Did you know that the library digitized a cookbook from 1895? You can find it on the Illinois Digital Archive as part of the Naperville Heritage
Collection. You can view the cookbook here.
The Naperville Cook Book was compiled by the Ladies' Social Circle of the First Congregational Church here in Naperville. I decided to try making one of the
recipes. This recipe was submitted by Mrs. S.A. Ballou. Fun fact: The Naper Boulevard Library sits on the Ballous' old farm.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup jam (strawberry preferred)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspooon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Bake in layers, put together with icing. (Recipe can be seen on page 45, at the bottom of the page.)
I used raspberry jam, and because I'm not a huge fan of cloves, I used about 1/4 teaspoon of cloves. While the cookbook also contains several icing
recipes,they all use egg whites, and I didn't want to give my co-workers food poisoning. I made a buttercream icing. (Note: I did not use any shortening, just butter.)
The result? It was a pretty good cake. My coworkers all seemed to like it. My only complaint is that I really couldn't taste the jam; the cake just seemed like a typical spice cake. Mrs. Ballou probably used homemade jam, which may have had a stronger taste.
If you give this cake or one of the other recipes in the cookbook a try, let us know how it turned out!