Mother Ann’s Birthday Cake

Mother Ann Lee was born on February 29, 1736.  The Shaker family celebrates her birth every year on either February 29 (in leap years), or March 1.  As Mother’s 271st birthday is fast approaching, I thought I would give you the traditional birthday cake recipe, taken from Shaker Your Plate, a cookbook by Sister Frances Carr, the current eldress of the Shaker community.  The cookbook can be ordered from

With so many egg whites, it is impossible to veganize.  Maybe you can find eggs from happy chickens at a local farm.  But if you want to veganize, you will need to simply make a vegan white cake and use the rose water flavoring and peach jelly.  Also, I warn you that some people will complain that the rose water makes the cake taste like perfume.  For such whiners, vanilla can be substituted. 

1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons rose water
12 egg whites
1 teaspoon salt

Beat butter and sugar into a smooth cream.  Sift flour with cornstarch and baking powder.  Add flour mixture in small amounts alternately with milk to butter mixture.  Beat after each addition.  Add rose water.  Beat egg whites with the salt until stiff, and then fold lightly into the flour mixture.  Bake in three 8″ cake tins at 350 for 25 minutes. 

When cool, fill between the layers with peach jelly and cover the cake with this frosting:

4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup light cream
1 tablespoon rose water

In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients and stir until smooth.  Spread over the cake.

Once I served God through fear, but now I serve Him by love – Mother Ann Lee, Testimonies, p.270


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