Nova Scotia Archives

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Food, Drink and the Pleasures of Eating in Old-Time Nova Scotia


A Light Spice Cake, Excellent Tea Cake, Hamlets, Christmas Plum Cake, Rice Fruit Pudding, Beautiful Cake

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Modern Method

A Light Spice Cake
2 eggs
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup molasses
½ cup milk
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped raisins
1 cup currants
A nutmeg [use a teaspoon of ground nutmeg if a nutmeg is not available]
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder

All beaten together.

Modern Adaptation:
Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Combine dry ingredients (sifted flour, baking powder, and spices) in one bowl. Cream butter and sugar in another bowl. Add beaten eggs, then milk and molasses. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Dredge currants and raisins in a bit of flour. Add to mixture. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 60 minutes.

Ben Church Hicks, the son of John Hubert Hicks and Henrietta (Armstrong) Hicks, was born on 20 June 1901 in Bridgetown, N.S. He studied at Mount Allison and McGill universities and received a BSc as an electrical engineer from McGill in 1927. Hicks was a consulting engineer in the electrical utility industry for 39 years before retiring and subsequently returning to the Annapolis Valley in 1966. His family papers include his personal papers as well as those of earlier generations beginning in the early nineteenth century. An almanac has been used as a scrapbook; each page is almost totally obliterated by newspaper clippings (one is dated 1874) which include many recipes. (It is impossible to read the title or date of the almanac.) This scrapbook also has many loose manuscript recipes placed between various pages; the hand written recipes are for cherry pudding, rye drop cakes, preserved fruit, sponge pudding, cream cakes, quick pudding, fig pudding, delicate cake, boiled frosting, corn starch puff, jelly cake, ladies fingers, marble cake, Washington pie, doughnuts, citron preserve, railroad cake, ginger snaps, blueberry cake, light cake, light spice cake, tea cake, hamlets, Christmas plum cake, rice fruit pudding, and beautiful cake. There are also recipes for bottled lemonade and soda water. Ben Church Hicks died on 26 November 1982.

Date: ca. 1874

Reference: Ben Church Hicks Nova Scotia Archives  MG 1 vol. 2094 no. 9