History Dish Mondays: Cider Cake

I’m launching a new feature: Each week, I’m going to test a historic recipe. Check in on Mondays to see the results.

This week, Cider Cake. It is fast and easy to mix up and a delicious snack or breakfast. The ingredients are simple, so prep is a breeze.

Cider Cake
Original recipe from The Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child; modern recipe is adapted from The Old Sturbridge Village cookbook.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar (refined, unrefined or maple. I used regular white shug)
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup apple cider

Preheat oven to 350. Sift flour, baking powder, and spices; set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Add flour mixture and cider alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Scrape bowl and mix until combined. Pour into a loaf pan and sprinkle top with sugar. Bake 50-55 minutes.


Although I used fresh apple cider, this recipe can also be made with hard cider. It’s actually more historically accurate; I think I’ll try it sometime in the near future, I’m curious how it alters the taste. Additionally, Childs says to “spice to your taste.” For the era that this recipe is from, that would usually mean some combination of nutmeg, ginger, and possibly mace. I used cinnamon, not popular in the first half of the 19th century, because I like it best.

When I mixed up the cake and I added the cider, the batter really blossomed with a delicious apple-y smell. I put it into a loaf pan and sprinkled the top with some sugar to give it a nice, sweet, crust. I baked about 50 minutes in a 350 oven, and turned it halfway through.
The cake came out lighter in color than I expected; the level of sweetness and texture reminded me very much of a zucchini or banana bread. I think this recipe could be made even more delicious with the addition of some sliced apples or nuts.

Rating: A
I would make this again.

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