Recipes we utilized for our Twelfth Night Cake
To make a rich cake.
Take four pounds of flour dried and sifted, seven pounds of currants washed and rubbed, six pounds of the best fresh butter, two pounds of Jordan almonds blanched, and beaten with orange flower water and sack till fine; then take four pounds of eggs, put half the whites away, three pounds of double-refined sugar beaten and sifted, a quarter of an ounce of mace, the same of cloves and cinnamon, three large nutmegs, all beaten fine, a little ginger, half a pint of sack, half a pint of right French brandy, sweet-meats to your liking, they must be orange, lemon, and citron; work your butter to a cream with your hands before any of your ingredients are in; then put in your sugar, and mix all well together; let your eggs be well beat and strained through a sieve, work in your almonds first, then put in your eggs, beat them together till they look white and thick; then put in your sack, brandy and spices, shake your flour in be degrees, and when your oven is ready, put in your currants and sweet-meats as you put it in your hoop: it will take four hours baking in a quick oven: you must keep it beating with your hand all the while you are mixing of it, and when your currants are well washed and cleaned, let them be kept before the fire, so that they may go warm into your cake. This quantity will bake best in two hoops.
To ice a great cake.
TAKE the whites of twenty-four eggs, and a pound of double-refined sugar beat and sifted fine; mix both together, in a deep earthen pan, and with a whisk, whisk it well for two or three hours together till it looks white and thick, then with a. thin broad board or bunch of feathers spread it all over the top and sides of the cake; set it at a proper distance before a good clear fire, and keep turning it continually for fear of its changing colour; but a cool oven is best, and an hour will harden it. You may perfume the icing with what perfume you please.
Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Revised Edition of 1796, first published 1745
_To make red_ GINGER BREAD.
Take a quart and a jill of red wine, a jill and a half of brandy, seven
or eight manshets, according to the size the bread is, grate them, (the
crust must be dried, beat and sifted) three pounds and a half of sugar
beat and sifted, two ounces of cinnamon, and two ounces of ginger beat
and sifted, a pound of almonds blanched and beat with rose-water, put
the bread into the liquor by degrees, stirring it all the time, when
the bread is all well mix'd take it off the fire; you must put the
sugar, spices, and almonds into it, when it is cold print it; keep some
of the spice to dust the prints with.
English Housewifery Exemplified, by Elizabeth Moxon, 1764
Another version of this sort of cake
To make a_ GREAT CAKE.
Take five pounds of fine flour, (let it be dried very well before the
fire) and six pounds of currans well dress'd and rub'd in cloths after
they are wash'd, set them in a sieve before the fire; you must weigh
your currans after they are cleaned, then take three quarters of an
ounce of mace, two large nutmegs beaten and mix'd amongst the flour,
and pound of powder sugar, and pound of citron, and a pound of candid
orange, (cut your citron and orange in pretty large pieces) and a pound
of almonds cut in three or four pieces long way; then take sixteen
eggs, leaving out half of the whites, beat your sugar and eggs for half
an hour with a little salt; take three jills of cream, and three pounds
and a half of butter, melt your butter with part of the cream for fear
it should be too hot, put in between a jack and a jill of good brandy,
a quart of light yeast, and the rest of the cream, mix all your liquors
together about blood-warm, make a hole in the middle of your flour, and
put in the liquids, cover it half an hour and let it stand to rise,
then put in your currans and mix all together; butter your hoop, tie a
paper three fold, and put it at the bottom in your hoop; just when they
are ready to set in the oven, put the cake into your hoop at three
times; when you have laid a little paste at the bottom, lay in part of
your sweet-meats and almonds, then put in a little paste over them
again, and the rest of your sweet-meats and almonds, and set it in a
quick oven; two hours will bake it.
English Housewifery Exemplified, by Elizabeth Moxon, 1764
Ingredients in the Colonial Baked Goods Collection
Twelfth Night Cake: Flour, eggs, sugar, butter, candied citron, orange peel, lemon peel, currants, almond flour, brandy, nutmeg,cinnamon, ginger. Iced with eggs, sugar and orange-blossom water.
Red Gingerbread: Sugar, dried manchet (flour, water, eggs, salt, sugar, yeast),red wine, almond flour, brandy, cinnamon, ginger, rosewater
Gingerbred Cakes: Flour, butter, sugar, molasses, ginger, nutmeg
Chriftmas Cookey: Flour, sugar, butter, milk, coriender
A wonderful artisan gingerbread mould carver and his site has plenty of interesting historical information: http://www.cookiemold.com/CookieMoldsforGINGERBREADfigures.html
Culinary historian Ivan Day's page on gingerbread moulds.
Take 3 pounds of flower, a pound of Sgar and a pound of butter rubb'd very fine, an Ounce of ginger and a grated nutmeg; mix it with a pound and a quarter of treacle: then make it up ftiff, roul it out & cut them in little Cakes and bake them in a Slack Oven.
Reciepts of Pastry and Cookery, E. Kidder, 1740's
Another Christmas Cookey.
To three pound flour, sprinkle a tea cup of fine powdered coriander seed, rub in one pound butter, and one and half pound sugar, dissolve three tea spoonfuls of pearl ash in a tea cup of milk, kneed all together well, roll three quarters of an inch thick, and cut or stamp into shape and size you please, bake slowly fifteen or twenty minutes; tho' hard and dry at first, if put into an earthen pot, and dry cellar, or damp room, they will be finer, softer and better when six months old.
American Cookery, Amelia Simmons, 1798