Ammonia Cakes (Yes, Ammonia)

Decorating By cheeseball Updated 5 Feb 2010 , 11:09pm by milkmaid42

cheeseball Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 3:24am
post #1 of 9

I was unpacking a box today (just moved) and found the Ladies' Aid Society Cookbook, published in 1902. Ran across this gem:

Ammonia Cakes
4 eggs, 1 1/2 pounds of white sugar, 1/2 pound of butter, 5 cents worth of lump ammonia dissolved in 1 pint of sweet milk, 1 teaspoonful of salt, enough flour to make stiff enough to roll thin and bake in a quick oven. Splendid. -- Mrs. T.A. Hatch

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8 replies
Doug Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 3:35am
post #2 of 9

lump ammonia.....

aka......

old style baking powder


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_bicarbonate

cheeseball Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 12:54pm
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I figured it had to be something like that...weird though, because right next to it are recipes that call for Rumford baking powder...
Hey Doug, do you know what sea foam is (or was)? It's in a white & gold cake recipe and I'm thinking it's a flavoring.

JustToEatCake Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 3:36pm
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeseball

I figured it had to be something like that...weird though, because right next to it are recipes that call for Rumford baking powder...
Hey Doug, do you know what sea foam is (or was)? It's in a white & gold cake recipe and I'm thinking it's a flavoring.



I checked several "sea foam" recipes and google and it seems to be a light flourless cake. Now I'm not sure if you are saying in your book it's an ingredient or a recipe.

Something drew me to this thread and I remember now my mother made sea foam cake/s. Basically it's meringue. I remember them now like it was yesterday.

JGMB Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 3:48pm
post #5 of 9

My aunt used to make a candy that she called "sea foam." I remember it being white and fluffy like divinity. Yummm . . . fond memories!

milkmaid42 Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 4:59pm
post #6 of 9

I use ammonium carbonate frequently in cookies. It is a popular leavening in Scandinavia and produces a very crisp sugar cookie. It was originally made from the antlers of a deer and is known as "hartshorn", or more commonly, Baker's ammonia. It gives off a very pronounced odor of ammonia in the oven, however that is totally absent in the finished baked good. It comes as a white powder, but unless you use it rather frequently, it tends to evaporate from even a tightly closed container. I get it from king arthur flour dot com. This might be considered T M I, but I get intrigued by off-beat ingredients.

cheeseball Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 5:14pm
post #7 of 9

I've seen 'seafoam frosting' like a 7 minute dealio and then one where you make a cooked candy and you mix in baking soda so it's all airy (like making peanut brittle) then you break it up and press it into the frosting. But this says "two teaspoonfuls of seafoam, flavor to taste."

Milkmaid, that's what hartshorn is?! Well, ya learn somethin' new every day icon_lol.gif There are all sorts of interesting things in this cookbook...I'm looking at a recipe called Royal Strawberry Acid...I think it might be a drink, but I'm still not sure icon_lol.gif

milkmaid42 Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 5:39pm
post #8 of 9

That sounds scary!

milkmaid42 Posted 5 Feb 2010 , 11:09pm
post #9 of 9

Cheeseball, here's another interesting factoid for you: Our foremothers used to use snow as a leavening! The fresh, dry snow contained ammonia, but exactly how it was incorporated and what it yielded, I don't really know. Even my sourdough starter varies from time to time. It sure makes us glad nowadays to be able to run to the market and buy reliable, consistent leaven. (That sounds like a very interesting book. I love food history.)

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