Supposedly, it was a vanilla almond cake that enabled Mary Todd to win over the stern lawyer, Abraham Lincoln. In 1825 the Marquis de Lafayette paid a visit to her family's home during his trip to Lexington, Kentucky. During the reception she tasted a wonderful cake the chef had prepared. Apparently, she begged the chef, the famed Lexington confectioner Monsieur Giron, for the recipe. Luckily, he agreed, and eventually she brought the recipe with her into the White House. Apparently she was not much of a cook initially, but soon learned the art once the Lincolns set up a household, and the cake became a popular dessert that she would make for special occasions, including the day Lincoln won the Republican nomination for president in 1860.
The recipe was a bit heavy on butter, so I gave it a little makeover for the 21st century. I'm sure Mary would do the same, she seemed to be a very hip and upcoming woman. Mary's original recipe can be found here, and you can see some of the ingredients I changed or reduced. The cake came out great, with a little less sugar and fat. With a good cup of tea and honey, I'd say it would make Mrs. Lincoln proud.
Happy Birthday President Lincoln! You continue to be an inspiration.
Servings: Serves 16