Washington Cake


Original Receipt

Beat together 1 1/2 lb. of sugar, and three quarters of pound of butter; add 4 eggs well beaten, half pint of sour milk, and 1 tea-spoonful of saleratus, dissolved in a little hot water. Stir in gradually 1 3/4 lb. of flour, 1 wine glassful of wine or brandy, and 1 nutmeg grated. Beat all well together. This will make two round cakes. It should be baked in a quick oven, and will take from 15 to 30 minutes, according to the thickness of the cakes.

From: The Ladies' New Book of Cookery: Practical System for Private Families in Town and Country by Sarah Josepha Hale. New York: H.Long & Brothers, 1852 Ingredients


3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup wine
2 1/2 - 3 Cups flour, measured after sifting
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 pint buttermilk


Modern Method

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light.
  2. Beat eggs, add wine. Combine with butter and sugar mixture.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, and spices.
  4. Add one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk then add one-third of the flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk, and then add the remaining flour mixture, blending well after each addition.
  5. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, pour in the batter, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or use a tube pan and bake for 70 minutes.

Hearth Method

  1. Follow steps 1-4 in Modern Method recipe.
  2. Pour batter in two 9-inch pottery pie plates or two round, straight-sided oven proof dishes of 8-9 inches in diameter. Bake for 1 1/4 hours in a moderate bake oven.

Yield: two 8-inch or 9-inch layers or one tube cake.

Taken from Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook