|Pumpkin Cakes, c. 1839 Recipe|
Of course, the food historian in me was curious to know if Pumpkin Bread was "a thing" in the 19th century, when Ms. Farmer's Cook book was first printed. What I found from the recipes I have on hand is that, not unsurprisingly, Pumpkin Breads and Cakes were different back in the 19th century. 19th century pumpkin breads seem often to have been made with cornmeal as opposed to wheat flour, yeast instead of chemical leavening agents, and they have little to no sugar. The recipes I found are mostly for batter cakes (pancakes), biscuits, and hoecakes rather than for a sweet quick bread, such as the one I make every fall season. Indeed, 19th century Pumpkin Breads were actually breads, not sweet cakes like they are today.
Modern Recipe Adaptation
2 Cups of Stone-Ground Cornmeal (use a good stone-ground cornmeal; click here to read why and where to get it)
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Butter, Melted
1 Egg (no larger than large)
1/2 Cup Milk
- Preheat the oven to 400º F.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix together the pumpkin and the cornmeal.
- Add the salt, butter, egg and milk. Mix together until well-blended.
- Drop the batter in 2 heaping tablespoon-sized rounds onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve promptly as these are best hot. Serve with butter, maple syrup, jam, apple butter, or molasses.
|Pumpkin Cakes Batter|
|Pumpkin Cakes Ready for the Oven|
|Enjoying Pumpkin Cakes with Butter|
Pumpkin Hoe Cakes