Feather Cake


 Holyoke Girls' Cooking Club, c. 1880s

Holyoke Girls’ Cooking Club,
c. 1880s

A dozen recipes were committed to paper in a young girl’s hand at the back of Belle Skinner’s French grammar notebook. They are believed to be her sister Katharine’s—either family recipe favorites or rules learned at the Holyoke Cooking Club where Katharine was a member. The 1880s photo of the Holyoke Girls’ Cooking Club shows Katharine Skinner, second row, second from left. Katharine is remembered as having more aptitude for cooking than her older sister, Belle.

In 1902, it was Katharine’s idea to organize the Skinner Coffee House, a settlement house with a state of the art kitchen, capable of serving more than 150 women mill workers in its adjacent dining rooms. In instituting the The Skinner Coffee House, Belle and Katharine continued their father’s philanthropic spirit, honored and celebrated his dedication to improvement in the lives of women and opportunities for their education and advancement. The Skinner Coffee House became a model women’s center and a thriving hub of community activity.




1 TBS butter
1 c. sugar
1 ½ c. flour
½ c. milk
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 eggs
Pinch of salt


Then stir butter, sugar and eggs together beating them  hard, then add flour in which cream of tartar is mixed, and milk by degrees, dissolve the soda in the least drop of boiling water. Just the same for jellie cake Any kind of thing can be put between this cake.

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