Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake

This delicious white cake, with a subtle almond flavor, was one of Mary Todd Lincoln’s specialties.  Some historians say the First Lady didn’t serve the cake with frosting, but it certainly adds great flavor.

Mary Todd Lincoln

First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln

Yield: 1 cake
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes (includes cooling)
Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Recipe Created By: Charlyn Fargo
Recipe From: Illinois Farm Bureau Partners

Mary Todd Lincoln's White Cake

Abe was honestly crazy over Mary’s white cake.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup unsalted almonds, chopped
  • 6 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Frosting:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup candied cherries, chopped
  • ½ cup candied pineapple, chopped
  • few drops vanilla or almond extract

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sift together flour and baking powder; remove 2 tablespoons and set aside. Add sifted ingredients, alternating with milk, to creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Combine almonds with reserved flour and add to batter.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff. Add in salt. Fold into batter. Pour into three greased and floured 8- or 9-inch cake pans.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool 5-10 minutes then remove from pans and cool on racks.
  • While cake is baking, prepare frosting: Combine sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil; cover and cook about 3 minutes until the steam has washed down any sugar crystals that may have formed on side of pan. Uncover and cook until syrup reaches 238-240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  • Whip egg whites until frothy; add in syrup in thin stream, whipping egg whites constantly until frosting is spreading consistency. Mix in cherries, pineapple and vanilla or almond flavoring. Frost cake once it has cooled.

Presidential Favorite – New England Clam Chowder

John F. Kennedy, the 35th United States President, was reportedly not a big eater and had to be reminded about meal times.  But when he did dine, he was true to his New England roots.

President John F. Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy sits aboard the United States Coast Guard boat Manitou in Narragansett Bay, Newport, R.I., August 26, 1962. ROBERT KNUDSEN/WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHS, JOHN F. KENNEDY PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

From EatingWell: September/October 2008

Yield:  6 servings, generous 1 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp.  canola oil
  • 4 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 medium red potato, diced
  • 1 clam juice, (see Makeover Tip below)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 c. low-fat milk
  • 1/2 c.  heavy cream
  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 12-ounce fresh clam strips, (see Shopping Tip below), chopped, or 3 6-ounce cans chopped baby clams, rinsed
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

 

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crispy, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer half of the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Add onion, celery, and thyme to the pan; cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add potato, clam juice, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Whisk milk, cream, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the pan and return to a simmer, stirring, over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add clams and cook, stirring occasionally, until the clams are just cooked through, about 3 minutes more.
To serve, discard bay leaf. Ladle into bowls and top each serving with some of the reserved bacon and scallions.

 

Tips & Techniques

Makeover tip: Check sodium carefully when using clam juice because the amount of sodium can vary dramatically between brands. We use Bar Harbor clam juice with only 120 mg sodium per 2-ounce serving.

Shopping tip: Look for fresh clam strips at the seafood counter.

President Kennedy’s New England Fish Chowder

John F., Kennedy, the 35th United States President, was reportedly not a big eater and often had to be reminded about meal times.  For lunch, President Kennedy was particularly fond of soup–New England Fish Chowder was a favorite.

 

U.S. President John F. Kennedy

The President kept to his New England roots, enjoying such fish dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds haddock
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 ounces salt pork, diced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 large potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Simmer the haddock in the water for 15 minutes. Drain. Reserve the broth. Remove the bones from the fish. Saute the pork until crisp, remove from pan, and set aside. Saute the onions in the pork fat until golden brown. Add the fish, potatoes, celery, bay leafy, salt, and pepper. Pour in fish broth, plus enough boiling water to make 3 cups liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the milk and butter, and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve the chowder sprinkled with pork dice. Serves 6.”
A Treasury of White House Cooking, Francois Rysavy [G.P. Putnam’s Sons:New York] 1972 (p. 210-211)

 

To see the original copy of the recipe, click Here for Bon Appetit’s website.

New England Fish Chowder

Photo by S. Bonnie

 

To find more Presidential food favorites, go to Food Time Line.org