Sour Cream Cake

With cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Last year, we looked at a recipe for sour cream cake in the box from Lutz, Florida, and compared it to a recipe from an 1894 newspaper. I was curious about even earlier iterations, so here’s one from the September 25, 1886 edition of The Elkhart (Indiana) Sentinel:

— Sour cream cake: One cup of sugar, two eggs, whites and yolks beaten separately, one cup of sour cream made sweet with soda, and three small cups of flour, one cup of currants, and a teaspoonful of vanilla extract. Bake in cups or little pans. — Toledo Blade.

But then, that’s a sour cream cake that calls for yelks. Our box owner titled this a sauer cream cake, using the German spelling (as in sauerkraut, which is literally German for “sour cabbage”). You might well wonder if there aren’t recipes for sauer cream cake.

I haven’t found one yet, myself. So far, the only mention of anything like that is the advertisement to the right, from the August 4, 1939 edition of The Sheboygan Press. Still, 1939 would be right in the “sweet spot” for this recipe box, so it’s possible the alternative spelling was making the rounds.

But these are coffee cakes, still. A recipe with instructions that looks a bit more like what was intended here appeared in the August 14, 1941 edition of the syndicated “Household News” column by Lynn Chambers (this from the The Elma (Iowa) New Era):

Easy to make but easier to take is this cocoa cake made with sour cream. Even if you want to serve it with the richer ice creams you won’t feel too stuffed with it because it is light textured and feathery. If there is no sour cream to be had sweet milk can be substituted, but use it with 2 teaspoons of baking powder instead of the soda.

Sour Cream Cocoa Cake.
(makes 2 9-inch layers)

1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites

Mix cocoa in boiling water and stir until smooth. Cool. Cream shortening and sugar together until light, then add cocoa. Sift the dry ingredient and add alternately with cream to the first mixture. Beat until smooth after each addition. Add vanilla then cold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour batter into pan lined with wax paper, and bake in a moderate oven (375 degrees) 30 minutes. Put together with

Chocolate Icing.

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces melted chocolate
Milk to moisten

Cream butter and sugar, add melted chocolate, milk, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread between layers and over cake.

From the box of G.Y. from Wichita, Kansas.

Sour Cream Cake

2 cups sour cream
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs, beaten separately
2 level teaspoons baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 level teaspoon allspice
1 level teaspoon cinnamon
1 level teaspoon nutmeg

Cake filling:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sweet cream

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