Mary Todd Lincoln’s Almond-Vanilla Cake
Makes 12 servings. Adapted by Cynthia Nobles from “Lincoln’s Table: A President’s Culinary Journey from Cabin to Cosmopolitan” by Donna D. McCreary (2008). While they were courting, Mary Todd baked this cake for her suitor Abe Lincoln, who promptly declared it “the best cake I ever ate.” The recipe followed her to the White House, where Mary often served her husband’s favorite cake to guests.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsps. baking powder
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup milk
6 egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour a bundt cake pan.
2. Combine flour and baking powder and sift 3 times. Set aside. Using a food processor or spice grinder, pulverize almonds until they resemble coarse flour. Set aside.
3. At medium-high speed with an electric beater or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light yellow, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat an additional minute.
4. Fold flour into butter, alternating with milk, until well blended. Stir in almonds and beat well.
5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into batter. Stir in vanilla.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
7. Cool 20 minutes in pan. Remove from pan onto a wire rack and cool completely. Sift confectioners’ sugar on top.