It was a very old recipe tucked into a book

That my mother had used whenever she cooked,

Not a cookbook per se, but a journal to write,

Thoughts of the day some poignant, some trite,

A newspaper clipping, quite yellowed with age,

Nestled inside and staining the page

In which it had lain for many long years,

And as I read it, my eyes filled with tears,

For here was my mother’s noted recipe for

The old fashioned sponge cake she made by the score

For all of our birthdays, this was the cake,

My mother would quickly, efficiently make –

Without a card or checking her book;

We thought that she was quite an outstanding cook.

I had watched mother make it enough times and  yet

Had never written it down–but here, heaven sent

Was that same recipe and I could have cried,

I thought it was lost when my mother had died.


The following recipe for an old fashioned sponge cake, if followed minutely, will prove infallible. Beat the yolks and whites of six fresh eggs together for two minutes.  Add three measuring cupsful of sugar and beat the and eggs for 5 minutes.  Mix two teaspoonfuls of  cream of tartar with two cupsful of flour, beat this together with the eggs and sugar for two minutes. Next, dissolve one teaspoonful of baking soda in a cup of cold water, pour it in with the other ingredients and beat them all for one minute. Add the juice and grated rind of half a lemon, a salt-spoonful* of salt and two more cups of flour and beat the whole together for another minute.  Observe the time exactly. Line two medium size cake pans with tissue paper** buttered well on both sides. Pour the mixture into the pans and bake in a quick oven  (typed as printed)

*not sure what a salt-spoonful is equal to – I’m guessing half a teaspoon.  I have never heard of using tissue paper to line pans but mu earliest memories are of wax paper being used to line cake pans. I have no idea what a “quick” oven would have been equal to–but anytime I am in doubt, I bake at 350 degrees, which is a medium heat. – sls


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