Cake Filling

Or pie filling, if your pie is a cake. No, really–we’ll come back to that.

While a more typical custard would be made with additional egg yolks, there’s no chemical reason why that has to be true. Actually, in the case of cake fillings, it had more to do with practical use of ingredients–the whites would end up in the cake, the yolks in the custard. Consider this version from 1887’s White House Cook Book by Fanny Lemira Gillette:

Custard or Cream Cake

Cream together two cups of sugar and half a cup of butter; add half a cup of sweet milk in which is dissolved half a teaspoonful of soda. Beat the whites of six eggs to a stiff froth, and add to the mixture. Have one heaping teaspoonful of cream tartar stirred thoroughly into three cups of sifted flour, and add quickly. Bake in a moderate oven, in layers like jelly-cake, and when done, spread custard between.

For the Custard.–Take two cups of sweet milk, put it into a clean suitable dish, sit it in a dish of boiling water on the range or stove. When the milk comes to a boil, add two tablespoonfuls of corn-starch or flour stirred into half a cup of sugar, adding the yolks of four eggs, and a little cold milk. Stir this into the boiling milk, and when cooked thick enough, set aside to cool; afterwards add the flavoring, either vanilla or lemon. It is best to make the custard first, before making the cake part.

In the post for Yesterdish’s eclairs, we talked about how custard with starch is pastry cream. Well, if you take pastry cream, put it in a white cake, and top it with a chocolate glaze, you make Boston Cream Pie.

From a notebook originally from somewhere in the general area of Sterling, Colorado from the 1930s.

This recipe is from the 34th page of the notebook; here’s the page in full (click to enlarge).

Click to expand a longer explanation...

In the words of the seller:
I acquired this book from the great granddaughter of the woman who wrote this book back in a small Nebraska town in the 30’s. She belonged to that generation of rural housewives who worked tirelessly to make ends meet and “keep body and soul together” for their families working the farms.Later addendum:

[A]fter a conversation I had with a friend’s sister who used to live in North Eastern Colorado, given the type of recipes listed we decided it might be from a small town there, i.e., Sterling or Fort Morgan. Also North Platte or Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Even Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you Google a map of Sterling, Colorado and pull back, you will see all these little towns in that tri-state area.

Cake Filling

1/2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. scalded milk
2 tsp. vanilla

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