Local Fruits Yield A Tasty Cake

Cocoa Apple-Sauce Cake

We found another tasty recipe in the Rochester Catholic Journal (Rochester NY) this one from December 7, 1917. By 1917, the Rochester Catholic Journal had become a women’s newspaper with articles on women’s sleeve styles in women’s clothing (all of page 2), an article about two women who were chased by a bear in Maine, and a delightful story of a Civil War romance. It was interesting to note that articles about the Great War, which the US had entered earlier that year, were scattered on pages three, six, and seven.

The recipe we chose was the Cocoa Apple-Sauce Cake. We chose this cake because we have homemade applesauce in our lard that was made from a variety of early Macintosh apples from our backyard. The tree that produced the apples is at least 80 years old.


The recipe called for sour cream. On a whim we decided to make our own sour cream with heavy cream and buttermilk. It came out well.

The cake was very easy to make; the frosting was a bit of a challenge, heating the sour cream and sugar to the soft ball stage- we might have heated it a bit over the 240oF. The frosting did not spread like normal frosting, it had to be placed by hand and gently manipulated into place. It was a messy endeavor that lead to sticky fingers.  The cake was very tasty; the orange frosting (which was a little gritty) was a nice compliment to the chocolate spice cake.

Time: about 27 hours (including making the sour cream)

Cost: about $8

Successful: Yes, very tasty despite the grittiness of the sugar in the frosting.

Accurate: Almost, used raw sugar instead of granulated sugar.

Sources:          New York Newspaper Project

Mother Earth News – Make Your Own Cream Cheese and Sour Cream


A Summer Roast

On July 19, 1917 The Honeoye Falls Times reported that the US was readying for the draft of soldiers to enter the Great War but the details of which were still being finalized. Front page news also reported on the locations of hydrants for area firefighters, regional New York news, and the program for the band concert on July 21, 1917. Honeoye Falls is a small town in western New York, about 33 miles (53 kilometers) south of Rochester.

On page 4, flank steak roast, rhubarb tapioca, and bean croquettes were the recipes featured for the summer recipe.

We tried the flank steak roast. When we started, we didn’t realize the steak was stuffed with bread crumbs, so, for the first time in many years, we purchased a loaf of white bread which we dried in the oven to make the bread crumbs. Because the steak came from grass-fed beef, we tenderized the meat before pounding it with our improvised meat mallet – a wooden mallet that was in the tool drawer.

The stuffing proved easy to make once we realized we needed bread crumbs for the base. Roasted the meat for a hour at 350oF which seemed like just the right length of time.


While it looked neat when it was cut, the roast did not have a lot of flavor for the 21st century palate. Half of us enjoyed it; the other did not and had wished he remembered the bottle of Worcestershire sauce that was sitting in the cupboard.

Time: about 4 hours (due to drying the bread in the oven)

Cost: about $18 (used local grass-fed beef)

Successful: 50/50

Accurate: Yes