Tag Archives: St. George

Day 77: Clove Cake

Just when I think I can’t bear another day of cooking a daily recipe from The New Galt Cook Book (1898) I receive some sort of boost to keep me going. Yesterday I heard from a young urban couple about how much they enjoy reading about it. Tonight I had the privilege of speaking with people at a meeting of The South Dumfries Historical Society. I spoke about my project and the ten women from that township who contributed recipes to this community cook book in Galt. I also brought tonight’s recipe — Clove Cake — for them to sample and some Orange Creams using the recipe from Day 30Mrs. C. P. Keefer of St. George (South Dumfries Township) contributed the Clove Cake recipe.

It is time to bring out your food scales for this recipe. I attempted to check the number of cups when I weighed the ingredients but neglected to write them down and it’s been eight hours since I made the cake. I’ll check my memory against internet suggestions for weight conversions. I started by weighing the brown sugar. One pound is about 2 1/4 cups of brown sugar. I cut a block of butter in half and had my 1/2 pound (1 cup) of butter. I use salted butter. Since my fridge is keeping things extremely cold it took a while to warm up the butter enough for creaming. I cut it into smaller pieces to help the process along. Once the butter and brown sugar were creamed together, I added the four eggs. This time I used large eggs since that was what was available at my corner store. Next I mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. I am running out of some ingredients and haven’t had time to do a big grocery shop so I pulled some cake and pastry flour from the cupboard and used it. I weighed the flour and found that 1 pound was about 4 1/2 cups. I added 2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder, 1 tablespoon of ground cloves, 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon. I mixed those well and added the 350 gram package of Sultana raisins. This was not quite the pound I needed but I didn’t have any more raisins.

I realized after the cake was in the oven that I’d forgotten to chop the raisins. That was an important step for some raisins as they could be much larger than today’s but also require more preparation including washing and stoning. I mixed the raisins with the dry ingredients and then added everything to the wet ingredients. I also poured 1 cup of milk in the bowl. I started mixing everything together and then poured the batter into a greased oblong pan. I put it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. I’d planned to check it after 30 minutes but after 15 minutes I 1ealized I’d forgotten an appointment. I checked the cake but it still needed more time. If I left the cake in the oven for my entire time I was away I risked burning the cake or worse but if I took the cake out it would collapse and I’d have to start over again. Then I discovered that my new to me stove has a “turn the oven off at ___ o’clock” feature! I calculated how much time the cake needed and how long it would have to stay in the oven until I got home. I set the oven to turn off after another 20 minutes. I came home to an oven that was off, a cake that was cooked and not burned. It was probably slightly overcooked but the quick taste I tried while warm was fine. I left it to cool and then packaged it to take to my talk.

Mr. Keefer's store in St. George Ontario. The people are unknown.

Mr. Keefer’s store in St. George Ontario. The people are unknown.

Mrs. C. P. Keefer is Ann Elizabeth Crandall. She was born in 1854 in Drumbo Ontario and lived there with her family as a child. She married widower Charles Parsons Keefer when she was 31. They were married in Windsor but moved to St. George by 1891. Both had been widowed young. Ann’s first husband died soon after they were married and Charles’ first wife Emma Guppy had died along with their baby boy. I don’t know how Ann Elizabeth became connected to the Galt Cook Book but she has seven recipes in it.

I liked this cake. I chose this recipe among the various possible ones from St. George women because it seemed familiar but not the kind of cake that is popular today. The spice flavours are very prominent but not overpowering. If you really don’t like cloves or nutmeg this might not be the cake for you or try reducing the amount of these spices a little. However, it won’t be Mrs. Keefer’s Clove Cake. The cake was a bit crumbly which I think could be due to the cake & pastry flour. That sort of flour is great for lighter cakes but might not be the best choice for a cake with raisins. The longer time sitting in a cooling oven also contributed to the crumbling texture of the cake. Several of the people at the meeting said they liked the cake and there were suggestions for adding icing including a caramel style icing. The taste of the cake reminded one person of a cake that was served with caramel drizzled over it. A plain butter cream icing could also work or one of those cooked icings. The orange creams were also popular and someone suggested putting the creams on the cake. Clove Cake is an old fashioned tasting cake but one that can be served in 2014 too.

