Edible Bozeman

Mrs. Koch’s Sponge Cake

Related Story: A Taste of History

If you’re looking for something sweet but a bit lighter than maple pudding, Mrs. Koch’s Sponge Cake might be just the treat for you.

Using some light detective skills, I determined the reference to one Mrs. Koch in Emma’s cookbook is likely Laurentze Koch. I won’t take you through my investigation, but I can say with relative certainty that there weren’t many Mrs. Kochs that Mrs. Willson socialized with in 1916, and there’s also a recipe in the cookbook for “Mrs. Koch’s Danish Pudding” that would pay homage to Laurentze’s Danish heritage. And no, Danish Pudding isn’t as delicious as it sounds. It’s a kind of milky fish bake.

Like Mrs. Willson, Mrs. Koch was the wife of a Bozeman hot shot. Danish immigrant Peter Koch settled in Bozeman in 1870, eventually sending for his fiancée (and cousin), Laurentze, to join him. Peter became a prominent banker and played a large role in creating the Agricultural College at MSU. Like the Willsons, the Kochs have a street named after them. Laurentze, like Emma, appeared to be a well-known Bozeman socialite, though I’m not sure that’s much of a brag in a sparsely populated county of less than 10,000. The ladies are mentioned in tandem at birthday celebrations, fundraisers, church events—it seems like the two women couldn’t do anything without some reporter scribbling down their movements.

3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Jam or berry compote, for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch baking pan.

In a standard mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in sugar and beat until combined; set aside. Sift flour and baking powder together into medium bowl. Slowly pour into sugar and egg mixture and beat to combine. Add milk and beat one final time.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes, until top is golden brown. Allow cake to cool, then dust top with powdered sugar. Top each serving with a spoon of jam or berry compote.

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