Tasting History: Baked Alaska Cupcakes (1860s)

Conflicting tales are a common theme in history. Without thorough documentation, bits and pieces of information are strung together to form a general idea of the past. In the case of the Baked Alaska, historical chatter center around its popularization versus its creation. Originally called an omelette surprise in Norway, a New York chef popularized the Baked Alaska in 1867 to celebrate the acquisition of Alaska.

It’s clear the concept of the Baked Alaska wasn’t groundbreaking since cookbooks, such as The Philadelphia Housewife, printed recipes for baked meringue ice cream desserts as early as 1855. However, it wasn’t until 1867 that homemakers began attempting this technically difficult dessert to delight dinner guests.

While a traditional Baked Alaska is prepared as a cake, I took a modern approach to this vintage recipe and made them into cupcakes. A key to success with this recipe is to keep the ice cream as cold as possible and serve them immediately after you caramelize the meringue. This is not a make-ahead dessert as it needs to be prepared and served quickly. Therefore, these cupcakes are better suited for an intimate dinner party rather than a large-scale gathering.

Baked Alaska Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • White Cake Mix
  • Strawberry Ice Cream
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 C. sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat over to 350˙
  • Prepare the white cake mix according to box instructions.
  • Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • Fill each muffin tin 1/3 full.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  • Let cupcakes cool.
  • Scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of ice cream on top of the cupcakes.
  • Cover the cupcakes and place in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
  • Heat the oven to 450˙ and prepare the meringue by beating the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add in the sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Spoon the meringue mixture over the cupcakes and bake for 2-3 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Serve the cupcakes immediately.

Tasting History: Daffodil Cake (1930s)

Daffodil Cake

With Easter right around the corner there isn’t a better recipe to dust off than the Daffodil Cake – also known as Easter Dinner Cake. This recipe was printed on the pages of the 1930s addition of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. This is a thrifty cake since the recipe makes use of the egg yolks left behind when making angel food batter. This results in two different colored batters, the white angel food and yellow sponge. By alternating layers of batter, you are left with a cheerfully marbled cake fit to serve after Easter service.

Daffodil Cake

When I uncovered this recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I couldn’t help but flip through an old parish cookbook to see if I could find this vintage recipe. A few pages into the cake section I saw it, printed for a new generation to enjoy. Clearly, this cake was a beloved recipe that originated in the 30s and was then passed down from mother to daughter. I couldn’t wait to bake it in my own kitchen and have a taste of this celebration cake.

Daffodil Cake

Daffodil Cake

Ingredients:

Angel Food Cake Batter

  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. sugar

Yellow Sponge Batter

  • 3/4 C. flour
  • 3/4 baking powder
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. cold water
  • 1/2 C. sugar

Directions:

Angel Food Cake

  • Beat egg whites until frothy, then egg the cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt.
  • Whip until soft peaks form
  • Gradually add the sugar until well combined
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and powdered sugar
  • Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients 1/4 C. at a time until combined

Yellow Sponge Cake

  • Mix the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, lemon juice, and water together for 5 minutes.
  • Gradually add in the sugar and beat until combined
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture 1/4 C. at a time

Assembly

  • In an angel food cake tin, alternately spoon in the angel food cake batter and yellow sponge batter
  • Bake at 375˙ for 35-40 minutes
  • Cool the cake upside-down
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving

Tasting History: The First Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (1930s)

Tasting History: Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies | Vintage Cookie Recipe | Lost Recipes | Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies | First Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Getting lost among the shelves at the library has become a new favorite pass time of mine. I emerge with as many books as I can carry, and embark on a journey through fascinating subjects ranging from planting your own English cottage garden to vintage recipes. The latter sparked the idea for this new blog series, Tasting History. I want to take you on a journey to discover loved, yet lost recipes that have the power to transport your taste buds back in time. For the first installment of this series, I’m taking you back to the 1930s, when Ruth Wakefield baked the first batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Tasting History: Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies | Vintage Cookie Recipe | Lost Recipes | Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies | First Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

It all began when Ruth Wakefield and her husband bought an old toll house inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. The pair renovated the inn to house a large dining area where they delighted guests with a range of traditional home cooked meals and exotic dishes inspired by their travels. The Toll House Inn became a booming success with locals and travelers, which led Ruth Wakefield to publish a cookbook filled with her tried and true recipes and proper hostess advice.

Tasting History: Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies | Vintage Cookie Recipe | Lost Recipes | Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies | First Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Tucked within  the pages of this cookbook lies the first chocolate chip cookie recipe. This cookie first came to fame when Ruth sent care packages containing cookies to WWII soldiers stationed overseas. They shared the sweet treats with fellow soldiers and quickly the unique cookie caught the attention of the nation.

Tasting History: Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies | Vintage Cookie Recipe | Lost Recipes | Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies | First Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The cookbook had over 39 printings, the latest in 1953. As I flipped through the Toll House cookbook, I was drawn to a handful of Ruth’s recipes, but decided to start with a historical favorite. If you are interested in taking a step back in time, follow the beloved recipe below!

Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 C. butter
  • 3/4 C. brown sugar
  • 3/4 C. white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. hot water
  • 2 1/4 C. flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. chopped nuts
  • 2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

  • Cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar and eggs.
  • Mix the flour and salt together and set aside.
  • Dissolve the baking soda in hot water and add alternately to the wet ingredients with the flour mixture.
  • Add in the nuts, chocolate chips and vanilla.
  • Chill the dough overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 375˙
  • Roll teaspoon sized dollops of the mixture into a ball and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Press the balls into flat rounds.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes. (Makes 100 cookies)
  • Cookies should be brown and crispy.