Around this time last year I wrote a post about what Emily Dickinson and I have in common and discovered that the famous poet and I both love baking. It’s so interesting to me that while she was alive, Emily Dickinson was famous for her baked goods, not her poetry. She kept the pages and pages of poems hidden while she baked breads, cookies, and cakes for all the people in her life. Her rye bread was award-winning and the kids in her neighbourhood came running to her window for a taste of gingerbread.
This image of Dickinson baking for her friends and family doesn’t quite fit with her reputation as a serious, somewhat dark poet in a plain dress. But as it turns out, Emily Dickinson had quite the domestic side and was a thoughtful baker who sent care packages to friends and family. The Emily Dickinson Museum even has a book entitled Emily Dickinson: Profile of the Poet as Cook with Selected Recipes in their bookshop:
“Both charming and informative, this selection explores the role cooking played in the poet’s life. Known as a first-rate baker in her town and time, Emily Dickinson’s personal recipes for various cakes, breads, puddings, and even wine are published here for use in the modern kitchen. Perfect for the Dickinson fan–or anyone with a sweet tooth!”
While researching for this post I kept coming across the recipe for Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake and it inspired me to make my own version. I went with a vegan recipe for Coconut Lemon Bundt Cake from Veganomicon. Since they were in season, I used Meyer lemons. If you haven’t baked with Meyers I highly recommend it. They are sweeter than regular lemons and work especially well for desserts.
If you want to follow the actual recipe for Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake you can find it on the Bon Appetit website. And if you find her instructions to be a little too vague, you can find a more detailed look at how to make Dickinson’s cake on The History Kitchen.