Sweet Cakes | Sleepy Hollow

“There was the doughty doughnut, the tender oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller; sweet cakes and short cakes, ginger cakes and honey cakes, and the whole family of cakes. “

-The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving


how common was sugar in colonial america?

As you start baking recipes from Colonial America, you’ll notice that sugar was used, but in most recipes, it was used lightly ‘to season’.

The further back in history you go, the more rare sugar (in its current form) was. However, sugar was available in the 1700s. When the Dutch settled in America in the 1600s, they were a wealthy country, and importing was common. Holland was a centre for sugar refining, and the Dutch in America would have had access to a variety of sugars.  Sugar was sold as white refined sugar loaves, soft brown sugar and molasses. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, you’ll find recipes with a dusting of sugar for a hint of sweetness, such as the cruller, doughty doughnut and oly koek recipes.


How to make Sweet Cakes


Sweet Cakes | Sleepy Hollow

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  • Author: Bryton Taylor; Food in Literature
  • Prep Time: 50 mins
  • Cook Time: 12 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 2 mins
  • Yield: 25 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Begin by creaming together the butter and sugar before adding in the eggs, cream and milk. Finally, add in the self-raising flour. Roll into a log, chill in the fridge for half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 320F/160C.
  3. Either roll and slice into rectangular cookies or slice the roll to create circles. Spread on a cookie tray and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake for ~10 minutes until golden.

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