Sara Adelia Boutwell’s Cider Cake (1850s) made by Clara Silverstein.

Sara Adelia Boutwell’s Cider Cake (1850s)

Clara Silverstein, who will be presenting heritage recipes at the Society’s program on December 1st, has released a version of Groton’s own Sara Adelia Boutwell’s 1850s-era cider cake, a dessert fit for a 19th Century governor! This updated recipe was originally published on Clara’s Heritage Recipe Box website.

Sara Adelia Boutwell’s Cider Cake (1850s)
Makes 16 (2 inch square) pieces

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup molasses
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup sour milk or buttermilk (see note)
Powdered sugar, for serving (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-8-inch pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, ginger and baking soda and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the cider, molasses, melted butter and buttermilk.
  4. Slowly add the cider mixture to the flour mixture, stirring gently, just to combine the ingredients (do not mix too much).
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for approximately 18 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly pressed and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool before slicing and serving. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar if desired.

Note: The original recipe called for sweet milk, but I wanted a more acidic ingredient to help the baking soda work effectively. To make your own sour milk, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk, stir, and let it sit until bubbles form on top, about 5 minutes.