Today we’re making a wonderful honey cake.
Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century cooking with James Townsend and Son. This honey cake recipe is from Amelia Simmons’
1796 cookbook, American Cookery. It is probably what we would think of as gingerbread today.
It is sweetened with honey like many of the early gingerbread recipes were, but this one
is leavened. It’s leavened with pearl ash, which is not typical of early gingerbread
recipes. Because this is leavened I got a nice and fluffy texture, unlike most of those
early gingerbreads that were a very hard cake. Like our last recipe, this one’s very simple.
We’re going to start off with 3 ½ cups of flour. To our flour, I’ll add 1 tablespoon
of ginger, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of diced candied orange peel.
Let’s also add 1/3 of a cup of white sugar. Now let’s focus on our wet ingredients.
I have 1 egg well beaten and to this I’ll add 2/3 of a cup of honey. I have 1 ¼ cups of milk. Now this works best
if you have a sour milk. If you don’t have sour milk, you can add, say, a tablespoon
of lemon juice or vinegar to this, and to this milk, I will add a ½ a teaspoon of our
pearl ash. It needs to completely dissolve before we add it into our dry ingredients. Finally, we’ll add our milk and pearl ash
mixture to the honey and egg. After kneading, let’s roll these out to
½ inch or ¾ inch thick. Again, you can cut these in any shape you
like. We’re going to cut them in a simple rectangle. For baking these, I’m going to use the tin
kitchen that’s in our catalog. If you’re going to bake them at home, I would suggest
325 at approximately 25 minutes. These look great. Let’s see how they taste.
So they’re very nice. Have a wonderful spicy sweet flavor with the honey. They’re a little
chewy, but light and fluffy. They’re certainly not hard at all. You can see the wonderful
crumb on these. They’re nice and light and fluffy. This pearl ash is doing a great job
of leavening these. They were probably extremely popular in their day. These are really, really
wonderful. These would make a great holiday treat. If you’re new to our channel, I really want
to welcome you. You can subscribe to our channel. You can check out our website, or request
a print catalog. I want to thank you for joining us today as we savor the flavors and the aromas
of the 18th century.