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A Great Cake

This great cake was adapted for "The Martha Stewart Show" from a recipe written by Martha Washington.

  • servings: 16

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Ingredients

  • Nonstick cooking spray with flour
  • 10 large eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 1 1/4 pounds all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground mace
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3 1/2 ounces raisins
  • 2 ounces sliced almonds
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 large pear, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 ounces white wine, preferably chardonnay or pinot gris
  • 2 ounces cognac
  • Frosting

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch round springform cake pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and spray parchment with cooking spray; set aside.

  2. Step 2

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Transfer egg whites to a medium bowl.

  3. Step 3

    Clean mixer bowl and return to mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter to bowl and beat on high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary.

  4. Step 4

    Reduce mixer speed to medium and with the mixer running add egg whites to butter, 1 cup at a time, mixing until combined. Slowly add sugar, mixing until well combined. Add egg yolks and mix until combined.

  5. Step 5

    In a large bowl, sift together flour, mace, and nutmeg. With the mixer running add flour mixture to butter mixture, 1 cup at a time. Mix until well combined. Add raisins and almonds.

  6. Step 6

    Place apples and pears in a large bowl and cover with wine and brandy. Add apple mixture to mixer. Increase speed to high, mixing until well combined, about 15 seconds.

  7. Step 7

    Transfer cake batter to prepared pan, spreading evenly with a spatula. Transfer cake to oven and bake, rotating pan once halfway through baking, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  8. Step 8

    Remove cake from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

  9. Step 9

    Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Remove side of pan and transfer cake onto a baking sheet.

  10. Step 10

    Spread frosting all over top and sides of cake. Transfer cake to oven and bake until frosting is dry and brittle, about 1 hour. Frosting should shatter when cake is cut.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, December Fall 2007

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Reviews (11)

  • 13 Jan, 2008

    I made this for a Twelfth Night party the night before the party. Had I waited and frosted it the next day it would have turned out fine. Unfortunately frosting it the night before and covering it made the moistness of the cake (several of my guests commented it was more the consistency of a really moist sweet bread, and less like cake) turn the meringue mushy, and cracked it. It was still delicious but the presentation wasn't what I wanted. Learn from my mistake! I would definitely make it again, though.

  • 1 Jan, 2008

    More history and recipes of Martha Wshington are n the Virginia history cookbook called CELEBRATE VIRGINIA!... It also includes Monticello and other historic site recipes from every county in the Commonwealth. This was just out in honor of Virginia 400th celebration. Find online with any bookseller.

  • 27 Dec, 2007

    I found the reduced size version at this website and was excited to try it and feature it at our Christmas dinner. I followed the directions meticulously and came up with a beautiful, meringue covered cake. When I cut it, what a disappointment to find the center uncooked. To save it, I removed the meringue and put it back in the oven, but of course that would not work. The flavopr is great but the cake came out like a pudding. Maybe the baking time should be increased?

  • 18 Dec, 2007

    When this came on my husband came and got me. Being a food historian, 18th century in particular, I was happy to see 18th century cooking come to life. But I have to say the original recipe for this cake was not written by Martha herself. It was part of a cookbook given to her by her first husband's mother (Daniel Custis) and is not in Martha's hand. The cook book also reflects 17th century foods. An excellent well documented book to read is Karen Hess' MarthaWashington's Book of Cookery.

  • 18 Dec, 2007

    When this came on my husband came and got me. Being a food historian, 18th century in particular, I was happy to see 18th century cooking come to life. But I have to say the original recipe for this cake was not written by Martha herself. It was part of a cookbook given to her by her first husband's mother (Daniel Custis) and is not in Martha's hand. The cook book also reflects 17th century foods. An excellent well documented book to read is Karen Hess' MarthaWashington's Book of Cookery.

  • 18 Dec, 2007

    the exact recipe can be found at:

    http://www.almanac.com/holidays/winter/greatcake.php

    miss-spellings and all.

  • 11 Dec, 2007

    It was a lot of fun to see this made in it's full glory on the show. I was curious about the full recipe too and found information about it and the reduced size recipe on the Mount Vernon website here:
    http://www.mountvernon.org/visit/plan/index.cfm/pid/788/
    and here:
    http://www.mountvernon.org/visit/plan/index.cfm/pid/289/
    It looks like the amounts of fruit, spices, and liquor listed in this reduced recipe are similar to those in the Mount Vernon reduced recipe.

  • 9 Dec, 2007

    This recipe is obviously cut to 1/4 which is great, except it is not correct when it comes to the liquor, spices and fruit. Granted on the show, Martha was talking while she was adding the liquor but it sure looked like more than what she said, but it also looked like it was a whole lot more of the last one (brandy or wine)???

  • 7 Dec, 2007

    The version on the site is the reduced size version.
    The version demonstrated on the show today called for 40 eggs. The recipe on the site only calls for 10 eggs.

  • 7 Dec, 2007

    Is there anyway this cake can be taken down to a normal size to make?

  • 7 Dec, 2007

    Is the "Full Size" resipe somewhere on the site for downloading?