Period Miss Caskies Cake At General Lee's Headquarters

NH Civil War Gal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Feb 5, 2017

“You must thank Miss Norvell for her nice cake. I . . . assembled all the young gentlemen around it & though I told them it was a present from a beautiful young lady, they did not leave a crumb.”

And in Mrs. Robert E. Lee’s family cookbook is a recipe titled “Spice Cake Norvell.” Was this the recipe for the cake she sent to General Lee’s headquarters at Petersburg, Virginia?

Martha Norvell Caskie (Find A Grave)

Miss Norvell Caskie, a fashionable young lady living in Richmond during the war, befriended the Lee girls or at least influenced their fashion choices. Multiple letters reference Mildred and Agnes Lee comparing their evening gowns to Miss Caskie’s attire and having great satisfaction when they were a step ahead of her in style.

If I could pick anything to bake on a rainy day, it would probably be bread or cake. I really enjoy making cakes, and it’s been weird to not bake many this year since there haven’t really been parties, church picnics, or other large gatherings. It didn’t take much mental persuasion to add this cake to the list of historical cooking experiments.

I’ve baked historical cakes before and had only found one recipe worth keeping up to that point. Usually I find historical cakes very dense. I like a cake with substance, but not feeling like I ate a rock after enjoying a piece.