Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Although canned foods were commercially available in America as early as the 1820s, for many years canned foods were considered tasteless at best, and potentially hazardous at worst. Cooks who did use canned foods were often criticized as being lazy. By the 1930s, however, that reputation had completely reversed, as canning technology improved and efficiency and economy were prized. Cheaper canned goods brought expensive foods such as pineapple within the reach of ordinary Americans. The Good Housekeeping Institute promoted canned foods in quick dishes to make for company, such as in this 1933 recipe for pineapple upside down cake.

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Heart Cakes

These 18th century heart cakes are a variation on queen cakes, which were also often baked in heart-shaped tins. This recipe, from Charlotte Mason’s 1777 book The Lady’s Assistant, spruces up a basic queen cake recipe with the addition of candied orange peel and citron. You could certainly bake them in regular muffin tins, too – but as hearts, they are perfect for Valentine’s Day!

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Queen Cakes

Queen cakes, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, were little cakes usually baked in fancy molds. I was drawn to this particular recipe, from Eliza Leslie’s 1828 book Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats, because it seemed especially fancy. Although queen cakes could be made any time of year, Leslie suggests decorating these with red and green nonpareils, which made me think they would be perfect for Christmas.

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