Posted by bakinghistory on February 21, 2008
A moist, buttery cake with a delicate lemon scent
I recently read a very interesting post about a luncheon menu for Presidents’ Day written by T.W. from Culinary Types. Every dish featured in the menu was gorgeous, but I was particularly interested in the Lincoln Cake, created in 1865 to commemorate President A. Lincoln. The recipe was published in Godey’s Lady’s Book, while Sarah J. Hale was the magazine’s editor.
The cake is very nice, with a moist crumb and a texture reminiscent of traditional pound cakes, with a pleasant lemon scent. It keeps fresh and moist for a relatively long time, and it is even better after a day or two.
From the original recipe by Sarah Annie Frost
In: “The Godey’s Lady’s Book Receipts and Household Hints”, 1870—USA
2 cups (400 g) sugar
1/2 cup cup (113g) butter
1 cup (237 ml) milk
3 cups (375 g) flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp (organic) lemon extract
All ingredients must be at room temperature.
Sift the flour with the baking soda and cream of tartar.
Cream the butter at high speed until fluffy, then add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, still beating at high speed. It is important not to add the sugar all at once or the mixture will be heavy instead of fluffy, which will compromise the cake’s final texture. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, add one egg and beat well until thoroughly mixed, then add the second egg and the lemon extract and mix well.
Add 1/3 of the flour (sifted with cream of tartar and baking soda) and mix it at the lowest speed. Add 1/3 of the milk, in a thin stream, mixing it in at low speed, then increase the speed to high and beat the mixture till light and creamy. Add 1/3 more of the flour , then 1/3 more of the milk, and mix as described above. Add the remaining flour and then milk as described before. Beat the mixture for 3 minutes at high speed, until creamy and light.
Pour the batter (which might look like it is too liquid, but that is how it is supposed to be) into a 5.4 x 9.1 inch (13.6 x 23.2 cm) loaf pan, lightly greased. I find that lining the pan with aluminum foil and greasing the foil liner makes it much easier to unmold the cake.
Place the cake in a cold oven and set the temperature at 300°F (150°C) and let the cake bake for about 2 hours, or until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, than unmold it and let it finish cooling on a rack.
P.S. Louise of Month of Edible Celebrations suggested baking the cake at very low temperature and starting with a cold oven. If the oven is too hot, because of the high amount of sugar in the ingredients, the cake will brown too fast on the outside and remain raw in the center.