Three delicious cakes from Iowa ladies guild

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Sunday, October 28, 2012 5:06pm
  • Life

As we now know, sunshine cakes most likely made their appearance on tables across America some time in the early 1900s, and today our recipes date back to 1908.

Everett cook Sharon Schroeher tells us, “My grandfather’s family hails from Clermont, Iowa. I would have sent these earlier, but I put the cookbook away for safekeeping — and I just found it!”

The threesome following, including the sunshine cake, are all taken from Sharon’s copy of a 1908 edition of “The Clermont Cook Book,” compiled by the Ladies of the Guild.

So they don’t lose a single bit of their heirloom flavor, the recipes here appear exactly as they do in the cookbook. A little guesswork, based on Forum cooks’ previous cakebaking experience, should make these work just as well and taste just as good now as they did way back in 1908.

Dolly Varden cake

Two cups sugar, two-thirds cup of butter, one cup sweet milk, three cups flour, three eggs, one teaspoon cream of tartar, one-half teaspoon soda and flavor with lemon. Bake one-half the above mixture in two pans. To the remainder add one tablespoon molasses, one cup chopped raisins, one-half cup currants, a piece of citron chopped fine, one teaspoon each of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Bake in two pans and place together alternately with jelly or frosting.

Feather cake

One large tablespoon butter, two cups sugar, two eggs beaten light, one cup milk, three cups flour, two heaping teaspoons baking powder, one teaspoon vanilla. Cream butter, eggs and sugar, add milk, flour, baking powder and extract. Beat well. Bake in layers and put together with any filling.

Sunshine cake

Seven eggs, white and yolks beaten separately. Add to beaten whites one-fourth teaspoon baking powder and one cup granulated sugar. Add the beaten yolks and a little pinch of salt and one-fourth teaspoon of lemon extract and one cup of flour. Bake 30 minutes in moderate oven.

Switching subjects now, we hear from Pattye Snyder of Everett, “In response to Susan Davison’s request for fig recipes, here is a tasty dessert using fresh figs. You can make it as individual servings or in a large dish — just four ingredients needed. This is so good!

“Serve it to grateful guests.”

Greek fig dessert

Fresh figs

Greek yogurt


Shelled pistachio nuts

Quarter the figs into a serving dish. Spoon yogurt over figs, then sprinkle pistachios on top.

The Forum is always happy to receive your contributions and requests, so don’t hesitate to send them along to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Please remember that all letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to

The next Forum will appear in Wednesday’s Good Life section.

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