Surprise! I’m back. It’s been twenty-five days since I last posted or cooked from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. I had intended to just take a few days off before starting to write once a week but I got sick. Later I just couldn’t get interested in it again. The cook book sat out and I ignored it. I suppose it isn’t surprising after spending 366 days getting to know this cook book intimately. I also associated it with some difficult times.
Today, I wanted something sweet. All the Christmas goodies are gone and I’ve been making do with some store-bought cookies but today I was ready to bake again. I planned to use my special Christmas gift — a turquoise Kitchen Aid stand mixer — to make cookies or brownies. And then finally I thought about the many untouched dessert recipes in the Berlin Cook Book. Perhaps I could use my fancy mixer to make something from it? But it just seemed wrong. Instead I pulled out my spoons and china cups and mixing bowl and got to work baking a cake 1906 style.
This recipe for Moka Cake was submitted by Mrs. George Baltzer for the 1906 Berlin Cook Book. The mixing method is interesting. It begins with blending eggs and sugar. My first task was to get some milk on to boil since I would need it later. Then I cracked my two medium eggs into a mixing bowl and beat them well. I slowly added the sugar and again beat the mixture. The flour and cream of tartar went in next. The mixture was quite thick at this point. I put the butter in the boiling milk and once it was melted I stirred in the salt and baking soda too. It was fun to see it bubble up. I poured in the hot milk and it blended well. The final ingredient was lemon but I wasn’t sure what was meant. Should I add lemon extract, or lemon juice? I finally decided to add some lemon zest. I grated the skin of about half a lemon. The batter went into a greased round cake pan. I only needed one cake pan as this is a small recipe. The cake baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
While the cake baked I started the filling. First I needed to make some coffee. I make terrible coffee but in this case it doesn’t matter as I just needed two teaspoons of strong coffee. I creamed the butter and icing sugar and then added the coffee, cocoa and vanilla. The mixture looked, smelled and tasted wonderful! I left the cake to cool before slicing it across the middle with a butter knife. This is one sturdy cake! I spread the filling on top of the bottom cake layer and then put on the top. The filling is the perfect amount. Finally it was time to cut a slice of cake and taste.
Mrs. George Baltzer was once known as Mary L. Penfold before her marriage in 1897. She was born in Paris Ontario in 1866. George was an insurance clerk when they married but by the 1901 census he was an accountant in Berlin. His widowed mother Lena continued to live in Berlin appearing in the 1911 census, but I hadn’t been able to find George and Mary. Today I found an internet site that states George died in January 1910 at 91 Queen Street North in Berlin Ontario. He was just 39 years old. So what happened to Mary? Did she remarry or move in with a relative back in Paris?
This cake is good but had a slightly rubber texture. It is a sponge style cake so it might be expected but perhaps it is also due to under or over mixing or perhaps it is intended to be a good sturdy cake. I think I might have over baked it a bit. I liked the lemon flavour and was surprised it combined so well with the filling which is wonderful. I highly recommend it if you like mocha flavours. I wonder if Mary (Penfold) Baltzer made it often or if it was reserved for special occasions. It is relatively easy to make and doesn’t require unusual ingredients or very much of the expensive ingredients. Mrs. George Baltzer’s Mocha Cake recipe was a very good way to return to 1906.
Mrs. George Baltzer
2 eggs beaten light, 1 cup sugar beaten in gradually, 1 1/2 cup flour with 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon soda, add last 1/2 cup of boiling milk into which has been melted 1 teaspoon butter, a little salt and lemon.
Filling — 1/4 cup butter creamed with 1 heaping cup icing sugar, 2 teaspoons of strong coffee, 2 teaspoons cocoa, 1 teaspoon vanilla, beat together and spread.