Some Background (Project VICTORIAN CAKES)
Victorian Cakes was published by Caxton Printers in 1941 in a single printing of 1, 530 copies.
After the Great Fire of 1871, the family moved to 1534 Diversey Avenue in the Lake View area of Chicago. The stories in Victorian Cakes take place in primarily in the 1880's in their "casual old kitchen" where Caroline recalls "beating eggs in a huge cracked turkey platter, or measuring sugar or flour in a gigantic coffee cup which, having lost its handle, is no longer fit to appear in the polite society of the breakfast table."
Robert Campion, and Irish immigrant, Lawyer, and businessman
Mother, Canadian ex-pat referred to throughout as "Mother"
Caroline, "about 12"
Molly, almost 17
Emily, "about 20"
The elderly family members living with the Campions:
Mother's Aunt Sophie was "gentle, fat, and rather deaf" and Uncle George, a poet who wrote one poem a day and whose portrait once hung in the 1893 World's Fair.
And "The hired help":
Anna, a "perennially young and blossomy" German woman who helped out in the kitchen and with the housework.
Emil, also German, "milked the cow, tended the garden and the chickens, drove Father into the city, kept the horses," of which they had several, and "made himself obligingly useful about the house."
There are a few dozen in the book, some with standard-ish recipes (ingredients and very general directions), and some just given as anecdotes. Sprinkled throughout twelve chapters, each focusing on a particular family member, holiday, or, amusingly, "Father's Lady Friends," are recognizable cakes such as Devil's Food, White Mountain, and Apple Cake and unrecognizable ones like Dream Gingerbread, The King's Shoelaces, and the Vanity Cake I just baked.