They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and this delicious dessert may well have helped win over Abe’s.
While Abraham Lincoln was known to be a quiet, brooding man at times, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was a vivacious host and loved to entertain.
From their home in Springfield, Illinois, to her time in the White House, Mrs. Lincoln would host elaborate parties and dinners that were always a resounding success.
She especially loved baking sweets, and one of the recipes that remained in her repertoire throughout her life was a white almond cake that was a particular favorite of President Lincoln’s.
According to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, she baked the cake for him when they were courting and continued to make it in Springfield and as First Lady. The recipe is said to originate from her favorite bakery in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.
It tastes as good today as it did back then, and is a great way to bring some old-school Kentucky hospitality to your holiday festivities.
Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Almond Cake
- 1 cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor until they resemble a coarse flour
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 6 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- confectionary sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder three times. Add to creamed butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well.
3. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectionary sugar over top. A basic white frosting sprinkled with almonds is also a popular option.
Recipe from “Lincoln’s Table” by Donna D. McCreary, adapted by Janice Cooke Newman
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