Preparing historical recipes from Quaker and Special Collections’ cookbooks from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Back in December, the Library hosted an installment of its Dig Into The Archives series on historical recipes. “A Peck, a Bushel, and a Gill: Recipes From The Quaker Collection” not only showcased the interesting cookbooks and volumes of recipes dating back to the 18th century that Project Cataloger Kara Flynn discovered in Quaker and Special Collections, but also served as a taste-test of sorts for the antique vittles since library staff prepared many of the dishes.

For those who were not at the talk and, therefore, were unable to taste such historical delicacies as mincemeat or oyster pie, we are beginning a series of our own on the blog and on Haverford College’s official Facebook page, featuring some of these old-timey sweets. Recipes have been modified with modern measurements and instructions, and College Photo Editor Patrick Montero has shot easy-to-follow, step-by-step videos. So try your hand at making some of these goodies yourself!

Today’s recipe is English cake, a citrus-y, only slightly sweet loaf cake:

English Cake
(Elizabeth R. Shoemaker recipes, circa 1818)
Serves 10 to 12 people

1 1/3 cups sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9”x5” or 8”x4” load pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Gradually add in the flour, mixing until just incorporated.

Spread the batter into the prepared load pan. Bake until the sides pull away from the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Cool in the pan 15 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.