Romance Cooks

The Best Biscuit Cakes – Holly West

Much of the inspiration for the food in the Mistress of Fortune series comes from a 17th century book by Hannah Wolley called The Queen-Like Closet or Rich Cabinet. It’s a collection of recipes, menus and household hints that 17th century women used to run their households.

As you’ll see, baking in the 17th century was somewhat less precise–and does that seem like a lot of sugar and flour to you? Still, I can almost smell the warm scent of freshly baked biscuits when I read this recipe!

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The Best Biscuit Cakes (as made by a 17th century housewife)


4 new laid eggs
2 spoonfuls rose-water
1 pound sugar

1 pound fine flour

Put 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks into large bowl and beat them very well. Add the rose-water and sugar and beat for one hour. Add the flour and beat them together for a good while, then put them upon plates rubbed over with butter and set them into the oven as fast as you can. Have a care not to bake them too much.



London, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-bating matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried—especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

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