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Mary Todd Lincoln Cake

Mary Todd Lincoln Cake
Mary Todd Lincoln Cake
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Mary Todd Lincoln Cake is an old fashioned cake recipe that will delight at your next luncheon or party. Easy cake recipes like this one are elegant and classic because they use simple flavors, yet are completely delicious. This white cake recipe boasts vanilla and almond flavors and is made completely from scratch. This cake is delicate and subtle, but will not be soon forgotten once everyone's had a few bites. Try this recipe out for an afternoon tea or other gathering where sweets are appreciated.


Another first lady, another recipe. This one's from Mrs. Nancy Reagan. Try her famous Monkey Bread Recipe right here.



Chilling Time10 min

Cooking Time30 min

Cooking MethodOven

Cooking Vessel Size9-inch cake pans


  • For Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • For Frosting:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • dash of salt
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray and line with circles of parchment paper.

  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder being sure it is free of lumps and aerated. Set aside.

  3. Chop the almonds by hand or with a small food processor until fine crumbs.

  4. In an electric mixer, whip egg whites until stiff. Set aside. Using an electric mixer and a different bowl, combine sugar, butter and vanilla and beat on medium high for 4 minutes until it is light a fluffy, scraping down sides of the bowl once or twice.

  5. With machine running on medium, gradually add dry ingredients alternately with milk until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites and the nuts.

  6. Spoon batter into the two prepared pans and bake 30 minutes until center of cakes test dry using a toothpick. Remove to a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then turn out of pans onto cooling racks and cool completely.

  7. To make the frosting: In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt to the boil until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes.

  8. Place egg whites into bowl of an electric mixer and whip until foamy. With machine running, add the sugar syrup to the egg whites in a gradual stream and continue to beat until very glossy and stiff peaks form, for 7 minutes.

  9. Add vanilla and beat for 1 additional minute.

  10. Frost layers and sides of the cake with about 2/3 of the frosting, then swirl the remainder on top. Decorate with the toasted almonds.

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I have Mary Todds white cake recipe and many others from the family, and this is close, but it is not the same. Many changes were made to this one. Looking at the two recipes, I would think that this recipe would be a much lighter cake. It uses cake flour, not regular, and not as much of it. It also uses less sugar and more milk. There is no recipe for frosting by Mary Todd in my book, so I assume the author of this recipe added one of their own, or found it in a different book than the one I have. I recognize the frosting recipe. It is a boiled icing similar to an old recipe my great grandmother also used. I do not know its origins. My Mary Todds White cake recipe begins with this added piece that some might enjoy reading.. Mr. Lincoln is said to have remarked that Mary Todds White Cake was the best he had ever eaten. This confection was originated by Monsieur Giron, a Lexington caterer, on the occasion of Lafayettes visit.

I have found her frosting recipe and it is different. Icing - Mix 2 cups brown sugar and 1 cup sour cream and cook until a soft ball is formed in cold water. Cool and beat until creamy. Spread between layers and on top. Honestly, I think I prefer the frosting recipe above. It sounds much nicer.

don't see frosting ingredients

This Mary Todd Lincoln cake was probably an original recipe by the former First Lady of the US, the wife of Abraham Lincoln. It says it is simple to prepare because it has simple ingredients but very delicious. I want to try and taste how Mrs. Lincoln prepared her cake.

What a nice and simple cake to make from scratch. I honestly will happily use a cake mix if pressed for time, but making one from scratch gives such a nice feeling of accomplishment. I love the incorporation of the almonds into the cake. I love almonds, anyway, so this cake would be delightful to make. I think this would also be excellent as a birthday cake. I certainly wouldn't mind getting one of these.

I love recipes with cake and almonds! I am wondering why this cake is named the Mary Todd Lincoln cake? Would anyone know the answer? I just finished listening to a two part series podcast on Mary Todd Lincoln and I found her life to be fascinating. I will definitely try this recipe because it looks delish and I love the name!

I am all about scratch cakes. I always make them. Never use a mix. This is pretty simple. The hardest part is separating the eggs, but that is also what makes it so light. I really don't do layer cakes much anymore. You could just use a 9' x 13" baking pan instead and bake 40-45 minutes and just leave in pan to frost and serve.

This recipe was sweet, simple, and delicious. What more could you ask for in a dessert?

Tried this recipe? What did you think?

Very good.... I particularly liked the frosting and almonds!


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