First Lady Dolley Madison’s Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.com

Celebrating President’s Day today, I’m reaching back to a historic recipe served by Dolley Madison at her renowned White House tea parties. These Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes are sweet and cinnamony and perfect for a day like today. I love to sip tea in my favorite teacup while honoring this courageous and gracious First Lady.

Dolley Madison

Dolley Madison, wife of the fourth U.S. President James Madison, was the first First Lady to reside in the White House for a full term.

Know for her political and social prowess, the Associated Press argues, “Dolley Madison’s prodigious domestic, social and political talents helped define and unite a fledgling nation.”

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.comShe is best known as the First Lady who decorated three of the White House’s  “rooms, and boldly invited the public to dinner not once, but every Wednesday.”

Dolley Madison on Entertaining

Valerie Paley, who curated “Saving Washington,” on view at the New-York Historical Society says Dolley Madison entertaining during a time when, “A lot of Americans at that point did not even know how to use a fork, and some coachmen who entered the White House had never before sipped from porcelain cups.”

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.com
This 2017 photo provided by The New York Historical Society shows an installation view of the exhibit “Saving Washington,” at the New York Historical Society in New York.

She also says Dolley Madison “understood the power of symbols, and showed what American refinement could look like. Through decoration and tableware, the First Lady showed that Americans could perform socially as well as politically on the national and international stage.”

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.com
Painting is courtesy of The White House. Painting of Dolley Madison Entertaining Guests by Peter Waddell: “The Splendid Mrs. Madison. In the ‘Elliptical Saloon,’ 1810–1814.” Dolley Madison was the first wife of a president to fully embrace her role as First Lady. Her weekly levees at the President’s House were a politically neutral space. One visitor wrote of entering the “blazing splendor of Mrs. Madison’s drawing room,” designed by Benjamin H. Latrobe, and filled with political, military, and social figures of the day.

Dolley Madison and Afternoon Tea

Also known for her many afternoon teas, Mrs. Madison is known to often to serve her Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes.

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.com

Preserved in early White House records is the recipe for her popular teacakes. As recorded in “The Presidents’ Cookbook: Practical Recipes from George Washington to the Present,” here are the ingredient notes for Dolley Madison’s Woodbury cake.

Cinnamon (Woodbury Cake)
Butter
Sugar
Flour
Baking powder
Cinnamon
Milk

Cream 2 tablespoons butter with 1 cup sugar. Add 2 cups sifted flour mixed with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 2 tablespoons cinnamon. Add milk and beat together thoroughly. Bake in a large pan at 350 degrees F. 20 to 30 minutes, or until done.
Presidents’ Cookbook (p. 91)

We have added tweaked Mrs. Madison’s Woodbury cakes slightly with the following recipe we are in love with. The essence remains the same but the texture, we think, is slightly improved. I love to make them in mini Bundt pans, but they work perfectly well in any ringed pan. Serve most definitely with tea!

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.com

Print

First Lady Dolley Madison’s Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.com

Celebrating President’s Day today, I’m reaching back to a historic recipe served by Dolley Madison at her renowned White House tea parties. These Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes are sweet and cinnamony and perfect for a day like today. I love to sip tea in my favorite teacup while honoring this courageous and gracious First Lady.

  • Author: Stephanie Wilson
Scale

Ingredients

1 large egg, separated
pinch of salt

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease either a bundt pan or a mini bundt pan. Alternatively, you can also use a square baking pan. When using a bundt pan, be sure to butter and then flour the pan so the cake will easily come out of the forms after baking.

Beat the egg white with a pinch of salt until still soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg yolk, and vanilla; slowly fold it into the egg whites.

Fold in the flour, melted butter, baking powder, and cinnamon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan or mini pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Invert the cake onto a metal rack for cooling. Immediately, while the cake is still warm from the oven, brush on the additional 2 tablespoons melted butter. Then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the cake.

Recipe Card powered by

How to Whip Eggs into Stiff Peaks

Perfectly whipped egg white are the secret to great baking. Here’s an easy refresher!

First Lady Dolley Madison's Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes | 31Daily.com
Favorite

2 thoughts on “First Lady Dolley Madison’s Woodbury Cinnamon Teacakes

  1. Ann Baun

    should the egg yoke be switched to egg white? I have never heard of beating an egg yoke?
    Thanks,

    1. Hi Ann — Thank you! You’re absolutely right. Obviously my fingers and my brain were not connecting. I have updated the text. It is now correct. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.