For a taste of history, try Mrs. Lincoln’s cake recipe

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Mary Todd made this vanilla-almond cake for Abraham Lincoln when they were courting.

Celebrate Presidents Day by baking a cake that was a longtime favorite of the Lincoln family.

According to Lincoln’s Table by Donna D. McCreary, the vanilla-almond cake was invented by a Monsieur Giron of Lexington, Ky., Mary Todd Lincoln’s hometown. The cake was intended for the visit of the Marquis de Lafayette to Lexington in 1825. It was such a triumph that the Todd ladies begged for the recipe and made it part of the family repertoire.

Mary Todd made the cake for Abraham Lincoln when they were courting in Springfield, Ill. She continued to make it after she became a wife and a mother and even as a first lady.


Mary Todd Lincoln’s white cake

Makes 12 servings

6 egg whites

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor to resemble coarse flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg whites with a mixer on medium-high speed in a medium bowl until stiff, about 4 minutes; set aside. Sift together flour and baking powder 3 times in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat together butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Beat in flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating after each addition. Stir in the almonds. Fold egg whites into the batter; stir in the vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10- to 12-cup bundt pan. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool 15 minutes. Remove from pan to a wire rack; let cool 1 hour. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Per serving: 515 calories (42 percent from fat), 24 grams fat (11 grams saturated), 147 milligrams cholesterol, 66 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams protein, 140 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.

| Adapted from Lincoln’s Table (Guild Press of Indiana) by Donna D. McCreary

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