FoodCraving a blast from the past? Try this traditional grape cake recipe from 1894

Craving a blast from the past? Try this traditional grape cake recipe from 1894

Traditional cake with grapes.
Traditional cake with grapes.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
4:48 PM EST, January 9, 2024

Confectionery is one of the fastest-growing professions, with some pastries resembling miniature works of art. Cakes these days not only look beautiful, but also taste incredible. Some combinations of ingredients can be quite surprising. Lately, the most popular pairs are raspberries with pistachios, and matcha tea with black currant.

While new culinary experiences are valuable, many of us long for traditional, homemade cakes. Rich, crumbly, laden with meringue or fruit. If you're tired of modern flavors and crave a taste of the old-fashioned, we have the perfect recipe for you.

A taste of history: cake from 1894

Cheesecakes, sponge cakes, layer cakes filled with cream - cakes come in many varieties, each with its own fan base. Few, however, could dispute that one cake reigns supreme. We're talking, of course, about the cheesecake. In some countries there's a deep love for these classic, fluffy, rich delicacies on a crumbly, buttery base.

Then there's another cake - more labor-intensive to prepare, but also more likely to vanish in the blink of an eye. It's a layered cake, typically with a crumbly dough base, filled with sweet cream and fruit. Finally, it's lavished with sweet icing or crowned with meringue. This is how the traditional grape cake was prepared, which already had a place on the menu at the "Zu den Drei Mohren" inn in Augsburg in 1894. In that era, only nobility and high-ranking citizens dined there. We unveil the historic recipe.

Traditional grape cake: a recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups (or 3 sticks) of butter,
  • 1 cup of sugar,
  • 5 egg yolks,
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon,
  • 4 cups of wheat flour,
  • 1 cup of ground almonds,
  • 12 egg whites,
  • 5 cups of powdered sugar,
  • 3.3 lbs of grapes.

Preparation:

  1. Combine butter, sugar, yolks and sifted flour in a bowl. Knead together into a compact mass. Line a large baking tray with paper and lay the rolled dough on it. Preheat the oven to 356°F with both top and bottom heat settings.
  2. Next, prepare the meringue. Pour egg whites into a tall dish. Add a pinch of salt. Mix at high speed until firm. Gradually add powdered sugar until the meringue is smooth and shiny.
  3. Gently fold the grapes into the meringue mix. Pour this onto the dough, then transfer the tray into the preheated oven.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes at 356°F then reduce the temperature to 212°F, switching to top heat. Bake like this for 50 minutes. After that time, increase the temperature to 392°F and bake for a final 10 minutes. It is best served while still warm.
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