We love going through antique cookbooks. Of course many of the recipes in them are untested, and, frankly, inedible. But each one is a little domestic history lesson. Part of the fun of skimming these old books are the many silly names for dishes that have slipped (often rightfully) into oblivion. We’ve already introduced you to the “Chicken Roly Poly”. And “Syllabub.” Someday we might spring “Sally Lunns” on you. Or “Cracknels.” Or “Puff Wonders.” Or “Maids of Honor.”
Those light-hearted recipe titles probably brought a lot of levity to kitchens and tables in those pre-Food Network days when cooking wasn’t so much a hobby as a chore. Try to picture Ina Garten feeding ten kids and a husband using only what she had in her garden, a stubborn wood fire, and pails of water from the well up the hill. (Attention network execs: you got the idea here first.) When a 19th century homemaker’s self-cured lamb shank molded over in the basement, there wasn’t much else to do besides cut off the spoilage, fry up whatever was left to kill off toxins, cover it with a flour paste and call it “Frizzle Pud.” Even if it tasted horrible, at least she’d hopefully get a laugh from the kids. (And wouldn’t kill off more than one or two of them.)
We’re sure Joanna Beekman, William’s wife, faced most of the same challenges as other homemakers of her day. Even as a prominent judge’s wife, she was still living in the middle of pretty much nowhere. And though her husband owned a general mercantile, she was subject to the same limitations of ingredients as her neighbors. However, she was probably held to a higher standard of entertaining. So when company came calling, she had to make her husband proud…even if all she had was some flour, sugar, and jam from the previous summer.
We get a lot of last minute guests just like Joanna did. So a few years ago we developed a quick dessert that looks elegant, but can be whipped up in minutes. It’s as good for a morning coffee talk, as it is for an afternoon gossip session. Or even a late night gab fest. But most importantly, it uses ingredients you surely have on your pantry shelf and in your refrigerator. We decided this cake deserved a silly old-fashioned name…thus, the “JamDoily” cake was born.
People loved it so much, we decided to produce a ready-to-make mix of our favorite variety, vanilla cardamom, and offer it for purchase in our mercantile. All you need to bring to the mixing bowl are eggs, milk, butter and that half a jar of jam that’s been sitting in your fridge door. If you don’t want to use our mix, then by all means make your cake from scratch…you just need a recipe for a two layer cake. Any one will do. And you’ll have it finished in a doodinny-minny. That’s another made up word. This is fun. Follow along…
Firts, take one of your two cake layers and flip it UpsyDupsy.
Next, globbaglobb (yes, that’s both a noun and a verb) of jelly on the cake.
Spread it around evenly in a thick, mishysquish layer.
Put the second layer righty-tite on top of the jelly.
Now it’s time for prettification. Place a doily on top of the cake. (And yes, we include the doily right in with our mix. We’re thoughtful like that.)
And then tippatappa a little powdered sugar over top of the doily. That means: put it in a wire sieve and gently shake it to ensure an even dusting. (Oh yes, we include the powdered sugar separately in our mix too. Man, we think of everything.)
Be careful not to jigglerupt the doily while removing it. You want a nice clean design.
Pretty, right? Your guests will flobbergibber over it.
They might even gigglechort.
But if they chucklechomp, by all means, call 911.
JamDoily Cake Mix and Beekman 1802 jams available here.