Recipe: Pecan cake

Mary Todd's Pecan Cake
Adapted from "A. Lincoln Cookbook: A Cookbook of Epic Portions", previously printed in The Ladies' Home Journal in May 1923.

Makes 12 servings


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 pound pecan pieces
  • 1 pound raisins, chopped
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 nutmeg seed, grated
Cream butter lightly and cream in the sugar. Beat egg yolks until frothy and add to sugar mixture. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Dredge nuts and raisins in 1/4 cup of four mixture. Alternately add orange juice and flour mixture to sugar mixture. Beat well. Add pecans and raisins. Add nutmeg. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into batter. Pour into greased and floured pan (tube or fluted) or two smaller round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

Mary Todd Lincoln's White Cake
Adapted from "Lincoln's Table" by Donna D. McCreary

Makes about 12 slices, depending on thickness


  • 1 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 teaspon vanilla extract
  • Confectioner's sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder 3 times. Add to creamed butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour into greased and floured Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectioner's sugar over top.

DIANA TORRES KOSS (plays Mary Todd Lincoln) is returning to TheatreWorks where favorite roles include Mrs. Fairfax (Jane Eyre, Dean Goodman Award), Miss Jane (Floyd Collins), and Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd). Other credits include Betty (The Great American Trailer Park Musical) and Penelope Pennywise (Urinetown) at San Jose Stage Company; Auntie Em (Wizard of Oz) and Frau Schmidt (Sound of Music) at American Musical Theatre of San Jose; Mona (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Sister Robert Anne (Nunsense musicals) at Willows Theatre Company; Rita (Cowgirls, Dean Goodman Award) at Marin Theatre Company; Rita La Porta (Lucky Stiff) at California Conservatory Theatre; Rita (Cowgirls, Shellie Award) at Center Repertory Company, and Mrs. Lovett (Sweeney Todd, Dean Goodman Award and Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award) at Foothill College. Proud member of Actor's Equity and Theatre Bay Area.

About the show:
TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theatre of Silicon Valley presents a festive holiday offering, the West Coast premiere of A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL CELEBRATION, by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel. This glorious tapestry of the American experience weaves fact and fiction, old-time carols, and traditional tunes into a whimsical saga of a nation longing for hope. Featuring TheatreWorks favorites Diana Torres Koss, C. Kelly Wright, and Gary Martinez, Broadway and film actor Michael A. Shepperd, regional veteran Robert Parsons, and local favorite Kit Wilder, with Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley at the helm, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS plays December 2-27 (press opening December 5) at Lucie Stern Theatre. For tickets and information, the public may call 650-463-1960 or visit

Set on a snowy Christmas Eve in Washington, 1864, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS imagines celebrated figures from Abe Lincoln to Walt Whitman rubbing elbows with colorful characters from every stratum of society. This heartwarming holiday feast finds Mary Todd Lincoln rushing to complete her Christmas shopping, Clara Barton tending wounded soldiers in a local hospital, a run-away slave girl separated from her mother in the bitter cold, and two generals on opposite sides of the Potomac, caught in limbo between victory and defeat. 19th Century folk songs, hymns and spirituals, as well as beloved Christmas carols including "O Christmas Tree" and "Silent Night," among many others, entwine these characters in a poignant and moving portrait of America at a crossroads in history. Called "the best play of the year" by the Hartford Courant, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS premiered in November 2008 at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.
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