Friday, December 23, 2011

The oldest Christmas cake in America . . .

Are These the Oldest Christmas Cakes in the U.S.?

. . . is 100 years old.  That's right, you read it correctly, 100 years old.  Instead of having cake at a birthday party, Pierre Girard, the cake's owner, just threw a birthday party for the cake:

Girard said the cake was a gag gift in 1994 from a friend who was a retired antique dealer. An attorney handling an estate sale for an elderly woman who had passed away gave it to the dealer.
"They wrapped it up and gave it to me and I brought it home from that dinner and put it on my dining room table," Girard said. "When I put Christmas things away, I just couldn't put it away."
When Girard took a closer look at the cake's box, he saw that it said, "Xmas cake baked in Dec. 1911? from the Rose Garden Florist in Detroit. On the bottom of the box, it said, "Xmas cake baked in year 1911 by my mother's brother Alex, died Dec. 27. Was operated on Xmas Day."
Girard did some research and believes that the cake was an English-inspired Victorian cake.
"They used to have a Christmas cake that they would eat and then let it dry out and put it away until the following year when they would soak it in brandy or rum and rebuild the cake adding back on to the layers," he said.
Girard believes that after the death in the family that used to re-build the cake yearly, they chose to keep it and preserve it. He thinks soaking it in alcohol is what preserved the cake and its smell.
"You can smell a spice smell to it. It doesn't smell bad," Girard said. "It's hard as a rock, with a cinnamon clove type smell."

Hmmm.  Alcohol and cake making.  Reminds me of baking Borepatch's own special orange cake with Grand Marnier chocolate frosting back in the '70s.  As I recall, the recipe called for a splash of the liqueur in the frosting and the rest of the bottle in Borepatch . . .


Borepatch said...

Funny, that's the same recipe I remember. Err, if "remember" is the right word ....

Deli Divine said...

Flour is gluten that binds. The spices are generally sifted in with the flour. A strong gluten flour is desirable, ideally preferring a high grade flour or sometimes even bread flours are used. This cake doesn’t usually use a raising agent like baking powder. Alternative Gluten free flours can be used, selecting bread flours that have a stronger base.