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Joyce White

Chef Session: Lydia Child’s Cup Cake, A circa 1832 Recipe

Historic Cup Cake recipes were not necessarily named for making small individually baked cakes the size of cups, although the recipe could be baked in that way. Instead, Cup Cake was a version of a pound cake designed to be made by people who did not own scales for weighing out the ingredients and was therefore a recipe associated with frugality and practicality. It is an easy recipe to remember, just 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour and 4 eggs; therefore, it was also called 1-2-3-4 Cake. Any cup could be used to make the recipe as long as the same cup was used to measure the flour, butter and sugar to keep the proportions consistent. In addition, spices, fruits or seeds can be added to the recipe.

For ease of making in today’s kitchens, a modern recipe adaptation will be provided along with the original recipe.

The recipe is availabe in the files below.

Session Handouts

Cup Cake Recipe – Joyce White

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Joyce White (atasteofhistory.net | LinkedIn) is a food historian who works with historic sites/museums interpreting historic foodways, offers PowerPoint presentations and online or hearth cooking classes/demos, and produces food history videos, articles, and more.