Eve’s Pudding

This recipe comes from Catherine Dickens, the wife of Charles Dickens. While her husband is better known for his writing career, Catherine Dickens made her own foray into authorship with the cookbook What Shall We Have for Dinner?. The book was first published sometime before 1851 (the date of the first edition is unknown), and was reissued in several revised editions over the next few years. Catherine published her book under what is probably the best pseudonym ever – Lady Maria Clutterbuck – the name of the character she had portrayed in an amateur theatrical production of the play Used Up.

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A Cheap Seed Cake

“It was the pleasantest tea-table in the world. Miss Clarissa presided. I cut and handed the sweet seed-cake — the little sisters had a bird-like fondness for picking up seeds and pecking up sugar; Miss Lavinia looked on with benignant patronage, as if our happy love were all her work; and we were perfectly contented with ourselves and one another.”

-Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1850.

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Sponge-Cake Pudding

Victorian cooks hated to waste food, and had all sorts of creative ways to use up leftovers. This super simple one-sentence recipe is an excellent way to use up leftover sponge cake (or, in my case, to use up a failed pound cake that didn’t rise properly. It’s not a failure if you can turn it into something else!). It works on the same principle as a custard-based bread pudding, just using cake instead of bread.

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