Mary Todd Lincoln’s Vanilla Almond Cake


Happy Presidents’ Day!

Because of Hurricane Sandy, my Presidents’ Week break was cut short- to only two days :(. So I plan on doing as much baking in these two days as I possibly can with all the homework I still have not done (oops).

I tried this recipe that one of my favorite bloggers, Jessie Oleson from Cakespy, featured as part of a presidents’ recipe round up.

According to my sources, Mary Todd Lincoln was an avid baker and party host, and once in 1849 she bought and used thirteen pounds of sugar in one week !!! That is what I call dedication.

Legend has it, this cake was President Lincoln’s favorite, and Mary began making it for him when they were courting. Awwww ❤

The recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, but I, being a butter-phobe, used 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup canola oil, creaming the two with sugar and vanilla extract. I also added almond extract to enhance the almondy-ness.



Sift cake flour with baking powder- I don’t know how to sift, I just stir. Also, if you do not have cake flour: for every 1 cup flour, remove two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons corn starch. Add this mixture alternately with milk to the creamy mixture (I used part almond milk and part soy milk), then mix in a cup of chopped almonds and six egg whites.


That’s me trying to separate an egg! I did not stiffly beat the egg whites, as called for in the recipe, and it turned out okay anyway.


Pour this beautiful batter into two cake pans and bake @ 375 for twenty-eight minutes.


(My oven <3)

Then for the frosting- seven minute frosting. I’ve never made this before, and I was a little scared, and after two tries it still didn’t really exactly work entirely. On the first try, it was really white and fluffy and marshmallowy, but I’m pretty sure the sugar or egg didn’t dissolve properly, so I saved it to bake into something. The second try tasted reallyyy good, but it was more syrupy than fluffy and was super sugary. I poured it onto my cake and a lot of it drizzled off the sides, but it was delicious. 

First try:


Second try:




Mary Todd Lincoln’s Vanilla Almond Cake (adapted very slightly from Cakespy)


  • 1 cup butter or 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 3/4 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups milk (I used half almond and half soy)
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 6 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees; grease two 9 inch circle cake pans.
  2. Cream butter and sugar with extracts, two to three minutes. 
  3. Mix flour and baking powder, then add to creamy mixture alternately with milk.
  4. Chop and stir in almonds.
  5. Gently fold in egg whites.
  6. Pour into cake pans and bake for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, the cake is slightly pulling away from the sides of the pan, and puffs back up when touched. Let cool.
  7. Make Seven Minute Frosting and frost or drizzle over cake.

Seven Minute Frosting


  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, then stir until the sugar dissolves. 
  2. Place two egg whites in a mixing bowl and slowly pour the hot syrup over them, beating constantly for about seven minutes until stiff peaks form.
  3. Beat in vanilla extract.

Conclusion: The cake is incredible. Amazing taste, amazing texture. The frosting did not turn out the way I wanted, but maybe you’ll have better luck. Plus, it turned out to work fantastically with the cake anyway. Imperfection creates beauty.


Link Parties:

Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms’ Melt in Your Mouth Monday

Flour Me with Love’s Mix it Up Monday

Sweet 2 Eat Baking’s Sugar and Slice Sunday

Angel’s Homestead Saturday Spotlight

Jam Hands’ Recipe Sharing Monday

Pint Sized Baker’s Two Cup Tuesdays

Nap Time Creations’ Tasteful Tuesdays

Inside BruCrew Life’s Trick or Treat Tuesday

The Best Blog Recipes’ Weekend Retreat

Buns in My Oven What’s Cookin Wednesday

Mom On Timeout’s Creative Timeout Party

Glued to My Crafts’ Crafty Thursday Obsessions

The Crafty Stalker’s Blog Stalking Thursday

Six Sisters’ Stuff Strut Your Stuff Saturday

SITS Girls’ Sharefest

Homemaker on a Dime Creative Bloggers’ Party and Hop

Mrs. Happy Homemaker’s Bulletin Board

Sweet 2 Eat Baking’s Sugar and Slice Sunday Link Party

Riverton Housewives’ Roundup

Ginger Snap Crafts’ Wow Me Wednesday

10 thoughts on “Mary Todd Lincoln’s Vanilla Almond Cake

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