Celebrate National Jelly Bean Day with the Yummiest 19th-Century Confections!

By Melissa Rayner

Did you know that April 22 is National Jelly Bean Day? Well, I say, “Why stop at jelly beans when there are so many other tasty treats to be had?”

Let’s take a look into the kitchen of yesteryear to find the most delectable confections of yore. Extra points to anyone who decides to try their hand at any of these delightful recipes.

First, we start with a dessert so famous, it has its very own song–the hot cross bun. Did you know that this special little cake was once believed to have supernatural powers? The special Easter treat was once thought to be resistant to spoiling because of its ties to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. I, for one, choose to still believe. It makes the indulgence that much more pleasurable!


Is your husband “difficult”? Because this issue of the Derby Daily Telegraph from 1949 has the perfect solution for you! Not only can the infamous hot cross bun satisfy your spouse’s insatiable appetite, but so too can this fruit juice-infused tipsy cake. Take your marriage to the next level, when you try this recipe on for size.


“Hey now,” you may have just cried. “You promised 19th century confections, and that last one was from well beyond the bounds of my favorite century.” I knew I couldn’t sneak one past you. Let’s balance out that slight misstep by correcting our gaffe in the opposite direction. Going back even further, we find a yummy recipe for plum cake circa 1740.


Perhaps, though, you don’t feel like cooking. One of the joys of living, after all, is enjoying the fruits of others’ labor. Well, then you’ll most certainly want to stop by Whitman and Son’s circa 1878. Not only do they have the “choicest confections”, but it’s also true that their delectable treats won’t poison you! That’s an amazing advertising claim, if ever I’ve seen one.


Oh, now wait a moment. Perhaps I was too quick to cast stones at Whitman’s, after all. You see, earlier in that same decade, poisonous or “deleterious” sweetmeats were making the rounds through unsettled patron’s digestive systems. On second thought, “We promise not to poison you” is a fantastic advertising campaign. Happy National Jelly Bean Day, folks!



Melissa for Caricature (2)About the Author

Melissa is obsessed with books, birds, and bonbons. She is a new mom and holds an MA in Applied Sociology. She also writes fiction and skips about the interweb as Emlyn Chand.






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