Kate Manship’s recipe for a good ginger cake. Accession number: M1984.3.7 (MDAH Museum Division collection)

This handwritten recipe was found in Kate Manship’s cookbook, Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery, published in 1872:

A Good Ginger Cake

without butter, sugar, or eggs – Two coffee cups of syrup.  Put in your mixing bowl.  Stir in sifted flour until you can stir in no more (it should be stiff enough to crumble)  Add two large kitchen spoonfuls of lard melted.  Add ginger and spice to taste.  Last stir in gradually 1 1/2 cups of Boiling Water in which is dissolved four teaspoonfuls of cooking soda.  Bake slowly for about until quite done but not dry  About one pound of raisins in above quantity makes a very nice cake –