Ann Reardon

200 year old sponge cake recipe & more


I bought a new cookbook, well it is a very old cookbook. The first edition of Domestic Cookery By A Lady was published in 1806. Subsequent editions have additions and omissions, the copy I have is a 67th edition from 1843. Original recipes in this edition are marked with ER to recognise the authoress Maria Eliza Runndel.

very old cookbook baking recipe howtocookthat

Maria Rundell was born Maria Eliza Ketelby in 1745, she was an only child and is described as a woman of wealth.

When she was 21 years old she married Thomas Rundell.

Thomas had a brother who borrowed money from them to buy the jewellery store on Ludgate Hill. Later Bridge, a colleague, also borrowed money from a relative to became a partner in the store. Bridges relative had connections with the king and this led to the royal family using Rundell and Bridge as their jewellers. This involved far more than making necklaces, rings and crowns for the royal family. Rundell and Bridge made entire dinner services out of silver including ornate candelabras and punch bowls.

The US ambassador visited the store in 1818 and described the outside of the store as plain. He said, “you might pass by without noticing it but on entering the articles of silver were piled in heaps, even on the floor. Going further into the building the masses increased. The cost of an entire dinner service varied from 30-50 thousand pounds sterling, sometimes much higher.”1 That’s between 2.6 and 4.4 million pounds today.

One of Mrs Rundells sons joined his uncle at the store and bought some capital in with him, so it was renamed Rundell, Bridge and Rundell.

ludgate hill jewellers runnel and bridge

All of this success seemed to far out weigh the cookbook. Despite selling nearly half a million copies in her lifetime, very little is recorded about Eliza Rundell. We do know that at the age of 74 she asked the publisher to stop printing her book as she was unhappy with errors in later editions. A court case ensued and the publisher paid Mrs Rundell 2000 guineas (188 thousand pounds today) for the rights to the book.

She died in 1829 at the age of 83.
Eliza rundell life

Here are three recipes from domestic cookery by a lady, watch the video for further instructions.

200 year old cookbook ann reardon

Lemon Sponge E.R.

To a pint of water put an ounce of isinglass, the rind of a lemon and half a pound of lump-sugar; let it simmer for half an hour, and then strain it through a lawn-sieve: when nearly cold add the juice of three lemons and the white of one egg, whisk it until it is white an thick. In the summer it will require rather more isinglass.

** Listeria & Salmonella warning (not found in the old cookbook but necessary to say) – this recipe contains raw egg whites if you live in a country where salmonella is not eliminated and carefully tested for please do not try this recipe at home. Any recipes with raw or undercooked eggs should not be served to elderly people or pregnant women due to the possibility of listeria.

200 year old cake recipe 19C (66.2 degrees Fahrenheit)

Sponge Cake E.R.

Eight eggs, half the whites, three quarters of a pound of ump sugar, half a pound of flour, quarter of a pint of water, the peel of a lemon: mix as follows: – Overnight pare a good-sized lemon thin, and put the peel into water; when about to make the cake, put the sugar into a saucepan, pour the water and lemon peel to it, and let it stand by the fire to get hot. Break the eggs into a deep earthen vessel that has been made quite hot; whisk the eggs for a few minutes with a whisk that has been well soaked in water; make the sugar and water boil up, and pour ti boiling-hot over the eggs; continue to whisk them briskly for about a quarter of an hour, or until they become quite thick and white, which is proof of their lightness. Have the flour well dried, and quite warm from the fire, just stir it lightly in, put the cake into tins lined with white paper and send them immediately to be baked in a moderately hot oven.

200 year 0old egg mince pie recipe rundell

Egg Mince Pies E.R.

Boil six eggs hard, and cut them small; mix them with double the quantity of chopped suet, and a pound of currants, half a pound of chopped raisins, the peel of a lemon grated, half a nutmeg, a teas-spoonful of allspice, a little salt, sugar and candied lemon-peel, with two glasses of sweet wine.

domestic cookery runndell older days cooking

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.

5 Comments View Comments

  1. Hi Ann,
    Love your old recipes videos. In a possible answer to your question on the wet whisk, it maybe because water stops egg sticking to something. For example if you wet a spoon and put it in your egg it will not stick to the spoon. Maybe to prevent waste? I don’t know if it it relevant but I find that interesting.

  2. Very interesting, I hope you make more of these recipes. thanks

  3. Thank you for sharing the very old cookbook recipes. They were very interesting. All of the mincemeat pie recipes I have seen call for suet in them. As I am not wanting to use that, I have decided to try using my charoset recipe to bake in a pie crust to see how that will turn out. I have ordered your book, but it is taking over two weeks to come in. I am so anxious to get it. I have been following you for about four years now. Would there be a way to get a signature for it?

  4. That was fun! Your men were good sports for trying out the food. I don’t know how you ever managed to figure out those old recipes.

  5. Thanks i thing it is fantastic

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