Saturday, November 1, 2014

Betsy Challenge 11: Foods Named After People

Last weekend I went to my parents' house to spend the weekend with them and celebrate both my birthday and my mom's birthday. While I was there, I thought it would be fun to do a challenge with my mom (hi Mom!). I took over her kitchen on Saturday and made Franklin cakes.

I have no idea what connection these cakes have to Benjamin Franklin, or if there even is a connection, but this has been a recipe I've wanted to try for a while. I have seen it before, and I remember being intimidated by it - probably because of the queen cake pans and converting the amount of eggs. I take it as a sign of good things that I was able to research queen cake pans, decided that muffin tins would suffice, and simply winged it on the eggs. My fear of cooking is abating, thanks to HFF!

The Challenge: Foods Named After People

The Recipe: Franklin Cakes, Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie (anyone else tired of me and my love affair with Mrs. Leslie?

The Date/Year and Region: 1840, United States

How Did You Make It?: I followed the directions. Har har. It really wasn't all that complex. The hardest part was using a different oven and discovering that the "warm" setting on my mom's glass-top stove should really be the "do absolutely nothing for butter and molasses" setting. I did not half the recipe as I usually do, but I only used four eggs and one large lemon instead of two. I baked at 350 for about 25 minutes.

Time to Complete: A couple hours, including a "holy heck we need more molasses than that" grocery store run and the aforementioned debacle with the warm setting

Total Cost: I'm the worst at guessing this. There were a lot of spices so I'm going to say it was more than $5 but less than $10?

How Did It Turn Out: They were good! Like little gingerbread cakes. They were quite dense, so one cake was plenty for one person. They got good reviews from the family. I personally would plan to monkey a bit with the seasonings - it was missing a little something. I think there was also either too much or too little lemon in it. For a non-historic treat, they were really good with some cream cheese frosting.

How Accurate Is It?: I did not use queen cake pans and went for modern muffin tins. Next time I would like to try some patty pans. Also modern oven, stove, etc etc

Butter melting in molasses is funky-looking.

The finished product! They were very pretty.

Mr. Toby helped with supervision and begging. He may have gotten a bit of Franklin cake for his efforts.


  1. Do you have a link to what queen cake pans are? I have no idea....enlighten me. :)

    1. They are small little pans that make individual sized cakes. They can be round or fancy shapes, fluted or plain - I figured regular old muffin tins would do the trick this time, but I'd like them even smaller next time.

  2. They sound good and easy to make. I appreciate the no pearlash. The eggs must make them rise and taste good too.

    1. I used four eggs for my iteration, and it made about a dozen and a half muffin-sized cakes. They rose a surprising amount, but not a ton. They were quite dense but soft and chewy.

  3. They look great. I'm glad they rose, it's always a gamble with period recipes.