old in 1906. I even had a horse-drawn wagon ride through part of the park — very fitting for someone trying to recapture a bit of 1906. This little annual event is another sign that Christmas is near and it is time for more baking. I decided to try another fruit cake recipe from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. This one is White Fruit Cake and the recipe was contributed by Mrs. A. E. King.
The directions are reasonably clear for this cake. I creamed the butter and sugar and beat the eggs before adding them. Next was the milk. As always there is no need to add anything to make sweet milk, it is simply regular fresh milk. I measured the raisins and currants into another bowl and added the flour and baking powder to them. Flouring the dried fruit helps ensure all the raisins don’t end up at the bottom of the cake pan. I’ve never been sure why this works but it does … so I keep doing it! I mixed everything together and spooned the batter into a parchment lined oblong baking pan. The fruit cake baked for 30 minutes at 350 °F. It was a nice golden colour at that point so I removed it from the oven and let it cool just a little before sampling.
Mrs. A. E. King is a mystery for me. There is an Anna E. King in Galt in 1901 but she’s unmarried. In 1911 there’s an Arthur but he’s only 14 and therefore no “Mrs” attached to him. I don’t dare move beyond Waterloo County as King was a common surname.
The cake is good. I think most people would like it if they like raisins and/or currants. I realize I’m unusual but I could taste the eggs and personally as a modern cook I’d use just two eggs or add a little flavouring to hide the taste. The three eggs make this a very tender cake. It is not the heavy dense fruit cake people usually expect. It reminds me of the Imperial Cake I used to make each spring at my former workplace. That cake had lots of lemon zest in it and that would certainly enhance Mrs. A. E. King’s White Fruit Cake but it is fine as written.
WHITE FRUIT CAKE
Mrs. A. E. King
1 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, cream butter and sugar then add 3 eggs well beaten, 1 cup sweet milk, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 3 cups flour, 1 cup currants, 1 cup raisins.