German immigrants brought Marmorkuchen–marble cake–to the United States. Vintage cook books and newspapers show spice-and-yellow cake batters swirled together. Late-nineteenth-century bakers began to swap spice cake for chocolate. Delicious vintage baking!
Near the year 1900, Victorian-American cooks finally started combining raisins (which they had plenty of uses for) and oatmeal–a grain they’d only recently begun accepting. This article contains several vintage recipes from nineteenth century newspapers: raisins in other late-Victorian recipes, and at last–chopped raisins IN oatmeal cookies.
Today, February 23, is National Banana Bread Day. While banana bread (as we now know it) became a staple among home bakers in the 1930s, banana bread had its start in the late Victorian era where “banana flour” came to the United States from the tropics. Vintage newspaper advertisements show the beginnings of banana bread available in bakeries and homemakers’ awareness of quality nutrition to be found in the imported fruit and “flour.” With or without nuts, banana bread is a hallmark of American quick breads… and our nineteenth century ancestors, complete with baking powder and a wealth of cake-baking knowledge, were prepared for the post-Great Depression’s urge to “use it up.”
Today, January 27th, is National Chocolate Cake Day!
No better time to reflect upon, and relish the “invention” of one of the BEST chocolate cakes of all time–Devil’s Food Cake.
Devil’s Food Cake (often simply “Devil’s Food”) debuted along with other chocolate cakes as the culmination of chocolate dessert creations, at the tail-end of the Victorian Era, and gained momentum into the brief Edwardian period. American bakers discovered the capacities of baking chocolate, creating the sinfully rich and decadent cake, frosted with anything from a basic white, boiled frosting to ultra-sweet fudge frosting. Of all the “Victorian Inventions”, Devil’s Food Cake might be a twenty-first century favorite!