Mrs. C. P. Keefer, St. George

One pound brown sugar, one pound flour, one pound raisins, half pound butter, one cup milk, two large teaspoonfuls baking powder stirred well into the flour one tablespoonful cloves, one tablespoonful cinnamon, one tablespoonful nutmeg, four eggs; chop the raisins.


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Day 72: Cup Pudding

I’m home a bit later today so I thought I’d make something warm and cozy that wouldn’t take too long to prepare or cook. I selected Mrs. W. B. Wood of St. George’s recipe for Cup Pudding. It is in the Pudding section of the 1898 New Galt Cook Book. I decided to make just half the recipe since the full recipe would require many small dishes and a large steamer.

I wasn’t sure if the butter was for the cups or if it was to go in the recipe. I decided to put the 1 tablespoon of butter in the batter rather than the pudding cups. The next decision was whether to add ingredients in the order written or to cream the butter and sugar first. I thought the proportions were a bit off for creaming but decided to go ahead. I creamed 1 tablespoon of butter with 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar. Next I added 1 egg and beat everything well. I mixed in 1/4 cup of milk. The recipe says to use sweet milk which is simply fresh milk rather than sour milk. I typically use lower fat milk for these recipes. I added 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 1 cup of flour and mixed well. I stirred it into the bowl and realized I didn’t need to add any more flour. I probably could have used a little less flour. I used both custard cups and individual souffle dishes as baking cups. Once they were buttered, I put a tablespoon of some interesting preserves in each cup. I happened to have some rose hip butter that I bought last year and hadn’t opened yet. I thought it might be interesting in this pudding. I filled the cups slightly over half full with the batter and then popped them into the steamer insert of my stock pot. I’d filled the pot half full with water and had it boiling before adding the steamer portion. I covered the pot with the lid and let the cups steam for 20 minutes. When the time was up I removed the insert and took out one of the cups of pudding to sample. They’d risen quite a bit and smelled quite good.

Mrs. W. B. Wood of St. George is probably Ellen Elizabeth Malcolmson. She was born in Niagara in 1853 and somehow at 19 ended up in Galt marrying 24-year-old William Bruce (W.B.) Wood. He’d come from Aberdeen in Scotland when he was in his teens and was working as a miller when they married. They lived in South Dumfries Township when the 1891 census was taken and by then had three children Margaret (16), Ellen (14) and Alexander (10). By 1911 the couple live in Brantford with their two adult daughters. For some reason they show up in Montreal for the 1921 census and that’s where they live until their deaths. William Bruce dies in 1929 at the age of 80 and Ellen Elizabeth is 83 when she dies in Westmount Quebec in 1937. In searching for more information and pictures of Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Wood I discovered he has a Wikipedia entry that you can read here.

The first bite of Cup Pudding.

The first bite of Cup Pudding.

The Cup Pudding is a perfect way to enter the world of steamed pudding. It is quick, tastes quite nice, and cutting the recipe in half makes just four servings. If you can figure out a way to steam vegetables on the stove you can steam this pudding even if you have to do each cup separately. There is also lots of room for your own touch. What preserve will you use? I recommend some sort of fruit preserve that has some visible fruit with it but jam or apple butter or any sort of sweet preserve will work. The rose hip butter was good but the pudding might be better with so chunks of fruit to add a different texture to the serving. You could experiment with sauces too or serve plain or with cream and sugar or ice cream. I made a similar recipe on day 43 but this is much better. The pudding batter is a touch sweeter and lighter and much more appealing.

How does Cup Pudding fit into the life of Mrs. W. B. Wood? I can see it as a nice family dessert for the five of them. Mr. Wood could have a hot pudding for supper even if Ellen didn’t know when he’d arrive home since this can be made quickly. This pudding might have come from Ellen’s mother since it could serve all seven people in the family without leftovers and would be very economical. According to Waterloo Region Generations Ellen’s father Scottish born James Malcomson was a carpenter and her mother Margaret was from England.

No matter its origins Cup Pudding will be part of my comfort food recipes for winters to come. It might not be stylish but it can still time travel to the 21st century.

Mrs. W. B. Wood, St. George

Two eggs, one and a half cupfuls sugar, one-half a cupful of sweet milk, two tablespoonfuls butter, two teaspoonfuls baking powder, flour enough to make a batter. Butter your cups, pour in a small quantity of preserves, then fill with batter half way and steam twenty minutes.

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