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Suffragette Sponge Cake & 2020 Election

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

For the weekend of October 10 and 11, we will be making an extra special Suffragette and Union County Bicentennial crossover recipe: Suffragette Sponge Layer Cakes with Mrs. Orr's Butter Cookies. This will be our final Suffragette recipe before the November 3 presidential election as we will be taking a brief vacation starting October 12. In honor of this, we would like to share some more general information regarding the importance of voting from the Suffragette era and encourage you all to VOTE!

It is important to remember that the women's suffrage movement began as early as the 1840's and women did not officially win the right to vote until the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920. The 19th Amendment did not magically flip a switch and make women equal. Voting was still difficult for some women and equality was by no means the norm. The Equal Rights Amendment, something we generally associate with the 1970's and the feminist movement, was proposed as far back as the 1920's, shortly after the passing of the 19th Amendment. The goal was to end other discrimination based on sex, but, until this year, it was stalled awaiting state ratification, having been subjected to seemingly arbitrary deadlines and other limitations. The ratification of the ERA by Virginia in 2020 ended up being mostly symbolic due to missed deadlines, but it seemed like somewhat of a victory during the wave of feminism that included the "Me Too" movement. The point is this: The right to vote should not be taken for granted - it was (and is) an arduous task to win this right for all Americans, and who we elect to lead our country really can make a difference... and, yes, every vote counts!

The Woman Suffrage Cook Book, published in 1886 as a fundraiser for the women's suffrage movement, included recipes from women all over the country, as well as household tips, advertisements and some suffrage related information. We would like to share some of the cookbook's "Eminent Opinions on Woman Suffrage," excellent food for thought (pun intended) as our November 3, 2020 election approaches:

"I go for all sharing the privileges of the government who assist in bearing its burdens, by no means excluding women. -- Abraham Lincoln

"I take it America never gave any better principle to the world than the safety of letting every human being have the power of protection in his own hands. I claim it for woman. The moment she has the ballot, I shall think the cause is won." -- Wendell Phillips

"Those who are ruled by the law should have the power to say what shall be the laws, and who the law-makers. Women are as much interested in legislation as men, and are entitled to representation." -- William Lloyd Garrison

"To have a voice in choosing those by whom one is governed, is a means of self-protection due to every one. Under whatever conditions, and within whatever limits, men are admitted to the suffrage, there is not a shadow of justification for not admitting women under the same." -- John Stuart Mill

"Why should not women vote? The essence of all republicanism is that they who feel the pressure of the law shall have a voice in its enactment." -- Rev. John Pierpont


Sponge cakes are unique - the only leavening and binding agents used are egg whites and yolks! In fact, a traditional sponge uses only three ingredients: flour, sugar and eggs. All quantities are determined by their percentage of the weight in the recipe, all focusing around the quantity of eggs, making these recipes easy to scale up or down. 4" round layer cakes took 20-25 minutes in a 350-degree oven.

I found that scaling this recipe based on egg weights was very helpful for farm fresh eggs, since our girls lay all different sizes. Speaking of chickens, here is my chicken scratch showing the weight calculations for a sponge using 6 eggs:

And the bright yellow of the sponge cake thanks to deep, orangey free range yolks:

As we near the end of 2020, Union County's bicentennial year, we wanted to incorporate some local history into our cakes. We topped each cake with Mrs. Orr's Butter Cookies, a favorite Union County recipe we have made several times this year already. Noah Orr is a fascinating figure in Union County history; more info can be found here.

The Union County Bicentennial celebration and Union County Bicentennial passport program will be extended into 2021 due to the kickoff cancellation this past April. That means we will be making our historical recipes next year as well! If you have an old family recipe you would like to share, please contact Katy at or find us on social media!

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