Thomas Edison's Favorite Cake

I recently started watching a series on the History Channel called The Men Who Built America. If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you head to the website and preview a bit. It's such a great mixture of historical reference and drama. The show started with Cornelius Vanderbilt and worked through Rockefeller and Carnegie. Tuesday's episode will focus on J. P. Morgan and Thomas Edison. I'm excited because I'm an Edison fan. Of course, I'm a nerd, so I'm also a giant Tesla fan as well. (Not the band. Wait, did you know there was a band called Tesla? Hair bands were not my thing. Also, I am older than I think I am.)


Anyhow, this is a recipe for what historians think was Thomas Edison's favorite dessert.

Hickory Nut Cake

1 ½ cups of sugar
1 cup of butter scaint
1 cup of milk
3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint chopped Hickory nuts
1 ½ cups *pulverized sugar

Cake  Mix sugar and butter scaint until a cream. Combine with milk, flour, baking powder, 6 egg whites beaten very stiff and vanilla. Add the nuts, mix all together and bake in a moderate oven.

Frosting  Let 1½ cups pulverized sugar boil until when put in cold water it becomes brittle. Beat the 2 egg whites until very stiff and add the sugar and beat until it gets cold. Flavor to taste.

I visited the Edison and Ford Winter Estates this past Spring and bought the small cookbook they had there. It contains quite a few of Mina and Thomas Edison's recipes. Written in the style of the day, the measurements are a bit different than I'm used to seeing. You should definitely experiment with them and try out different options. 

Good luck!

*Sugar used to arrive in cone shaped packages and wrapped with blue paper; also known as a loaf of sugar. In the past, sugar needed to be pulverized using a tool called sugar nippers or nips.

Jenny DeWitt

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