More coming soon — but I just wanted to post that I have finally found a Golden Rod Cake pan (as seen here)! When it gets here I will post some photos. And soon, I’ll actually try baking some Golden Rod Cake or Waldorf Triangles.
The Northwest is beginning to stir, however. The Crescent Manufacturing Company changed the needle on the victrola when it demonstrated that Mapleine was desired by national retailers as soon as they learned of it through the national advertising campaigns started twelve years ago. In 1910 Mapleine advertisements appeared in Good Housekeeping, The Designer, Women’s Home Companion, Ladies’ Home Journal, and Ladies World. Carnation Milk used a loud toned needle, and became a national product about the same time.
— “Advertising Matters,” The Washington Newspaper, May 1923.
In Part 1 of our series about Mapleine, I gave you some of the background of the product and the Crescent Manufacturing Company’s battle with the US government over labeling. After they made a deal with the Feds that allowed them to keep using the name Mapleine, there was no holding them back. As the above quote indicates, they started advertising nationally, and Mapleine took off.
The first part of the 20th century saw two World Wars and a Great Depression. A product that allowed homemakers, campers, and all other maple fans to make syrup that tasted good but was much cheaper than true maple was perfect for the times, and Crescent made darned sure everyone knew it.
In the early 1910s Mapleine was promoted as “The Flavor De Luxe.” Ads, then and later, often featured recipes. Here’s a 1912 ad from Literary Digest with a simple recipe for cake filling.
Mapleine Cake Filling
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- walnut-sized piece butter
- 1 teaspoon Mapleine
Mix sugar, milk and butter together
Boil for five minutes
Take from fire and stir until thick.
Then add the Mapleine, stirring it slowly.
Browsing through Google Books (something I spend far too much time doing), I stumbled on an interesting article from a 1914 issue of American Cookery. At the time, World War I had newly broken out in Europe, but the United States remained officially neutral.
In this article, an American family declares war on expensive imported foods and converts the previous year’s Christmas menu to an American-grown feast for 1914. Consistent with the nation’s stand of neutrality, all traces of foreign content are removed, even the English plum pudding and the French word “menu.” But even in 1914, Americans couldn’t do without their coffee.
Censoring the Christmas Dinner
By Stella Burke May, American Cookery, December 1914
A state of war existed in the hitherto peaceful household of the American John Smith, for Mrs. John Smith, generalissimo of the kitchen, had declared war on foreign food products.
Among the causes which led to this declaration were, first; that the Smith household was being constantly menaced by the air fleet of Imported Products, which had dropped a High-Cost-Of-Living bomb on its commissary department, and second; that foreign invasion, during the past twelve months, had well-nigh wrecked the John Smith treasury.
In proof of this latter accusation, Mrs. Smith produced her Christmas menu from the previous year, which showed the foreign element in strong supremacy.
Feeling the need of support from a strong ally, she called her husband from his evening newspaper, and showed him the line-up of his last year’s Yuletide dinner.
“Shades of the Father of His Country,” exclaimed John as he glanced over the card. “No wonder they had war in Europe!”
This is what he read:Christmas Dinner, 1913
Salted Wafers Celery Spanish Olives
Broiled Smelts Maitre d’hôtel butter
Roast Turkey Plain Dressing Duchesse Potatoes
Buttered Brussels Sprouts
French Peas Creamed Onions Cranberry Frappé
Chinese Celery Prune, Apple-and-Nut Salad
English Plum Pudding Hard Sauce
Mandarin Oranges English Walnuts Malaga Grapes
So, even as the European press censor, pencil in hand, goes over his war dispatches, deleting a word here, a phrase there, lest his own particular country appear at a disadvantage or the enemy profit by the context, did Mrs. John Smith go over her Christmas bill of fare, eliding every foreign combination and condiment, and steering clear of the high C’s of yester-year such as “canapés, consommés and cafés,” this American censor effaced all evidence of foreign domination, and launched her transport upon neutral waters from cocktail to coffee.
With patriotism coupled with ingenuity, she set herself to the task of preparing a dinner that might stand uncovered as the flag goes by.
“I will avoid even the appearance of partizanship (sic),” she told herself, “and not even call this a menu. It shall be a bill-of-fare this year.”
“And there must be no foreign flavor, no paprika, no French or Italian olive oil in the salad, no imported wines or brandies.”
They both agreed that a canapé was decidedly contraband, and while it might serve if disguised under the title of “appetizer,” felt that Baltimore oysters served on their native shell, with Iowa horseradish, Oklahoma catsup, and thin slices of California lemon would be in strict neutrality.
