October 20, 2010

Pennsylvania Tea Cake Recipe from 1870

Last weekend I went to a really fun reeactment where I planned to have a little tea party. When I got there; however, there were very few ladies in the regiment we attached to. The gentlemen and ladies present did enjoy the dainties and we had a lot of fun anyway.

The Pennsylvania Tea Cake is a post-war recipe but is very similar to pre-war recipes. It sounded unusual so I was very excited to see what the finished product would taste like.

My grandmother and I baked the night before the event so I would not have to do any baking once I got there I love baking over the fire, but I was making a lot of things so it wouldn't be practical. My grandmother did me the favor of baking this bread while I baked scones. As she was baking, she kept asking "Does it look all right?"

It ended up tasting and looking really good! 

Pennsylvania Tea Cake 1870


-          4  Egg Yolks
-          2  Whole Eggs
-          1 Tbs Vinegar
-          1 tsp Baking Soda
-          1 ½ cups Sugar
-          ½ pound Butter, creamed
-          Sifted Flour

Modern Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Break eggs into a small bowl and beat. Dissolve Baking Powder in the vinegar; add the vinegar mixture into the beaten eggs.  Put Sugar into a medium-sized bowl; make a divot in the center of the sugar.  Pour the Egg mixture into the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Soften the butter and cream into the batter.  Stir in enough Sifted Flour until it forms a thick batter.  Bake in a buttered 8-inch cake pan for 35- 40 minutes. (Alternatively, you can add enough flour to make dough, roll it out on a floured surface and cut out round biscuits with a cookie cutter to stay closer to the original recipe.) 

Hope you enjoy! The cake really is good. I was afraid to serve something I had never tried baking before but it turned out really moist and yummy.


  1. I think I will print out this recipe, Stephanie Ann! It looks so yummy. I think next time we meet up at a reenactment, you will have to show us how to bake over an open fire! We have wanted to do something like that for a long time but just don't know where to start.

    I wanted to let you know that we are having a Sewing Weekend down here in Virginia and would love for you to come! It would be from 11th-14th but you can come and go as it suits your schedule. Could you e-mail me at bl.stricker@gmail.com so I can give you more information but more privately? Thanks!


  2. Stephanie as bethany said it was great to meet you last weeKend. I am so disapointed I did not get to sample your caKe and yes we need help baKing over an open fire! As you saw at our camp I hardly Know how to tend a fire let alone baKe with one. :)

    Yes do email Bethany about your sewing weeKend. We would love for you to attend! I loved your straw hat and your dress was also beautiful! It was great talKing about everything from family to sewing to reenacting to relationships. I was encouraged and it was fun! ttyl

    God bless,

  3. For those curious, this was deeelicious!

  4. These pictures are great! I was also there with my unit, the South Mountain Artillery, out of Central Pennsylvania about an hour north of Harrisburg. What other events do you usually go to?


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