Daffodil Cake – Retro Recipe

It is still sputtering and spitting and trying to be spring, but it just isn’t here yet.  I got to rummaging around in precious things – ie., my Papa’s handwritten notes for grated sweet tater puddn’ and fried chicken, my grandma Ninny’s punch and fondant candy, etc.  What I wanted though was the barely legible but rewritten on the back recipe for my great-grandmother’s Daffodil cake recipe.  This recipe has been around since early 1900s and varies with the usage of 6 – 12 eggs.  This one takes 6.

It is a lovely cake – yellow and white cake batters – angel and sponge cake together in the same pan. A light and springy cake – lemony, delicate – a visually happy cake.

TIP: Use some white vinegar and a paper towel to wipe your bowl and beaters. This ensures all the film of dishwashers, grease, etc. is removed. This stuff is the enemies of a good meringue. You also don’t want to beat the whites into dry peaks. You want soft peaks. The French make wonderful meringue because mostly, they do the egg whites in copper bowls – a natural acidic reaction takes place. So, as I said, wipe your bowl and beaters. The cream of tartar also helps to aid in that reaction. And please, do the white part in a glass or steel bowl – don’t use plastic that’s been around the block a few times thata gallon of vinegar wouldn’t help.

どうぞめしあがれ  Douzo meshiagare y’all!

6 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring
Beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue beating until eggs hold a point. Add sugar gradually and continue beating. Fold in flour which has been sifted with the salt. Add lemon flavoring. Pour into large nonstick tube pan sprayed generously with cooking spray.

6 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. boiling water
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Beat yolks until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually and continue beating. Add flavoring, then alternate boiling water with the flour which has been sifted with the salt and baking powder. Mix smooth and place over white layer. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 45-55 minutes.


25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 18:54:17

    That looks so delicious! Yum.


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 20:00:21

      It is. We always ate it plain but it is good with a light lemon frosting or lemon glaze. Date: Fri, 28 Mar 2014 22:54:18 +0000 To: thspencer51@hotmail.com


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 20:10:27

      This was made every spring in our family by my grandmother or father. They’d usually pick a gray day and when it was lunch or supper time, out would come the cake, cut in slices and arranged on a white plate with a vase of small daffodils in the center. It might be raining outside, but inside it was sunny! I realized a part of my instructions were a little unclear – lemon flavoring is put into both the white and yellow portions. It isn’t hard to make, just takes a little care and people always smile when they see the white and yellow together.


  2. SirenaTales
    Mar 29, 2014 @ 00:03:22

    LOVE THIS POST. The social history, the yummy recipe, the vinegar tip, the happy photo. You have a lot of knowledge and wisdom, and cool family tales, which makes me ask: have you considered writing cookbook with your family traditions included? I would buy it. Just a thought. Thanks for the inspiration. xoxo p.s. Would love to see the recipe for the sweet tater puddn’ and fried chicken…just sayin’


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 29, 2014 @ 00:31:19

      I actually self published a small volume for our family one year for Christmas and gave it as gifts. The actual handwriting makes me cry. I touch the writing, what is left behind, of the persons I loved and my heart breaks. While I may transcribe the words, I probably would never scan and show the handwritten notes as they are so precious to me. I’ve thought of doing a post complete with hints about the pudding and chicken though. I’m glad you enjoyed. It makes me happy and would make my loved ones happy as well.


      • SirenaTales
        Mar 29, 2014 @ 07:54:43

        Well, I thought it might feel affirming to create some sort of compilation–obviously nothing that would involve publishing moments that you wish to keep personal. And it would inspire others–facilitating honoring the memory of your beloveds. Thank you. xo


        • kanzensakura
          Mar 29, 2014 @ 09:57:40

          That truly is a great idea and a lovely way to look at it. it is certainly something to think about. I’ve been thinking and looking into self publishing on Amazon. Right now, I have so much going on and trying to keep our life together, it is hard to think outside of that right now. but in a couple of months, it is certainly something to start looking at. Thank you so very much for your thoughts, ideas,, and encouragement on this. It is something to look forward to that would be fun. And hey, in the meantime, you get these things for free on my blog! Date: Sat, 29 Mar 2014 11:54:43 +0000 To: thspencer51@hotmail.com


