Vintage Cake Recipes

Vintage Cake Recipes

In the United States, National Cake Day is today, November 26th, 2017. Apparently this most cakey of all cake days falls on the 26th of each November. Why? I have no idea. But I do know that National Cake Day is a perfect time to share cake and frosting recipes from vintage cookbooks and newspapers. All recipes are straight from Victorian Americana. Vintage Cake Recipes.

As I’m a fan of looking at Victorian influences everywhere, I noticed several vintage cake recipes published in various 19th century newspapers and want to share a smattering of them with you here. You’ll notice a distinct lack of instructions, compared to today’s recipes, as home cooks assumed other home cooks simply understood much about the baking process. Tastes obviously differed from them to now.

Vintage Cake Recipes in Order of Publication

Election Cake Recipe, published in The Louisville Daily Courier of Louisville, Kentucky, on October 28, 1852.

Sponge Cake recipe, Cream Cake recipe, and Soda Cake recipe. Published in The Summit County Beacon of Akron, Ohio, on June 1, 1859.

Gipsey [sic] Cake Recipe, published in The Summit County Beacon of Akron, Ohio, on February 9, 1860.

Almond Cake Recipe and Sponge Cake Recipe, published in The Emporia Weekly News of Emporia, Kansas, on August 31, 1861.

Fried cakes. Like funnel cakes? Published in the Feather River Bulletin of Quincy, California on April 1, 1876.


An egg-white, sugar, and cocoanut [sic] cake icing recipe, as shared by a Winnie S. in the Chicago Tribune of Chicago, Illinois on July 15, 1876.


To the Editor of The Tribune.


ELGIN, Nov. 5–This recipe is for “Gracie Mayhue.” Buffalo Cream Cake: One egg, one cup sugar, one tablespoonful butter, two-thirds cup milk, one teaspoon baking-powder, one teaspoon vanilla, one and two-thirds cup flour, salt, and bake as for jelly-cake, in three layers.


Cream for the above–Heat one pint of milk, and add to it one tablespoonful of corn-starch dissolved in a little milk, two eggs, one cup of sugar, all beaten together: boil it until it thickens. Split the cake when cold and fill with cream. Very nice.




~ Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1876

I would like to relate a few incidents relating to the girl question, but forbear for want of space. I have a recipe for orange shortcake that can be prepared in a few moments, and is but very little expense: Peel the oranges, and chop very fine; to two oranges take half of a lemon: squeeze the juice and chop the rest: one tea-cup of sugar. Bake a crust as for short-cake: cut open, butter well, and lay the orange between.


~ Chicago Tribune of Chicago, Illinois, on December 16, 1876

Orange and Luncheon Cake. Published in the Chicago Tribune of Chicago, Illinois, on December 23, 1876.

Jumble Recipe, and tips to keep a custard pie from soaking the crust. Published in the Chicago Tribune of Chicago, Illinois, on May 18, 1878.

Calico Cake Recipe, from The Home Messenger Book of Tested Recipes, 2nd ed., 1878, by Isabella Stewart.

Fruit or Currant Cake, and A Good Custard. Recipes published in The Indiana Progress of Indiana, Pennsylvania, on February 6, 1879.

Mock Loaf Cake Recipe. The Inter Ocean of Chicago, Illinois, on February 16, 1883.

Blackberry Cake, Prune Cake. Recipes from Our New Cookbook and Household Receipts. Published 1883.

Josephine Cake, Jenny Lind Cake, and Jefferson Cake recipes. Recipes from Our New Cookbook and Household Receipts. Published 1883.

Icing (white sugar and egg, cooked) published in The Monroeville Breeze of Monroeville, Indiana on July 31, 1884.

Melissa’s Shortcake (using self-rising flour), published in The Sunday Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on May 30, 1886.

Boiled Icing, submitted by Susan H. Kerr of Brady Street, Attica, Indiana, and published in The Indianapolis Star on May 9, 1911.


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