Belle of Amherst Black Cake Recipe

From: (Ronya Boss)

Date: Wed, 18 Aug 93 08:47:28 -0400

No, I have not attempted to scale down the recipe to see if it comes out,
but I did get a copy of "The Belle of Amherst" by William Luce.

If anyone does scale down this cake, and actually makes it, I'd love to
know how it turns out!

Don't know if this recipe has any "Dickinsonian authenticity" or if it 
was just a dramatic invention of Mr. Luce, but here goes:


	..."Oh!  The cake!

	"I do all the baking here at Homestead.  I even banged the 
	spice for this cake.  My father always raved about my baking.  
	He would eat no cake or bread but mine."

		(She samples a piece of cake)

	"Mm.  Lovely.

	"No, no -- it's easy to make.  The recipe?  Of course.  It's 
	really very simple.  Now, I'll go slowly."

		(She places the cake on the tea cart)

	Black Cake: two pounds of flour, two pounds of sugar, two pounds 
	of butter, nineteen eggs, five pounds of raisins, one and a half 
	pounds of currants, one and a half pounds of citron, one half pint 
	of brandy -- I never use Father's best -- one half pint of molasses, 
	two nutmegs, five teaspoons of cloves, mace, and cinnamon, and -- 
	oh, yes, two teaspoons of soda, and one and a half teaspoons of salt."

		(Emily has removed her apron)

	"Just beat the butter and sugar together, add the nineteen eggs, 
	one at a time -- now this is very important -- *without beating.*  
	Then, beat the mixture again, adding the brandy alternately with 
	the flour, soda, spices, and salt that you've sifted together.  
	Then the molasses.  Now, take your five pounds of raisins, and 
	three pounds of currants and citron, and gently sprinkle in all 
	eight pounds -- slowly now -- as you stir.  Bake for three hours 
	if you use cake pans.  If you use a milk pan, as I do, you'd better 
	leave it in the oven six or seven hours."

	"Everybody *loves* it.  I hope you will too.  Thank you.

		(She hangs her apron on the back of the chair.  
		Then she sits down and pours tea)

	"Sometimes I bake one for a neighbor and I enclose a short note 
	that is usually so obscure . . .


	". . . no one can understandit! I hear my little notes are 
	becoming collectors' items in the village.  People compare them 
	to see who has the strangest one."


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