What I Loved

Poverty Cake

Poverty cake is a recipe that is precisely how it sounds. The ingredients aren’t fancy or expensive. There is a decent chance that you already have all of the ingredients on hand. This recipe produced a thin cake that tasted a lot like a sugar cookie. It was sweet, but not overly so. It would be the perfect canvas for some berries and cream. Whatever you decide to top this cake with, you are sure to have a winner.

Original Poverty Cake Recipe

Make this of one cupful of sugar, two cupfuls and a half of sifted flour, one large tablespoonful of butter (lard or drippings will do), one teaspoonful of cream-of-tartar, half a teaspoonful of soda, or one teaspoonful and a half of baking-powder, half a teaspoonful of salt, and one cupful of milk.

Have the butter soft, and rub it together with the sugar. Mix the soda with the flour, and rub through the sieve. Add the milk to the sugar and butter; then add the flour and a little nutmeg. Bake in shallow pans in a rather quick oven for twenty five minutes.

A few currants make a pleasant change. The quantities given will make two sheets.

Updated Method

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup milk

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar and butter. Add milk and vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl combine flour and baking powder and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and baking powder mix to the milk mixture. Mix thoroughly. Transfer mixture to a cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Poverty Cake

What I Learned

I am not a huge fan of nutmeg, and many recipes from the 1800s call for nutmeg. If nutmeg is your jam, then feel free to add a dash to this poverty cake. Instead of adding nutmeg, I decided to add vanilla extract. I felt this led to a better taste. I learned that you can make something quite delicious with simple and common ingredients. Most people will have flour, sugar, milk, and butter in the house. That is all you really need to make this wonderful poverty cake.

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Poverty Cake

Recipe Reference

Miss Parloa’s Kitchen Companion. A Guide For All Who Would Be Good Housekeepers. Published in 1887

Vintage Poverty Cake Recipe From 1887: A Perfect Base For Many Desserts

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