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Food: Boston’s Favorite Cake

February 15, 2011

When I looked at the ingredient list for Fannie M. Farmer’s “Boston Favorite Cake” [sic], it seemed familiar.

When I tasted the batter, it seemed close to home as well- but it didn’t really taste like…cake. It was more flour-y, not very sweet, but still reminiscent of something I’d had before, I just couldn’t quite place it.

I followed Ms. Farmer’s directions with painstaking precision, which meant determining what 1 and 7/8 cup of sugar looked like, and “boiling sirup until it spun a long thread” for the Maraschino Icing. (How long is long, when you are talking about sirup threads? And what’s a sirup thread?)

And finally, my cake was cooled and iced, and I got to taste my labor of love. And I realized I could have saved myself a lot of time by just buying a box of bisquick. I had made one big, fat, pancake. Topped with annoying icing.

Technically my execution was fine – and thank you to Fannie for writing such precise recipes for both the cake and the icing. I’m just gently amused by the fact that this cake, in any blind taste test, could pass for diner pancakes. And perhaps pancakes are Boston’s favorite cake. But I kind of thought that was Boston Cream Pie. Oh well.


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