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Monday, December 12, 2011

Martha's Cake

Most Christmas food traditions are handed down from previous generations.  Our Christmas dinners contain many of the dishes that have been part of the feast for years and years.  And often, we enjoy starting new traditions with our kids--ones that might be around long after we're gone.

Here's a recipe (of a sort) that was emailed to me.  It's from none other than our first First Lady, Martha Washington. 

Martha's Christmas Cake was apparently an annual tradition at Mount Vernon--and from the look of the recipe, it must have fed a load of people.  I did a little bit of Internet surfing to see if I could find out any more about it and found that there are some modernized recipes out there for the cake.  But I find Martha's original interesting.  It's fun to think of her or her servants throwing all of this stuff together for their holiday celebration. 

These are supposed to be the exact words that she put in her recipe for a "true Virginia Christmas":
Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth, start to work four pounds of butter to cream and put the whites of eggs to it a spoon full at a time till it is well worked. Then put four pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same way, then put in the yolks of eggs, and five pounds of flower (sic), and five pounds of fruit. Two hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace, one nutmeg, half a pint of wine, and some French brandy.
Somebody better have a big pan!

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