The consommé must become a soup; not even a bouillon, but a plain vegetable soup, and asparagus seemed to meet all the maritime laws.
If the market afforded fresh radishes, they would be added to the soup course, but in no event would Spanish olives pass muster. In fact all “hors d’oeuvres” were now “hors de combat.”
The fish course was abandoned as an extravagance, since oysters were to open the meal, so the maitre d’hôtel butter was thus disposed of.
“How would it be to buy the turkey on the ‘hoof’ this year?” queried her husband. “I will kill and dry-pick it and you can hang it in the refrigerator for a couple of days before Christmas.”
“Turkey! Turkey!” exclaimed his wife in supreme astonishment. “Why, John Smith, we’re not going to have a fowl with a foreign name like that. We’re to have roast goose, with chestnut stuffing.”
For the main course, then, it would be roast goose, with chestnut stuffing and potatoes.
“Remember,” cautioned John, “there will be no vegetable with a foreign name like Irish potatoes.” So avoiding the belligerent waters in which sailed “‘potatoes a la Hollandaise,’ French fried, German fried, au gratin, O’Brien, Hongroise” she landed at sweet potatoes, Southern style, and added this to her card.
Brussels sprouts came under the same indictment. “I always have thought Brussels sprouts are just sort of ‘babes-in-the-wood’ cabbages that lost their way, so I think we will just have creamed cabbage and be done with it.”
“Onions ought to pass without an investigation,” John said, as he watched her writing “baked onions,” “but be sure they’re not Bermudas and have no foreign flavor.”
Next, cranberry frappé was shorn of its alien looks and appeared in homespun as “cranberry jelly moulded,” and the understanding was that they were to be Wisconsin grown.
Small light rolls made with Minneapolis flour would be served with the meat course.
The salad course was quickly disposed of. Following the dinner of the previous year, she chose a salad of apples, celery-and-walnuts in heart lettuce cups. She would insist on New York Jonathan apples, Michigan celery, Illinois walnuts and Florida lettuce, served with a cream dressing. In place of the Neufchatel cheese, she would serve cottage cheese spread between thin slices of brown bread, along with the salad. The “yellow peril” celery was, of course, taboo.
“I don’t see why they always have English plum pudding, when New England minced pie contains all the ‘stuff that dreams are made of,'” said John, and, his Commissary General agreeing with him, resolved to have New England minced pie with frozen pudding.
For nuts she selected Georgia paper-shell pecans. These, with Florida tangerine oranges and California raisins would seem sufficiently “censored.”
And, lastly, of course, coffee in half cups, with Louisiana cut-loaf sugar and home-grown cream. She realized she must call upon her neighbors in South America for the coffee, but they both agreed that Brazil coffee in a Connecticut percolator should pass the most captious critic.
Assembling her national dinner, this was what she produced:Christmas Dinner, 1914.
Baltimore Oysters on Half Shell
Served with horseradish, catsup and thin sliced lemon
Salted Wafers Fresh Radishes
Alabama Sweet Potatoes, Southern Style
Baked Onions Creamed Cabbage
Cranberry Jelly in Moulds
Small Light Rolls
Apple-Celery-Walnut Salad in Heart Lettuce Cups
Brown Bread-and-Cottage Cheese Sandwiches
New England Minced Pie
Florida Tangerines Georgia Paper Shelled Pecans California Raisins
Half Cups of Coffee
Louisiana Sugar Cream
So, stripped of her foreign garments, and clothed in a brand new gown with a fine domestic finish, we behold the American Christmas dinner for the Americans at home, and while we greet our guests, the American John Smith will insert a new needle and start “The Star Spangled Banner.”
American Cookery may not have taken this very seriously. The recipes they provide later in the issue contain many of the verboten foreign flavors.
(Want to see a few more Christmas menus? Stay tuned. I’ll post some more later today.)
Back in January I discussed the Golden Rod Cake and the pan used to bake it. We did find several recipes, but were left wondering about what the cake was supposed to look like, and about the origin of the name. I have since found a tiny bit more information about this elusive cake.
This photo of Waldorf Triangles and their triangular pan is from American Cookery, April, 1921, p. 680. It accompanies this recipe:
Beat the yolks of six eggs very light; gradually beat into these half a cup of granulated sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of orange juice. Lastly, add half a cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and a few grains of salt. Put the mixture into Waldorf Triangle pans and bake in a moderate oven. As soon as the cakes are turned from the pan cover the sides with boiled frosting and sprinkle with fine-chopped pistachio nuts.
