BAKERIES OFFER THE FANCY NEW ANGEL’S FOOD CAKE!
American nineteenth century bakeries offered Angel (Angel’s, Angels’) Food Cake, by this name, as early as 1878 in Illinois and 1879 in Tennessee.
DEFINITELY ANSWERS THE “WHICH CAME FIRST” QUESTION
ANGEL FOOD CAKE’S DEBUT
Angel food cake is a white sponge cake made with only stiffly beaten egg whites (yolks would make it yellow and inhibit the stiffening of the whites) and no butter. The first recipe in a cookbook for a white sponge cake is in Lettice Bryan’s The Kentucky Housewife of 1839. Since there is no butter in the cake, the angel food cake is not related to the butter cakes: snow-drift cake, silver cake or lady cake. (emphasis added)
The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes, 2d ed., 1878, by Isabella Stewart contained the first recipe for Angel’s Food Cake. Stewart’s detailed recipe called for eleven egg whites, sugar, flour, vanilla extract and cream of tartar. [source] (emphasis added)
ISABELLA’S ‘SNOW CAKE’ IS ANOTHER VERSION OF ANGEL’S FOOD
WAS ISABELLA FIRST (1878)?
I don’t know if the 1877 (Edition 1) of Jessup Whitehead’s The American Pastry Cook contained the Angel Food Cake Recipe, or whether it appeared only in time for the 1894 edition … OR if the assertion on Wikipedia’s Angel Food Cake page, that Isabella Stewart’s recipe in The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes, was first.
More To The Story: The History of Angel Food Cake
NOTE: The American Pastry Cook, Sixth Edition, published in the year 1891, includes a Library of Congress notice stating previous editions had been entered in the years 1877, 1879, 1880 (and more future editions are evident online at Hathi Trust, Archive, Google, Forgotten Books (membership required), Amazon Kindle Edition, Amazon Hardback, another Amazon Hardback, Amazon Paperback, another Amazon Paperback, and more.
THE NEWFANGLED PAN
Did you notice Jessup’s comment about “…caterers say this cake has been more trouble to them than anything else, and leads to to the use of special molds to bake it in is the tendency to fall in at the centre [sic] after baking. The mold not being greased holds the cake up to its shape until cold.”
Tube Pans existed as early as 1896, Fannie Merritt Farmer, in the 1896 edition of her “The Boston Cooking School Cookbook“, refers to them as “Angel Cake Pans.” On page 417, she says a sponge cake “can be baked in an angel cake pan or deep narrow pan,” On page 418 she directs that Sunshine Cake be baked “in an angel cake pan” and on that same page, that Angel Cake be baked “in an unbuttered angel cake pan.” [source: Cook’s Info]
Note: This scanned copy of Archive.org’s The Boston Cooking School Cookbook appears to be the 1896 edition.
Interesting, I think, that the pan with the conical center (as is still used today, with modifications), was patented in the United States on February 11, 1902 (application filed March 19, 1901). Pans with conical centers were available well before this date (given Jessup’s publication in 1894) (and images of cake pans for sale in advertisements), until, at last, patent #692,919 was obtained from the United States Patent Office. I may be a self-learned historian, but I believe the elements patented in this cake mold (mould) are the second (false) bottom and perhaps a larger conical center ring.
ANGEL’S FOOD CAKE REMAINED POPULAR INTO THE 20TH CENTURY
1882 ANGEL’S FOOD and SNOW CAKE (nearly identical)
1883 Mrs. W’s SNOW CAKE
1894 ANGEL FOOD, OR WHITE SPONGE CAKE RECIPE
This is the 1894 version that might have been published as early as the first edition, 1877, as mentioned above.
1903 ANGEL CAKES: Individual Portions of the classic cake
1908 ANGEL FOOD (and MOCK ANGEL FOOD, for when eggs are hard to come by)
1908 SLIGHT VARIATIONS SUBMITTED BY THREE MORE BAKERS
1913 THE TRADITIONAL RECIPE REMAINS “CHOICE” BY CULINARY ARTISTS
Copyright 2018 Kristin Holt LC