“Nothing,” said my friend, “is quite so enjoyable as a bright cold day, a warm room with a fireplace in which the sparks fly lively and a good Jewish cake, eaten while you sip a small glass of Madeira or Marsala, or, perhaps, Russian tea in a glass.”
“But why just a Jewish cake?” I demanded. “In the Kingdom of Gastronomy as in the Republic of Letters we only ask for excellence without insisting on special race or creed.”
“True enough,” said my friend, “but a Jewish cake has a special quality of its own that fits in with the Winter day. It is rich, spicy, almost over-full of goodness, just as all Jewish cookingâ€”the old-fashioned kindâ€”is heavy, substantial, luxurious with fats and sweets and almonds and what not. For the Ghetto Jew of former times was wandering the whole week round through the Gentile villages with a pack on his back and his fare was meagre indeed. Dry bread, perhaps a hard boiled egg, some fruit, some water-cressâ€”nothing to gloat over and enjoy. But when he came home on Friday evening then the Sabbath feast began, and what was then served to him made up in richness for the leanness of his weekday meals. Therefore, if you want to enjoy something particularly luscious eat Jewish fish, a Jewish goose, or Jewish cake.”
And then she gave me a recipe for such a Jewish spice cake which I gladly hand on to you.
Needed ingredients: 1 cup of shortening, 1 cup brown sugar, 4 eggs, Â¾ cup of water, 1 teaspoon soda, 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon mixed all-spice, nutmeg, cloves, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 sprinkle ground mace, Â½ cup of raisins, Â¼ cup of currants, Â¼ cup citron, Â¼ cup candied cherries. Cream the shortening, add sugar, flour and yolks of eggs gradually. Chop or cup up fruit very fine and sift part of flour over it; beat whites of eggs stiffly, folding them in after all the fruit and the spices have been well beaten into the dough. Bake in a loaf or tube pan in very moderate oven for about fifty minutes, and line the pan with several thicknesses of greased paper.