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Thursday, March 1, 2007

What are Pantry Cakes????

Okay, so I am addicted to making pantry cakes now. Many of you may be wondering what the heck a pantry cake is, and I didn't know either until a short time ago.

Pantry cakes are made of a salt dough mixture, sort of, with tons of other ingredients included such as coffee grinds, vanilla, spices, etc. This dough is made and then placed into molds or shaped such as cutting with a cookie cutter, to create a primitive looking cake that is all natural, but not edible. Yes, these yummy looking (and smelling) cakes are for decoration only. Once in the molds, they are baked in a low temp oven, sometimes all day, until hard and dark. There are no sugars used in making these, so these should last quite awhile without rotting or decay. There have been stories of dogs getting to them and happily eating them while their masters were away, but shouldn't be harmful, so I hear!

A similar type of pantry cake was made in Colonial times and when the West was being settled. Women chose ingredients carefully knowing that, in certain conditions, pests and climate conditions would quickly rot or spoil food. They were careful not to use sugars in order to preserve the food.

These days the pantry cakes are just a nice little prim touch to our kitchens. I love displaying the small bundt style ones on my treen breadboard with a strip of grungy homespun tied around it. I also have the larger one offered in my Grandma Rosie's old pie tin nestled in some rosehips.

These make great conversation pieces and bring back wonderful memories of days gone by!

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