This should sound familiar, because it is nearly word-for-word the same as the recipe “Goldenrod Cake for Charlotte Russe Moulds and Waldorf Triangles” that the Boston Cooking School published in an earlier version of their magazine in 1904 and 1905, and that I included in my earlier post. One of the 1904-1905 recipes includes the boiled frosting and pistachio nuts, but the other does not. The older recipes also do not refer to the pans by name as “Waldorf Triangle pans.”
The title of the early Boston Cooking School recipes seems to be pretty clear that this is a recipe for Goldenrod Cake that can be used to make Waldorf Triangles. Other early recipes, however, do not mention the pistachios, and frequently mention orange icing.
The Rocky Mountain Cook Book: for High Altitude Cooking (1918 edition of a 1903 cookbook) includes a nearly identical one to the BCS recipe:
Beat the yolks of six eggs till light; gradually beat into these one-half cup of sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of orange juice and one-half cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and one-fourth teaspoonful of salt; bake in small cakes and cover with orange icing.
This is the same as the BCS “Goldenrod Cake for Charlotte Russe Moulds and Waldorf Triangles” and the later American Cookery “Waldorf Triangles” recipe, with one exception — the end. No mention of boiled icing sprinkled with pistachios, just orange icing. Could the pistachios be the defining characteristic of Waldorf Triangles? One of the BCS recipes doesn’t mention them either. Perhaps the cakes are Golden Rod Cakes if they have orange icing (or none?) and Waldorf Triangles if they have pistachios.
(Incidentally, the author of The Rocky Mountain Cook Book, Caroline Trask Norton, was a graduate of the Boston School of Domestic Science, so perhaps it should not be surprising that the recipe is similar to the BCS version.)
The recipe in 365 Orange Recipes: An Orange Recipe for Every Day in the Year is called “Goldenrod Cake” and says “Bake in goldenrod pans and when cold ice with the following Icing,” going on to describe an icing made from orange rind, egg, sugar, water, orange and lemon juice, and “sugar to make as thick as fondant.” The icing is then colored orange.
There are a couple more references to these recipes that could add clarity to the situation, or perhaps just muddy it further.
The Boston Cooking-School Magazine October 1905, p.174, has this recipe:
Prepare the goldenrod cake mixture given on page 91 of August-September, 1904, issue of the magazine. Bake this in goldenrod pans (it will take two pans, each holding six triangles). When the cakes are baked, cover the sides with confectioner’s frosting or with fondant, then sprinkle with blanched pistachio nuts, chopped fine.
The implication here is that Golden Rod cakes become Waldorf Triangles by the addition of frosting and chopped pistachios.
Then there is What To Cook and How To Cook It 1899, by Mrs. W. A. Johnson of Paris, Kentucky. In the appendix, on page 282-283, we find:
Waldorf Triangles or Golden Rod Cake.
One-fourth cup of butter, one cup of confectioner’s sugar, one-half cup of milk, two cups of flour, one level teaspoon of baking powder, two eggs, the grated rind and juice of one orange. Bake in orange quarter baking pans. Put a small quantity in each section and spread evenly. Spread orange icing over each triangle, made by mixing confectioner’s sugar with enough orange
juice to spread evenly.
Well, there’s the orange icing. No pistachios this time. And the title calls these either Waldorf Triangles or Golden Rod Cake, implying that they are alternate names for the same thing.
And then I found this photograph in the 1906 Table Talk Illustrated Cook Book:
The text reads: “Two new cake forms are on the market. Orange slices and Golden Rod pans. The former cakes are covered after baking with orange flavored icing. The Golden Rod cakes are iced in white and decorated with fancy candies and citron.” Here the Golden Rod cakes aren’t the orange ones, but they don’t have pistachios, either. No reference is made to Waldorf Triangles.
(I could go on. There are the German-American versions from Praktischer Ratgeber für Conditoren, Cakebäcker und Brotbäcker und Candy-Macher/Practical Manual for Confectioners, Pastrycooks and Bakers and Candy Makers, 1912, that parallel the 1890s versions I found in my previous post, and one of which specifically calls for “three-cornered, long pans” [“long” is left out of the English translation on that page, but it’s there in the German].)
My thought, after all of this, is that Golden Rod/Goldenrod Cakes are probably the basic triangular cakes, usually iced with orange icing (and perhaps frequently conflated with the Orange Slice cakes which had a slightly different pan, but could also be made in the Golden Rod pan), and that Waldorf Triangles were a variation (presumably originating at the Waldorf Hotel?) that had pistachios and were not orange. This is really only speculation, subject to change as I find more information. I look forward to finding more versions of these recipes and researching this further, and to possibly trying the recipe one of these days.
I’m also looking forward to finding one of the darn pans! No luck so far.
