Literary Post: Farmer Boy. Keeping House. Pound Cake.

I got a set of Little House books, paperback with the solid sky-blue binding, when I was seven. I deemed the first book “babyish” and “stupid”. My friend Edda tried to sell me on it: “But it’s so neat! They go spend Christmas with their cousins!”

Eh, thought I. Cousins are NO BIG DEAL. I only had one at that time in my life, and he was considerably younger and considerably far away. (These days I have to admit Edda had grounds to speak with some expertise on the awesomeness of cousins, however, having quite a horde of them herself.)

No, I was far more interested in the gruesome idea of putting one’s mouth on a pig bladder and blowing it up like a balloon. Aside from that, Little House in the Big Woods held little appeal for me.

The third one, Farmer Boy, I had no interest in, either. It was a BOY story, about BOYS, and surely it was therefore BORING. But finally I read it and it immediately became my favourite in the series, and I think it still is (though Little Town on the Prairie is awfully close.)

The entire series talks about food a lot. I have to admit, most of the food doesn’t appeal to me at all, but I felt I could hardly do a literary food series without giving some sort of nod to the Little House books. Pickled watermelon rinds were out. Salt pork was out, and blown-up pig bladders definitely out.

And then I remembered this:

That day they made ice-cream again, and they ate the last cake. Alice said she knew how to make a pound-cake. She said she’d make one, and then she was going to go sit in the parlor. Almanzo thought that wouldn’t be any fun. […boring paragraph where Eliza Jane tells Alice not to sit in the parlor, blah blah blah…]

That afternoon he came into the kitchen to see if the pound cake was done. Alice was taking it out of the oven. It smelled so good that he broke a little piece off the corner. Then Alice cut a slice to hide the broken place, and then they ate two more slices with the last of the ice-cream.

(My friend graciously typed the quote up for me, since my own copy of the book is currently in storage. I left her bracketed comment in because it amused me.)

I decided to experiment with the notion of pound cake in the sense that the Wilders would most likely have eaten it: the 1:1:1:1 ration of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs. I tried it first with flax eggs, and that was a gooey, strange piece of denseness. I tried it the second time with Ener-G Egg Replacer. It was still fairly gooey, but extremely tasty. The third and final time I added a little baking powder just to lighten it up and make it less gooey.


So, here are the weights (quarter-pound of each of the main ingredients) converted to cups, because I hate weighing, and in the event you do too, this makes it easier for everyone. 🙂

1 stick vegan margarine
1/2 c sugar
7 T water
2 1/4 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

Cream together margarine and sugar. Add water and egg replacer and beat together. Add flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix until incorporated.

Bake at 350 in a greased mini loaf pan for 55-60 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean.


The end result: It’s still not the light-fluffy-lemony pound cake we’re all familiar with today. However, it’s got a really lovely flavour and a nice tender texture that would be perfect for eating with fresh berries in the summertime.

Kind of like shortcake.

Maybe even with… ice cream.


Categories: book-inspired food, dessert, nut-free, recipes, vegan | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Literary Post: Farmer Boy. Keeping House. Pound Cake.

  1. Little House Books! I veganized a bunch of recipes from the cookbook for MoFo a couple of years ago. Love it.


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