From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is one of the recipes I tested while searching for cakes and pastries that could be served on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. I came across this recipe in an old issue of Midwest Living magazine, and while I found the flavors of the cake to be a bit much for breakfast, the cake, which is texturally like a Sally Lunn, would be perfect to serve with afternoon coffee or as part of a more formal tea. Mary Lincoln's cinnamon cake is actually a lightly yeasted batter bread that I think you will find very easy to make and even easier to enjoy. It's spiced much like an old-English tea cake, and it gets extra flavor from the macerated currants that are soaked for hours before they are added to the batter. The soused currants add moisture to the cake, and it will keep for several days if it is well-wrapped. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. Here is how the cake is made.
Mary Todd Lincoln's Cinnamon Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Midwest Living magazine
1 cup dried currants or 1 cup raisins
1/4 cup brandy or 1/4 cup orange juice
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm milk
1 tablespoon sugar
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided use
1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1) In a jar, combine currants or raisins and brandy or orange juice. Cover tightly. Let soak overnight.
2) Grease a 10-inch tube pan. Set aside.
3) In a medium bowl, combine yeast, milk, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand until mixture is bubbly.
4) By hand, beat in 1 cup flour until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes).
5) In a bowl, stir together the 2-3/4 cups flour, cinnamon, mace, and salt and set aside. Drain currants, reserving brandy or juice.
6) In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 cup sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until very light. Add egg and beat until light.
7) Beat in lemon peel, lemon juice, and reserved brandy or orange juice. Add yeast mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
8) By hand, stir in currants, then stir in flour mixture until well combined.
9) Turn batter into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
10) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
11) Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cake, remove from pan and complete cooling on a wire rack.
12) To make glaze: In a bowl, stir together powdered sugar and orange juice until mixture is smooth and drizzles easily. Drizzle cake with glaze or powdered sugar. Yield: 12 servings.
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