Cinnamon Loaf – Recipe from 1856

Autumn is finally here and this also marks the beginning of my favourite months of the year! I love when it’s as cold, dark and rainy as it currrently is in Vienna. The city feels so mystical and when you wander around the first district in the rain you start to feel the spirits of the 19th century.

Autumn also is the beginning of my favourite season when it comes to baking because it is socially accepted to put tons of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in baked goods. 😀

And this is what today’s post is about!
I was looking for antique cookbooks online and found What I know; or, Hints on the daily duties of a housekeeper from 1856. (I shortened the title because it is VERY long).
Actually I wanted to bake something with apples but on page 50 I found a recipe for a ‘cinnamon loaf’ which called my name very, very loudly:

Cinnamon Loaf. – Sift into a pan 1 lb. flour, put into 1/2 pint warm milk 1/2 lb. butter; stir the milk and butter into the flour, a wine-glass of good yeast, and a little salt. Mix these well and set in a warm place to rise for an hour. Then add 1/2 lb. fine sugar, 1/2 a nutmeg, 1 large spoonful ground cinnamon, and one wine-glass rose water. Mix these well into the sponge, pour into baking pans, and let it rise again 1/2 hour.

I converted the recipe to gr/ml and also added information so you can bake with a modern oven and modern yeast. If you can get your hands on liquid yeast use it and use a little bit less milk than I did.

Cinnamon Loaf – The modern way

  1. Warm 240 ml milk in the microwave and add a pack of dry yeast (7g). Mix it and let it stand while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Mix in a seperate bowl 230g of fine sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and add 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.*
  3. Sift 450g flour into a pan, add a pinch of salt and finally 230g of soft butter and the milk with the yeast. Mix this with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Now you put it aside for an hour to let it rise!

4. Now you add the sugar with the spices, and 2 shot glasses full of rose water. After mixing that (I did it by hand because it was way easier than with the spoon) you put the batter into a pan and let it rise again for 30 minutes.

5. Now you bake it at 170°C for about 45 minutes. After removing it from the oven you need to wait for the cinnamon loaf to cool. Be patient! (I wasn’t and burned my tongue..)

*Concearning spices in the 18th&19th century: I don’t think that we should use the same amout of exotic spices when we bake old recipes now.
I personally think, that spices lost a lot of flavour during the long shipping times. Some spices took months to arrive in europe and I don’t think that they were as airsealed as our spices are today. We also nowadays have plants that are cultivated to produce a lot of spices with a strong flavour.
(In this recipe I used the original cinnamon measurement, because I’m obsessed with cinnamon :D)

The cake was pretty easy to make, and smelled SO good!
And the taste? Well. Amazing.
I could eat the whole cake even dough (…haha…I know…bad pun…) the cake is very filling. It is soft and light and neighter the cinnamon nor the nutmeg is overwhelming which was my biggest fear. This cake tastes a little christmas-y and I think a small cut apple would improve this cake even more!

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