Here is a wonderful recipe from the Dr. Chase’s Recipes or Information for Everybody, from 1866. Old recipes can be a treat to read, as the directions tend to be more factual rather than instructional. Basically, you were given a list of ingredients and you were supposed to automatically know what to do with them, in the proper order, and at the proper temperature in your wooden cooking stove.
This recipe for Cider Cake calls for saleratus. While this sounds frightening and somewhat like a chemistry course, it’s simply sodium bicarbonate… baking soda.
6 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup cider
1 teaspoon saleratus (baking soda)
1 grated nutmeg (the whole thing)
Beat the eggs, sugar and softened butter together, and stir in the flour and nutmeg; dissolve the saleratus in the cider and stir into the mass and bake immediately, in a quick oven.
A quick oven would be 375-400 degrees. Grease your pan first – I think this would be about enough to fill a 9X13 cake pan or two 8-9″ round tins.