Hello history lovers! Fall is a great season, and many times it kicks off a change in cooking! I do not cook or bake much during the hot summer months, so by the time fall comes around I really enjoy homemade meals and home baked treats. From time to time I will share a recipe that I hope you will enjoy. The recipe below is taken from the cookbook of Anna C. Ames, wife of Governor Oliver Ames. She had her own recipe book as many of us do. Besides including recipes for family, she also planned meals for many parties and dinners for guests. I made this recipe last year for one of our monthly events and I had good success with it. Although it is a cupcake, it really is more like a muffin in texture. If you like the flavor of homemade plain doughnuts, you'll love these!
This recipe may be older and perhaps was in the Ames family for a generation or two prior. It uses sour milk. In the days before reliable refrigeration, fresh milk was only able to be kept a day or so. Rather than discard unused milk, any milk that soured overnight was used in recipes to make pancakes, bread doughs, coffee cakes, etc.
This recipe calls for sour milk. To make sour milk, leave one scant cup of milk out until it reaches room temperature. Then add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to it, whisk together, and then let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes. The milk will sour and small curdles will form. At that point it is ready to use in recipes. Sour milk made this way can be used as a substitute for buttermilk as well.
1 cup of butter, softened
3 cups of flour
2 3/4 cups of sugar
1 cup of sour milk sweetened with 1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
A pinch of salt
Make the sour milk by combining one cup of milk and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. When milk has soured (5-10 minutes) gently add 1 teaspoon of baking soda (dissolved in a little warm water) to the milk and set aside.
Cream together the butter and flour. Add sugar, beating thoroughly by hand. Add the sour milk mixture, eggs, nutmeg and salt and mix well.
Pour into muffin tins that are well greased or use paper baking cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
I use either 5 large eggs or 6 medium eggs, For a real treat, serve these cupcakes warm with warm spiced cider at your next fall party!
Frank T. Meninno
Curator, Easton Historical Society and Museum