Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake Recipe.

Can you imagine eating a cake made by Emily Dickinson? The famous reclusive poet from Amherst, Massachusetts was also an accomplished baker. In 2011, the Poet’s House in New York City put on an exhibit featuring a handwritten coconut cake recipe from Dickinson on the back of which she had also scribbled the first draft for the following poem:

The Things that never can come back, are several —
Childhood — some forms of Hope — the Dead —
Though Joys — like Men — may sometimes make a Journey —
And still abide —
We do not mourn for Traveler, or Sailor,
Their Routes are fair —
But think enlarged of all that they will tell us
Returning here —
“Here!” There are typic “Heres” —
Foretold Locations —
The Spirit does not stand —
Himself — at whatsoever Fathom
His Native Land —

(Credit: WikiSource)

Below is the cake recipe, courtesy of Poet’s House:Image:

For Dickinson, the worlds of poetry and baking collided. Her poems have also been found on the backs of baking chocolate wrappers and various other kitchen papers. Many of her poems contain references to food. In her obituary, Dickinson’s sister-in-law Sue wrote:

“Very few in the village … know Miss Emily personally … [And yet] there are many houses among all classes into which her treasures of fruit and flowers and ambrosial dishes for the sick and well were constantly sent.”

A 21st-century version of the cake recipe can be found here.

– Hannah Amante


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