You needn't travel back to the 1860s to get a taste of this historical cake. The cake is easy to prepare, and you'll find everything you need to make it at your local grocery store.
I found a recipe for the "Mary Todd Lincoln Cake" adapted to today's measuring conventions by Amy of visit-gettysburg.com. It can be prepared as a bundt cake or as a layer cake. When served as a layer cake, the cake is typically layered with preserves.
My take on the classic is to make individual tea cakes filled with just a spot of tart raspberry preserves, and topped with a dash of powdered sugar. The combination of the ground almonds and raspberry preserves reminds me of a Linzer Torte. They make the perfect little breakfast cake to enjoy with a nice cup of tea on Lincoln's Birthday -- or any day!
Mary Todd Lincoln Tea Cakes
(adapted from the original recipe at visit-gettysburg.com)
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 6 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup raspberry preserves
- confectioners sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 375.
- Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans, one bundt pan, or prepare 12 individual baking cups.
- In a food processor, grind the almonds into a course flour. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, sift flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Stir flour into the butter mixture, in small batches, alternating with the milk.
- Stir almond meal into the batter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form (a pinch of salt will help the process along). Whisk in vanilla extract.
- Gently fold egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula. Pour batter into prepared pans or cups.
- Bake for 25- 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for fifteen minutes before inverting cake from pan. Cool completely before serving.
- For tea cakes, an apple corer is a perfect tool for removing a small piece from the center of each mini cake. To easily dispense the raspberry preserves, spoon into a pastry or ziploc bag, and snip the tip. Then simply "pipe" the preserves into the hole. Dust cakes with powdered sugar and enjoy.
To share a taste of history, wrap cakes in cellophane bags and attach one of the tags (download HERE).