The Frau Erica Project
Muellers in America:
The first 155 years

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The Recipes


Section header for Frauenfleiß (Women’s work), page 509 of Die Abendschule for 1921. This issue carried an extensive obituary of Frau Erica, most likely written by her daughter and editorial successor Dora (Dodo) Knief.

Biskuit oder Schwammkuchen

Sponge Cake (a.k.a., Eierschwer)
Mueller weddings and other ceremonial gatherings were never complete without a dense yellow sponge cake, often served with berries or other fruit. The Muellers called it “Eierschwer” (egg-heavy) because the recipe listed its ingredients based on the exact weight of the eggs. There were variations (eight eggs rather than 10), but the ingredients were always the same, always in exact proportion, and came with the strict instruction: Stir it in the same direction. This is the original from Frau Erica’s Deutsch-Amerikanisches Kochbuch.

Biskuit oder Schwammkuchen

10 Eier schwer feingesiebter Zucker
5 Eier schwer Mehl
10 frische Eier
Rinde und Zaft einer Zitrone

Sponge Cake (Eierschwer)

Sifted sugar, the weight of 10 eggs
Flour, the weight of 5 eggs
10 fresh eggs [yolks and whites separated]
Grated peel and juice of one lemon

Nachdem man alles richtig abgewogen, rührt man die Eidotter mit dem Zucker 3/4–1 Stunde (immer nach derselben Richtung), giebt darnach abwechselnd das gesiebte Mehl und das zu steifem Schnee geschlagene Weiße von 10 Eiern, sowie obiges Gewürz hinein und backt den Kuchen in einer gebutterten und mit Mehl ausgestäubten Form von 3/4–1 1/4 Stunden in einem maßig heißen Ofen.

After weighing everything out, stir the egg yolks and sugar for 45 minutes to an hour (always in the same direction). Add the sifted flour alternately with the egg whites, which have been beaten to a stiff snow, and add the lemon juice and grated peel. Bake the cake in a buttered and flour-dusted pan in a medium-hot oven for 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes.

Modern bakers would like just a bit more detail than Frau Erica provided — and perhaps a slightly smaller cake for today’s smaller families. Frieda E. Mueller, daughter of Frau Erica’s son Rev. Ernst Mueller, offered the following version of her grandmother’s original recipe. Frieda baked it in an angelfood pan with a central tube. The crust she mentions was always a favorite feature.


8 eggs
sifted white sugar
sifted all-purpose flour
grated rind and juice of one lemon
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter an angelfood tube pan and dust it with flour.

Weigh, then crack and separate the eggs into good-size bowls. Weigh out an amount of sifted sugar equal to the weight of the eggs and add it to the egg yolks. Then weigh out an amount of sifted flour equal to half the weight of the eggs and set it aside.

Stir the egg yolks and sugar in one direction. Continue stirring until the sugar crystals are no longer discernible. Add the grated lemon rind and juice.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until a stiff snow forms.

Using a gentle folding motion, add the flour and the beaten egg whites alternately into the yolk and sugar mixture, about a third of each at a time.

Pour the batter into the tube pan and bake at 350° for 45 minutes to an hour. Test it with a broom straw or cake tester. The cake will have a crust on top.