I was looking through a 1914 issue of The Boston Cooking School Magazine when this ad caught my eye:
A couple of interesting gadgets, there. That Roberts Lightning Mixer looks useful, and the mayonnaise mixer… well, you’d have to make a lot of mayonnaise to make that one worth taking up space in the kitchen, but if you do make a lot of mayo, I can see that it could be helpful.
But the one that mainly caught my attention is the one at the bottom of the page: “Golden Rod Cake Pan,” an oddly-shaped pan that appears to make triangular cakes. Since the inspiration for this blog, a year ago, was the similarly-named “Gold-n-Sno Cake,” I was particularly curious. What was the Golden Rod Cake?
A quick Google search turned up this post by the Old Foodie, who looked into the topic last year, complete with three interesting recipes.
Here are a couple more recipes for the Golden Rod Cake.
First, a very sparse recipe from A Collection of Delectable Recipes: Tried and True, 1898:
GOLDEN ROD CAKE.
Eighteen ounces powdered sugar, nine ounces butter, sixteen ounces eggs, one tablespoonful vanilla, one pennyweight soda, two pennyweights cream tartar, eighteen ounces pastry flour.
MRS F.C. CHANDLER.
No instructions whatsoever. No reference to the icing that many of the other recipes have. And no orange. Is this a related cake or something different?
Here’s a pair of recipes from Perfection in Baking, 1899. The first recipe is very close to Mrs. Chandler’s recipe, above. Perhaps we can assume that Mrs. Chandler just didn’t mention the orange icing because it was assumed that any reader would know that Golden Rod cakes would have orange icing.
Golden Rod Cake.
TO SELL AT 15 CENTS EACH.
Cream together one pound of fine sugar with ten ounces of butter and one and a half pints eggs, one pennyweight of soda, one teaspoonful of vanilla, twenty ounces of cake flour, two pennyweights of cream of tartar. When baked, ice the sides with orange water icing.
Golden Rod Cake.
TO SELL AT TEN CENTS A PIECE.
With one pound of butter and lard cream one and one half pounds of sugar, ten eggs, two thirds of a pint of milk, juice and grating of two oranges, two pounds of cake flour, one ounce of baking powder. Mix and bake like above. Ice some with orange, some strawberry, some chocolate. On one side ornament the name “Golden Rod” in different colors; that is, if cakes are frosted chocolate, ornament in yellow; if iced yellow, ornament in pink or white, etc.
(Further down on the same page, there is a recipe for Orange Slices cakes baked in a particular mold, and Orange Slice Cake is mentioned in the ad for the Golden Rod Cake Pan. Is this Orange Slices recipe what was meant?)
The Boston Cooking School offered the Golden Rod Cake Pan in the pages of their magazine, so it is no surprise that they had a recipe or two for it themselves. In 1904-1905, they gave us these two slightly different variations:
Beat the yolks of six eggs very light. Gradually beat into these half a cup of sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of milk or orange juice, and, lastly, half a cup of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and a few grains of salt. Fill the moulds or pans with a teaspoon, tapping the moulds on the table, to cause the mixture to settle to the bottom of the moulds. Bake in an oven a little hotter than for ordinary sponge cake, and turn the cake from the tins as soon as it is removed from the oven. Flavor with a grating of orange rind, or half a teaspoonful of vanilla extract. The recipe will make twelve triangles or charlotte russe cases. The mixture is finer-grained and more tender than the usual sponge cake. Cover the triangles with boiled frosting, and sprinkle with chopped pistachio nuts.
Beat the yolks of six eggs very light. Gradually beat in half a cup of fine granulated sugar, then two tablespoonfuls of milk or orange juice (lemon juice will not do) and, lastly, half a cup and one tablespoonful (for difference in flour) of sifted flour, sifted again with a level teaspoonful of baking powder and a few grains of salt. Bake in an oven a little hotter than for ordinary sponge cake. Flavor with half a teaspoonful of vanilla extract or a grating of yellow orange rind.
Putting all this together, what we have is a fairly fine sponge cake, frequently with orange flavoring, shaped something like triangular ladyfingers, and sometimes used the same way (which might explain the lack of icing in Mrs. Chandler’s recipe—if you were making these for a Charlotte Russe, you wouldn’t need the icing).
I still don’t know the origin of the name, and I would really like to see how the Golden Rod cake was supposed to look. It would be fun to try to make them in the proper shape — does anyone know if pans like that still exist? I haven’t been able to find one.
- Wendi is a history geek and loves to bake, particularly recipes from her grandmother's collection. Kristen has been cooking her whole life. She has a BS in Family & Consumer Science and enjoys comfort foods and creating new recipes.