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Gingerbread Cakes

Wordsworth

Nothing can be better on a chilly afternoon than warm Gingerbread cakes. In 1803, the poet William Wordsworth, home sick with a cold, certainly thought so. His sister, Dorothy records:

“Wm. had a fancy for some gingerbread; I put on Molly’s cloak and my spencer and walked towards Mathew Newton’s. . . the blind man and his sister were sitting by the fire. All seemed very clean in their Sunday clothes. They took their little stock of gingerbread out of the cupboard, and I bought 6 pennyworth. They were so grateful.”

In England, gingerbread refers not to a cake, but a type of biscuit made with ginger. It commonly takes the form of a gingerbread man. Gingerbread men are first attributed to Queen Elizabeth I, who allegedly served the figurines to foreign dignitaries. Today, however, they are generally served at Christmastime. Continue reading Gingerbread Cakes

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Rich Pound Cake

Cake, often regarded as dessert, was in fact, during Jane Austen’s day, saved for breakfast or tea. Dessert, as mentioned in an earlier article, would have been fruit and nuts. Upon a visit to Stoneleigh Abbey, Mrs Austen, Jane’s mother, was known to have remarked on the quantity of food at breakfast, listing, “Chocolate Coffee and Tea, Plumb Cake, Rich Pound Cake, Hot Rolls, Cold Rolls, Bread and Butter, and dry toast for me”. The capitalizations are hers. Continue reading Rich Pound Cake