10 c. flour
6 c. sugar
3 c. butter
3 c. buttermilk or sour cream thinned with milk
1 c. wine
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1 lb. currants
1 lb. raisins
To ten cups of flour, put six of sugar, three of butter, three of sour milk (a little warm), eight eggs, a glass of wine, a large teaspoonful of saleratus, a nutmeg, a pound of currants, a pound of raisins.
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, 1865.
Comment: We know this is intended to be a “cup cake” because it is in a section of Mrs. Cornelius’ book with that overall label. As the little paper cupcake holders with which we are familiar today had not yet been invented, these were normally baked in, well, cups. Regular cups normally used for coffee, tea or the like. One would probably not use the finest family china for this task, but any sturdy porcelain or other smooth drinking vessel would be appropriate.
“Saleratus” was a precursor of baking powder used to produce rising in baked goods for which yeast was not appropriate. Use regular baking powder in similar proportions. Using the quantity of ingredients listed here will produce a great whacking lot of cupcakes, so for family use one might want to consider cutting the amounts called for in half.