Friday, April 19, 2013

Dip, Molasses Cake - from Gramma's Webster's Recipe Book - Family Recipe Friday

Here's another page from my grandmother Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen's Webster's Spelling Recipe Book.  The patent number date is 14, 1909, so we know Gramma wrote the recipes after that.  In 1909 she was 16, but the handwriting looks like it's written with a mature hand.  I have no doubt that she used these recipes:  they are spotted and dotted with ingredients that missed the bowl!  If you'd like to see the other recipes from her book, click on recipes under the Post Topics at the bottom of the page and a list will appear.

The dip recipe is a sweet one, probably used for fresh fruit, or possibly for cakes or cookies at parties or on special occasions.  I don't ever remember my grandmother making or serving it.

The order of ingredients for the Molasses Cake, which sounds quite a lot like gingerbread, seems unusual to me.  Commonly, cake batter is mixed with sugar and eggs first, then other liquid ingredients, with dry ingredients last (unless liquid and dry ingredients are alternated).  It's also hard to tell what's to be mixed together from the way this recipe's written.  The spices could easily be mixed in either the flour or the molasses.  I think the lard and soda go into 1 cup of hot water.   Cakes are usually baked in a 350-degree oven for anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 or 50 minutes.  Use a toothpick to test for doneness:  stick it in the cake, if it comes our clean, the cake is done; if it comes out with moist cake ingredients on it, bake a little longer.

1 tablespoon corn Starch
1     "      "     flour.
1/2 to 3/4 cup Sugar, --
               or to taste.
Butter size of egg.
Pour on Boiling
Water to make
thick enough.
Nutmeg or Vanilla

Molasses Cake.
2 cups flour.
1 cup molasses.
mixed together.
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1       "          cloves.
1 table spoon lard
1 teaspoon of Soda
Cup in Hot Water
Pinch Salt.
1 egg beaten last.



  1. This page looks like some of the pages of an accounting journal where my great grandmother jotted down recipes. You can tell those women carried a lot of the directions in their head.

  2. That form is actually for giving spelling tests. Was she related to a teacher?

    1. She was not a teacher. Yes, it is a page from a tablet of spelling test forms. The front says, "Webster's Spelling. Special Form Spelling Blanks." There's a space for name of student, grade, school, and class on the front, so each student had his own. I don't know when she wrote the recipes. The copyright date on the front is 1909 but I know she wrote the recipes after 1911 because she mentions Crisco. I wonder if was a book left over from her own schooling. I'll probably never know. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment, Dodi.

  3. I had no idea that such a thing as a spelling recipe book existed!

    1. Hi, Jerry. The page is really from a tablet used for spelling tests. It's just that my grandmother wrote some recipes in it. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.


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