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Feather cake

by Naomi Newton and Noellen Newton

Hello fellow Mixing Bowl enthusiasts … and farewell. This will be our last post as the Museum's Glorious Days: Australia 1913 exhibition draws to a close this weekend, on 13 October.

A piece of cake on a white plate sitting on a poster titled 'Glorious Days'. The poster has an image of a woman wearing roller skates and a red feather headdress.
Our Feather cake, not so light in the middle, but dressed up for a final photo opportunity.

The inspiration for our final recipe, the Feather cake, comes from the beautiful Glorious Days poster designed by the fabulous Communications and Marketing section of the Museum.

How could one not notice that gloriously magnificent red feather headpiece? 

While the Home Cookery for Australia recipe book has some great home-style recipes, its rusty red cover may not be so brilliant. This did not stop our dedicated Copyright and Production Services gurus from clearing it for online publication.

The ever faithful Multimedia and Web team carried out this fortnightly mission of publishing and polishing our images and recipe posts – and that is why we look so good!

The 'behind the scenes' Mixing Bowl was filled by the steadfast services of the Museum’s Visitor Services and Front of House teams.

None of which was possible without the enthusiasm and gusto of  the Museum’s Learning Services and Community Outreach program

Last but not least our keen taste testing teams of the Research Centre and Executive made our cooking adventures a pleasure.

And now on to our final cake recipe – as light a feather – not! 

Excerpt from a printed book showing a recipe titled 'Feather Cake'

Source: Home Cookery for Australia: All Tested Recipes, 1913, Arbuckle, Waddell & Fawckner, Melbourne.

Ingredients and mode

Ingredients: 4 eggs, ¼ pound butter, 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, 1 cup milk, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon carbonate of soda, ¼ pound sultanas or raisins.

Mode: Beat sugar and butter to a cream. Add eggs separately, beat well. Add flour and cream of tartar, then milk, with soda mixed in it, lastly sultanas. Put in a buttered shallow tin, and bake half an hour, moderate oven.


This cake unfortunately did not behave as requested by the recipe's 1913 author. While it did rise, it took much longer than the 30 minutes to cook – 50 minutes in fact – and then promptly sagged in the middle overnight.

However, so as to not miss our final photo opportunity, we dressed up the cake accordingly!

We hope that you have enjoyed sharing our journey and have tried some new (old) recipes along the way.

Thank you for your comments.

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Glorious Days: Australia 1913 was on show at the National Museum of Australia from 7 March to 13 October 2013.

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