Dickinson was quite a baker; apparently her father “would eat no bread except that baked by her.” Her fruitcake (or, black cake) recipe is included in American Food Writing; it was one of several “lawless cake” recipes passed down by her family. We can recommend it as a good fruitcake even for non-fruitcake fans.
Emily Dickinson’s Black CakeAlso of Interest:
2 pounds Flour—
5 pounds Raisins—
1 ½ Currants
1 ½ Citron
½ pint Brandy
½ — Molasses—
2 teaspoons Soda—
Beat Butter and Sugar together—
Add Eggs without beating—and beat the mixture again—
Bake 2½ or three hours, in Cake pans, or 5 to 6 hours in Milk pan, if full—
- For a modern adaptation of Dickinson’s recipe, with fuller instructions, see this Washington Post recipe.
- The Emily Dickinson Museum hosts an annual baking contest. You can find other Dickinson recipes, including her recipe for gingerbread, in the contest rules (PDF).
|LOA staff members Stefanie Peters and Karen Duda, enjoying Dickinson’s fruitcake.|
|Paul Wagner, a Library of America fellow, looks through American Writers at Home. He and his wife, Jeanette, are Guardians of The Lincoln Anthology and Mark Twain: The Gilded Age and Later Novels.|
|LOA Fellows Anne McIlvaine and Alvin Schulman.|