Ann Reardon

100 Year Old Cake Recipes and Baking Hacks

This week we are looking at baking hacks from my great grandmothers one hundred year old cookbook. Some of these are common sense, others are weird and one is genius. To test the hacks that regarding cakes I used the 100 year old cake recipes from the same book. I have written them out for you below.

Plain Cake 100 year old recipe

how to make beef dripping ann reardon howtocookthat

INGREDIENTS – 1 lb (0.45 kilograms) of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 lb (1.81 kilograms) of good beef dripping
1 teacup full of good moist sugar (I used brown sugar for this)
1 breakfast cup full of milk
1/4 oz (113.4 grams) of caraway seeds
1/4 oz (113.4 grams) of candied peel cut fine

METHOD – Put the flour and baking powder into a basin; stir these together, then rub in the dripping, add the sugar, caraway seeds and peel; add the milk, and beat all together very thoroughly until the ingredients are well mixed. Grease a tin, put in the cake mixture, and bake it from 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Let the dripping be quite clean before using; to ensure this, it should be clarified. Beef-dripping is better than any other for cakes etc, as mutton-dripping frequently has a very unpleasant flavour, which would be impartial to the preparation.

TIME- About 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
SUFFICIENT for 1 cake
(source: Mrs Beetons Cookery Book 1923)

Note: in the video I doubled this recipe to make two cakes. The cooking time was much faster than stated. I would not make this cake recipe again to have as a cake. But it does make great biscotti. To do that make the cake as above, perhaps swap the dripping for butter and add some whole blanched almonds. Once baked slice thin layers of cake and bake in the oven until crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container.

How To Make Beef Dripping

Ask your butcher for suet. It may be helpful to specifically ask for the beef fat from around the kidneys as apparently this fat has a less meaty flavour than the fat from other parts of the cow.
Cut the fat very finely, if you have a mincer it makes this job much quicker.
Add double the amount of water to fat by weight. For example of you have 500g (17.64 ounces) of fat add 1000g (35.27 ounces) of water. Heat over a low heat until all the fat is melted. Strain through a fine sieve and leave for the fat to rise and set. This will take a few hours in the fridge. Take the top layer of fat off and discard the water. Reheat the fat allowing it to bubble so any water that is left can evaporate off. Then tip into a bowl and leave to cool and set.

100 year old Sponge Cake Recipe

100 year old sponge cake recipe ann reardon
their weight in caster sugar
the weight of 3 eggs in flour
the rind of a small lemon (I didn’t have this so I omitted it)

METHOD – Seperate the yolks from the whites of the eggs, beat the former, put them into a saucepan with the sugar, and let them remain over the fire until Luke warm, keeping them well stirred. Then put them into a basin, add the grated lemon rind, and beat these ingredients well together. Whisk the whites of the eggs into a very stiff froth, stir them into the other ingredients, and beat the cake well fo about 1/4 of an hour. Then take out the whisk, sieve into the flour, and mix it lightly with a wooden spoon.Put it into a greased mould, dusted out with a little finely-sifted sugar and flour, and bake the cake in a quick oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Care must be taken that it is put into the oven immediately or it will not be light. The favouring of this cake may be varied by adding a few drops of essence of almonds, instead of the grated lemon rind.

TIME – About 1 1/2 hours
SUFFICIENT for 1 small cake
(source: Mrs Beetons Cookery Book 1923)

Note: In the video I doubled this recipe to make two 8″ sponge cakes. The cooking time was much faster in my oven than listed.

Victoria or Jam Sandwiches 100 year old cake recipe

INGREDIENTS – 6oz (170.1 grams) of flour
4 oz (113.4 grams) of caster sugar
2 oz (56.7 grams) of butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoonful of baking powder
a little milk

METHOD – Stir the sugar and the yolks of eggs together until thick and creamy, then add the butter melted. Pass the flour, baking powder, and a good pinch of salt through a sieve, stir it lightly into the rest of the ingredients, and add milk by degrees until the mixture drops readily from the spoon. Now whisk the whites of the eggs stiffly, stir them in as lightly as possible, and pour the preparation into a well greased Yorkshire pudding tin. Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 20 minutes, let it cool, split in halves, spread thickly with jam, replace the parts, and press lightly together. Cut into finger-shaped pieces, arrange them in groups of 3, letting the layers cross each other, sprinkle liberally with caster sugar, and serve.

TIME – From 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours altogether.
SUFFICIENT for 1 large dish.
(source: Mrs Beetons Cookery Book 1923)
Note: In the video I doubled this recipe to make two 8″ thin cakes. The cooking time was much faster in my oven than listed.

how to stop cakes from browning

Watch the video to find out the 100 year old baking hack to stop cakes from browning on the top and bottom.

My Cookbook

ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
Stores that sell my book listed by country:
All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

10 Comments View Comments

  1. Rating: 5

    Hi, i want to make the sponge cake, but do i need flower of something except of the other ingredients?

  2. Rating: 4

    I tried the 100yo sponge cake. It is tasty but i found the texture a bit weird. And the “crust” seems a bit sugary. I thought that might be caused by the sugar not completely dissolving in the yolks. But i couldn’t keep it any longer on the lowest heat. Maybe my sugar was to coarse?

  3. Rating: 5

    I watch all your videos on YouTube I love your cake recipes

  4. Rating: 3

    Have you ever thought about making a totoro themed cake?

  5. Rating: 5

    If my cake is going to be in the oven for a long time(say a large fruit cake) To stop it burning on the base, I soak a newspaper and lay it on a baking tray with the cake tin on top. I also used to tie soaked newspaper strips around the outside of the tin to stop burning, handy if you don’t have the commercial baking strips which do the same thing.

    • sounds cleaner than dirt

  6. Rating: 5

    Hi, the first recipe says “1/4 lb (1.81 kilograms)” of both dripping and candied peel, would that be 181 grams? I’m sure it’s just a typo, but my mental imperial to metric conversion isn’t working ?

    • 1 pound (lb) is around 454 grams (or 500 for the very rough but more easy mental conversion 😉 ), so 1.8 kg would be close to 4 lb. that’s probably where the mixup comes from.
      1/4 lb is around 113 grams.

      • you are right 113g was the correct amount, thanks for that ?? fixed in the recipe now

    • Thanks for picking that up Adela, it was supposed to be oz not lb. I’ve corrected it now. 113g of each

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