Partially cracked hickory nuts in front of a white background.
The Native Ingredient Utilized In First Lady Sarah Polk's Favorite Cake
You might know a thing or two about various U.S. presidents' favorite foods, but first ladies tend to be overlooked. One first lady's favorite dessert deserves way more fame.
Sarah Polk, wife of 11th president James K. Polk, absolutely loved hickory nut cake, a warm, fluffy, nutty treat that was once a household staple back in the 19th century.
Polk's love for the cake was so well-known that it came to be called "Sarah Polk hickory nut cake." It's a truly American dessert, as hickory nuts are native to the U.S.
In the 19th century, hickory trees were plentiful across the country, and many everyday American home cooks could collect hickory nuts that fell into their backyards.
Hickory nuts are buttery, rich, and delicious, and when paired with sugar, an earthy sweetness emerges. The flavor makes it easy to see why the first lady loved this dessert.
Hickory nut cake calls for nuts, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, and vanilla extract. It's coated with a creamy frosting made of butter, powdered sugar, milk, and brown sugar.
To make Sarah Polk’s cake at home, you beat butter and sugar together until soft and airy, then add eggs and vanilla extract. Then, mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Combine the dry ingredients with the liquid mixture, milk, and nuts, then bake the cake. Make the frosting, spread or pour it over the cake, and decorate with crushed hickory nuts.