A cake recipe from George Washington’s Virginia home
found on Revolutionarypie.com
Karen Hammonds who runs revolutionarpie writes: When I read about Martha Washington’s Great Cake, I wondered whether it was called that because it was really good or really large. I think the name was meant to describe its size — to give you an idea of just how big it was, here is Martha’s recipe:
Take 40 eggs and divide the whites from the yolks and beat them to a froth. Then work 4 pounds of butter to a cream and put the whites of eggs to it a Spoon full at a time till it is well work’d. Then put 4 pounds of sugar finely powdered to it in the same manner then put in the Yolks of eggs and 5 pounds of flour and 5 pounds of fruit. 2 hours will bake it. Add to it half an ounce of mace and nutmeg half a pint of wine and some fresh brandy.
This cake was prepared at Mount Vernon, the Washingtons’ Virginia home, during the Christmas season and for other special occasions. I’ve seen references to Martha baking it herself, but according to the book Dining with the Washingtons, cooking was ordinarily done by servants. Martha did supervise meal planning and the kitchen closely, however, and Washington family lore had it that she made some dishes herself. I like to think she baked George a cake once in a while.