Thursday, March 23, 2017

Prince of Wales Cake -- Authentic Civil War era recipe

If you've been following this blog for a while, you know how many cooking-type posts I've written: NONE! There is a reason for that. Ninety-six percent of the time I do not enjoy cooking. However, one-hundred percent of the time I enjoy eating, so it does become necessary if I don't want to starve. But cooking has never been something pleasurable to me. Instead, its a chore. And I don't know about you, but chores ain't no fun.

Every once in a while, though, I get inspired to cook or bake something special!

In my historical novel The Planter's Daughter, a story set on a Texas cotton plantation in 1859, one of the scenes involves baking a cake called Prince of Wales cake. Adella Rose, our heroine, is in the kitchen with Aunt Lu, the head house slave. They are making this cake for Natalie, the soon-to-be-mistress of Rose Hill plantation. At one point, Aunt Lu grumbles about the Prince and his "high an' mighty ways" because this cake is unlike anything she's ever made. She worries she won't get it right, thus coming under the master's displeasure, a valid concern of every slave back in those days.

Ever since I wrote that scene, I've wanted to make Prince of Wales cake. Readers of The Planter's Daughter will be happy to hear yesterday was the day!

First, I gathered the ingredients, all of which would have been readily available in 1859.

Next, I used my trusty dusty KitchenAid mixer (which sadly would not have been readily available in 1859!) to cream together the butter and sugar of the first batter. This KitchenAid is near and dear to my heart, because my dad gave it to my mom for Christmas many years ago. I still remember how Daddy smiled and smiled when he presented it to Mom.

Following the recipe just as Aunt Lu would have done, I added the other ingredients to create a light colored batter. I can almost picture Adella Rose sneaking tastes of it!

Then I made the second batter, which is darker due to the molasses and spices.

Now it's time to combine the two batters into one pan. Aunt Lu was confused by these instructions. She thinks they should bake two separate cakes, but Adella reminds her the recipe calls for combining the batters. I have to admit, I wondered if Aunt Lu was right, but like her, I followed the instructions to a T.

 The recipe called for a large fluted pan. I had a Bundt pan, so I assumed that would be good enough. Wrong! When they say "large" pan, they mean a LARGE pan!! I had far more batter than could fit in my pan. I'm embarrassed to admit I went ahead and filled it to the brim. Don't do this! It spilled over while baking and made a very stinky mess on the bottom of my oven.

I took my knife and swirled the batters together as told, and while I did, I smiled, thinking of Aunt Lu with her elbow raised like an artist creating a masterpiece.

Admittedly, once it was all layered and swirled and ready to go into the oven, I was rather pleased with myself. Just like Adella Rose, I took a spoon and scraped the bowls, taste-testing each batter. Yummmm!

I slid the pan into the oven, set the timer for one hour and twenty minutes, and waited with high expectations!!

A word to the wise baker: Definitely flour your pans. I didn't. I used cooking spray, but the cake unfortunately stuck to the pan. Waaa. I'd hope to have a lovely photograph of my Prince of Wales cake on this pretty glass cake stand I own and have never used. But I had to settle for simply showing you a couple slices.

Aren't they pretty?

The cake is not too sweet and has a bit of a spice cake taste to it. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and it is ready to serve!! Delicious! Just like folks ate on Rose Hill Plantation in 1859.

If you'd like to make Prince of Wales cake, go here to find the recipe. Then pop over to my blog about the Authentic Molasses Cookies Harriet bakes in Book Two, The Widow of Rose Hill. They are delish! 


If you haven't purchased your copy of The Planter's Daughter or The Widow of Rose Hill, click here. Both books are getting lots of 5-star reviews! Readers say they can't put them down. Music to this author's ears.

Have a blessed day!



Beth said...

Looks yummy. Will have to try this recipe!

Michelle Shocklee said...

Beth, I'm sure you will have much better results than me! Haha!