Leap Year Cake

leap year postcard1

Happy Leap Year! While a lot is being written about Leap Year and its history, I’m intrigued by a vintage recipe for a Leap Year Cake. It appears in a few old cookbooks, and was printed in a few newspapers, but I haven’t been able to discover much of its origins.

The Boone County Genealogy web site has a page of vintage recipes transcribed by Indiana descendants. One lady submitted recipes that appeared in The Indianapolis Star on October 2, 1908, one of which was for Leap Year Cake.

The Indianapolis Star
Friday, October 2, 1908
Cocoanut Drops
One cocoanut, the white of one egg, powdered sugar. Grate the cocoanut, weigh it, and take one-half of its weight of the sugar. Beat the white of an egg to a stiff froth, stir all together then with a dessert or small spoon drop upon buttered white paper or tin sheets and sift sugar over them. Bake in a slow oven twelve to fifteen minutes.
Leap Year Cake
One cupful of sugar, one-half cupful of butter, one-half cupful of milk, whites of three eggs, one and one-half teaspoonfuls of baking powder.
One and one-half cupfuls of sugar, one-half teaspoonful of almond extract, yolks of three eggs.
Potato Salmon Cakes
A good way to use your leftover mashed potatoes. Mix them thoroughly with a can of salmon and just enough cornmeal to make them stick together in flat cakes and fry them in hot lard.
Miss Gladys Laughner
Whitestown, Ind
Transcribed by:
T. Stover – November 4, 2006

The New Church Cookbook (Aglaia Club, Brockton, MA 1902) contains a recipe for a Leap Year Cake, submitted by Mrs. Charlie Tibbets.

Whites of three eggs, one cup of sugar, one-half cup of butter warmed, one-half cup of milk, one-half teaspoonful of soda, one teaspoonful cream tartar, one and one-half cups flour.


Twelve tablespoonfuls pulverized sugar, yolks of three eggs. Beat thoroughly and put on cake while warm.

While the few references I’ve found seem to be from the 1902 – 1908 period, a recipe for Leap Year Cake was published in a 1967 edition of The Lancaster County Farm Cook Book. You can see the cookbook and the recipe here.

Happy Leap Year!

Leap Year Postcard2


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