I Tried A Handwritten Recipe I Found In A 100 Year Old Cookbook

A few months ago I was browsing through an antique shop with a good friend of mine when I came across several baking manuals that dated to the beginning of the 20th century. These were the kind published by a company to demonstrate the many ways to use their product in recipes. This particular book was the Ryzon Baking Baking Book (1918) by Marion Harris Neil which was described as “a practical manual for the preparation of food requiring baking powder.” The other book was Borden’s Prize Recipe Album (1925) which featured recipes using the Borden’s Evaporated Milk.

Not only were these books absolutely fascinating because it’s a glimpse at how baking was approached over 100 years ago, but these books were filled with handwritten recipes! So of course these had to come home with me!

After going through the handwritten recipes, I came to the conclusion that both of these books were owned by the same woman due to a good handful of recipes having the same name on them: Louise.

Who was Louise?

There was no other information given … only her first name. No last name or initial initial, no address or general location … nothing but these recipes. The only clue I may have to which era these came from is that one recipe is written on the back of a sheet of a calendar note pad with the date Wednesday, December 17, 1930. Most were written in English, but a few appeared to be in German. Once I went through the piles of recipes, I decided to tryout the Baking Powder Coffee Cake recipe that bore Louise’s name on it.

Below you can find a copy of the recipe and my thoughts on the resulting coffee cake. 🥰

A slice of Coffee Cake paired with a hot cup of coffee using my Great Grandma Lanert’s china set (circa 1915-1930)

Baking Powder Coffee Cake from Louise

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, separate yolks from the whites
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • OPTIONAL: extra sugar, cinnamon, & grated almonds to sprinkle on top

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter & sugar together. Then add in beaten yolks & vanilla extract. Mix well.
  2. Sift the flour and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar, egg, & vanilla extract mixture, alternating with adding in the milk.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. Fold in the whipped egg whites into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into a well greased bundt pan. OPTIONAL: sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar, and almonds in the bottom of the bundt pan BEFORE adding the batter. (note that this may make it more difficult to remove from the pan after baking.
  7. Bake in the oven at 350F for 40 minutes.

Download The Recipe Here 😊


Final Thoughts

Baking this cake was a delight! I don’t know about you, but I enjoy using recipes that involve whipping up egg whites to add to the batter because it results in a light and fluffy cake. And the great thing about this recipe is that you can customize the flavors and toppings to suit your desires. In this instance, I omitted using the almonds because I know my family isn’t keen on almonds.

Perhaps the most exciting part of trying out this recipe was thinking about who Louise was and what this recipe may have meant to her. Whoever she was, I greatly appreciate that time she took to write down these cherished recipes and store them away, not knowing a stranger was going to pick them up in a thrift shop and add them to her own collection of recipes.


If you tried out this Baking Powder Coffee Cake recipe, I would love to know what your thoughts are on it!

Have you found old recipes before and tried them out in your own kitchen? I would love to hear about your own experiences with these treasured recipes! 🥰

Happy Homemaking!

-Bethany

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