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 29, 2014 @ 00:34:25

      Now that I think, I did do a post on the fried chicken with some of the hints passed on: http://kanzensakura.com/2013/07/15/simple-sunday-dinner-carnal-pudding-and-fried-chicken


  3. Sarah
    Oct 16, 2014 @ 15:41:09

    I’m finally going to give this recipe a try. I’ve been waiting to get the right tin – it’s really hard to get kitchen supplies in these parts. Anyway, I’m ready to go except I don’t have any lemon flavouring. Do you know if this works with lemon juice or does that do something funny to the eggs?
    (Btw, I’ve also bought a turnip to put in my first stew of the autumn. I’ll let you know how it goes down with everyone.)


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 16, 2014 @ 16:03:20

      Lemon juice will not affect the recipe but you will want to add some lemon zest to the juice to get more lemon flavor. I hope this turns out well for you! It was definitely a family springtime favorite, but it is good anytime.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


      • Sarah
        Oct 17, 2014 @ 02:52:39

        Thanks for getting back to me so quickly and thanks for the info. That’s great news. 🙂 I’m sorry I’m not having it in the spring but I can’t wait to try it out now that I’ve found the right tin.


        • Sarah
          Oct 17, 2014 @ 09:56:32

          Well, that was fun, and three people have really enjoyed the cake so far. Can’t wait for my daughter to try it when she gets home from school. My new bundt tin turned out to be WAY too small so I had to put the excess in a loaf tin and the bundt still overflowed. By the way, the recipe doesn’t say how much flour to use in the yellow part so I went with 1 cup and it seemed to work okay.
          YUM YUM. Thanks for sharing such a scrummy recipe.


      • Sarah
        Oct 20, 2014 @ 04:03:24

        Well, that went down so well I didn’t have to worry about digging out a storage tin for it! I think I could have eaten it all in one sitting it was so tasty. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe.
        Btw the turnip was good too. Lots of clean dishes. 🙂


        • kanzensakura
          Oct 21, 2014 @ 11:51:36

          And you Sarah, get the incredible and intrepid and inspring Baker Award. I went back and re-read that post…I don’t know where my brain was! I was horrified. and you…you made it and made it well and made folks happy. I am humbled by your greatness. I am not being sarcastic. You are a wow if ever there was one. You were spot on with the flour for the yellow part and because my brain was non-existent, I should have pointed out the pan to use was one of those angel food, tube pans….and you still nailed it!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for not taking me to task and being so danged gracious about it. you are an award winner in more ways than a thousand.


          • Sarah
            Oct 21, 2014 @ 12:29:17

            Aww, gosh, you’re making me blush! My cakes looked pretty disastrous through the oven door. It was so bad it was making me laugh. I wouldn’t get any marks for presentation. Thankfully my family aren’t too fussy about that kind of thing (they’re used to my style of messy cooking) and once the cake was tidied up and sliced it looked much more appealing. We didn’t get much time to worry about what it looked like anyway, we pretty much inhaled it. It was so moreish!
            I’ll definitely be trying more of your recipes. Thanks again for sharing.


            • kanzensakura
              Oct 21, 2014 @ 15:16:22

              The fault of presentation is my fault. And I think it is a wonderful cake for fall – white fluffy I am so glad you all enjoyed this. And I can tell you, I’m glad I started paying attention to more of the recipes I’ve posted since then. Talk about responsible blogging!


              • Sarah
                Oct 21, 2014 @ 15:26:47

                Not at all. If I’d had more experience with meringues and that kind of thing I would have realised that 6 eggs were going to need a much bigger tin. I had no idea they would make that much mixture. 🙂
                Anyway, I’m just grateful that you’re sharing your precious recipes. I don’t mind a few mishaps along the way.


                • kanzensakura
                  Oct 21, 2014 @ 15:35:13

                  If you ever try the Japanese cotton cheesecake, that’s a good thing to remember about merginues…this is like a chiffon/cheesecake/merginguey thing and isn’t as sweet as standard Italian style cheesecakes, nor as heavy. it took me three times to get it right, even with the Japanese guy who made it like a dream, showing me. but when you get it right, it is truly good and wonderful.

                  Sent from Windows Mail


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