Whigs, a Nice Tea Cake

Take time this week to make and share a traditional family recipe with younger family members! June is National Country Cooking Month, a good time to take out family recipes that have been passed down and enjoyed in your family.

Mrs. Macculloch had two whig, or wigg, recipes in her cookbook, one dating as far back as 1849. Wiggs were tea biscuits or tea cakes eaten in England. They were usually served only on special occasions, like funerals or weddings, because they were expensive to make. It is believed the name “wigg” came from the Dutch word “wedge”. After they are baked, wiggs are eaten warm with butter.

Louisa Macculloch’s recipe reads:

Whigs, a Nice Tea Cake

¾ lb. of four (approximately 2 ½ cups)
1 pint of warm milk
2-3 tablespoons of yeast
When light add 4 oz. of sugar (Mix and add ½ cup and 1 tbsp. of sugar)
4 oz. of butter (1 stick of butter softened)
Bake it in little tins, and eat hot with butter. (Roll into small 1 inch ball and place on lightly greased cookie sheet)

The original recipe does not include oven temperature or length of time to cook.

Modern-day conversions and instructions:

4 cups of flour
2 cups of warm milk (Begin with 1 ½ cups of milk and add remaining ½ cup at end, if needed. The dough should be dense, sticky, and hold its shape.)
3 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast and 3 teaspoons of instant or rapid-rise yeast
½ cup and 1 tbsp. of sugar
1 stick of butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix ingredients. Be careful not to over mix. Let dough rise for 15 minutes. Fill muffin pan, each cup a little more than half way. Bake for approximately 25 -27 minutes.


Resources:

  • Watch how wigg seed cakes were made in the 18th century.
  • Learn about the Smithsonian’s exhibit Food: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.
  • Discover food museums from around the world!
  • Learn how food shapes cultures.

Topic: Munchie Monday
Age / Level: High School, Life Long Learner

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