Taste History Today: The Sugar Loaf Baking Company

sugar_loafI celebrated my birthday this week, so for the next few days, I present a few posts on cake!

I first want to write a few lines about an amazing man I met way back in August, at Deborah Peterson’s Pantry Foodways Symposium–a gathering of 18th century food enthusiasts (because that’s how I roll).  Niel V. De Marino had a vendor’s booth set up displaying the most gorgeous cakes I had ever seen–all from 18th century recipes.

I tried to convince Neil to open a stand at the Brooklyn Flea, but he seemed unconvinced there was a market for 200 year old cake in  New York City.  I disagree.  He has no website, so the only way to contact (and commission) him is by phone. His info is at left.

I sampled some of his cakes on site, and snapped a few photos–bear with me on the quality of the images, they’re cell phone pics.


IMG_20120818_105241These were filled with some sort of rose petal jam.

IMG_20120818_105206I think this one was called a “Queen’s Cake” – almondy, sweet, and moist.  My favorite.

I don’t remember what these were called; they had dried fruit in them and were soaked in brandy and aged much like a fruit cake.


IMG_20120818_105134An incredibly rich and complex gingerbread cake, filled with spices and chunks of candied ginger.

IMG_20120818_105109Cookies–I think they were anise flavored?  They were made with cookie stamps, and had the clearest impressions I had ever seen achieved.

IMG_20120818_105043Seed cake–flavored with caraway seeds.


8 thoughts on “Taste History Today: The Sugar Loaf Baking Company

  1. Wonderful stuff! Those white cookies are springerle. My mom used to make them at Christmastime. They’re German in origin, and the molds are still widely available online. I have a rolling pin that serves the same purpose.

  2. I was going to tell you all about springerle, but I see that Barb beat me to it! Springerle is very dry and almost like biscotti, but with an anise flavor. I learned about it first when I started carving my own cookie molds.

  3. Actually, not all impressed cookies are springerle. That’s the German sort, but the dutch and the English made stamped cookies as well. The Dutch brought them to the US, they baked them for funerals and New Years Day (they were often flavored with caraway, sometimes gingerbread-like spices, sometime orange zest) and the concept bled over into other communities, like the Amish.

  4. I love his ginger cookies. He come to the Independence Day Celebration at the Ringwood Manor ever year.

  5. My kids & I had Neils cookies, Queen’s Cake and the brandy cake at the Fort Lee memorial site on 11/23/2013. They were excellent and I feel that he would do great at the Farmers Market at Union Square. New Yorkers are looking for cakes and pastries that taste great and have a wonderful historical history. The bottom line is that they were excellent.

    • They are totally excellent. I finally got Neil to Brooklyn last summer for the Battle of Brooklyn reenactment at Greenwood Cemetery. He was a huge hit, nearly sold out of everything. I think it convinced him that his products would do very well in a modern market in NYC.

      • Hi Sarah:

        Maybe he can be sold on opening a stand at the Farmers Market at Union Square. I’ve no doubt he’d have a hit. There is a broad selection of cakes and cookies and he knows how to talk with enthusiasm to his customers.

        Larry Spiegel

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