Vintage Maine Recipe: 1914 Simple & Spicy Spring Celebration Cake (With Edible Petals!)

Wayne celebrated a sobriety milestone today–five years! I baked him a special cake inspired by a recipe from my vintage 1914 cook book A Collection of Receipts For The Preparation Of Foods Most Commonly Made In The Songo Kitchen. It was published in Portland, Maine, but “The Songo Hotel” was located in North Bridgton.


The “receipts” (recipes) “have, in past years, met with approval by the guests of the house. So: Look not upon this book with scornful eyes, For all must eat to live however wise.”


Good old-fashioned Yankee thrift is evident in the title of the “Good, Plain, Cheap Cake” recipe I choose. I decided to go with this one because it sounded simple and wholesome with a little spice. 


I used fresh ingredients from Maine and wanted it to be a festive spring cake. We’ve had so much rain these past few weeks but today the sunshine beamed down on the soggy earth and it was good! The forsythia lit right up.


In addition to the ingredients for the cake I decided to forage forsythia petals from my yard (did you know they are edible?) and mixed them with edible flowers I purchased at my local grocery.


Here’s how I made a gluten-free adaptation of the cake. You can use 2 cups of white wheat flour in place of the light buckwheat and tapioca flour if you love your gluten.



4 small pullet eggs or two large eggs

1 cup organic sugar

6 tbsp butter

2/3 cup whole milk

1 cup Acadian LIGHT (not regular!) Buckwheat Flour

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp Cream of Tartar

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Whipped topping: 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup (have you had this before? It’s truly delightful! You can also use sugar or simply not sweeten the cream.)



In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs which have been previously beaten, then the milk, and mix together. Combine the dry ingredients and sift into the bowl with the wet ingredients. Add the lemon juice, then mix again. Bake in two greased 8″ cake pans in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Cool for about fifteen minutes, then remove cakes from the pans and finish cooling on a rack. Whip the heavy cream and syrup together with a electric mixer, then spread it between the layers and over the cake. Add edible flowers on top if desired.

This is the first time I made this recipe and I had to wait until Wayne got home to know if it was simply a pretty cake with edible petals or if it the cake itself was edible, too, yikes!


I’m so proud of and inspired by Wayne!


The verdict? Wonderful! It’s moist, spicy, light, and fun to eat! I really enjoy the challenge of working with vintage recipes and re-imagining them. Please let me know in the comments if you enjoy reading my vintage recipe posts!

9 thoughts on “Vintage Maine Recipe: 1914 Simple & Spicy Spring Celebration Cake (With Edible Petals!)

  1. Congratulations to Wayne! I wish my father had the same strenght of will in the past, but unfortunatelly he didn´t…
    About the cake… It looks delicious and beautiful!
    I like to learn vintage recipes. I have a book from 1952 caled “O cozinheiro prático” (the practical cook) that belonged to my mother and a few 60’s, 70’s and 80’s cooking magazines and I love to read them, because they have the most simple, cheap and delicious meals. Oh and also love the pictures of the food, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your well wishes and great feedback. Your 1952 book sounds intriguing. Practicality, affordability, simplicity and nutrition were usually emphasized up until the 1980s, it seems.

      Paula, my heart breaks for you. I am sorry for your loss.


  2. That’s great for you guys! Alcohol has negatively affected more families than any other drug that I can think of. There is a place in town, World of Beer, that has started advertising all you can drink beer for BREAKFAST and LUNCH. I am thinking about writing a letter to the paper suggesting that these kind of ads should not be supported by our local radio stations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dr. J! Seriously, all you can drink beer for breakfast/lunch?! I think you should pen that letter ASAP. Hopefully your paper will be open to all views!


  3. Congratulations, Wayne! And I do love seeing your vintage recipes. This is a beautiful cake. Interesting how recipes used to be “receipts”. I’ve seen that in a number of vintage online articles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aileen, thank you. I’ve been learning to interpret vintage which is handy for a lot of these recipes that often lack important heating details or use outdated terms. It makes it more fun. 😀


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