15 March 2010

Family recipe Monday: three classic cakes

In case anyone was wondering why we are spending so much time rescuing family recipes, take a look at this one. Many of the Simple Gifts family recipes are like this. Things were written down on the first available scrap of paper and then never rewritten. This looks like the back side of an old ledger page or receipt. Since such papers were not exactly designed at the time to be archival, the recipes are crumbling and fading. We've scanned and transcribed them, put them in archival sleeves, and given them to Shirley, the keeper of all records.

This recipe is for a good solid old-fashioned no-holds-barred bring-out-your-arteries pound cake, another treat to have ready for drop-in guests. It is a dense, sweet cake, good by itself or with fruit, preserves, or ice cream. Pound cakes keep and freeze beautifully. Note the low, low temperature and long baking time.
Pound cake

Grease and flour a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan. Cream thoroughly for 1 minute 1 cup of soft butter. Add gradually (10 minutes) 1 cup sugar. Beat in (30 seconds) ¼ tsp grated lemon rind and 1 T lemon juice. Beat in one at a time (1 ½ minutes each) 4 large eggs (1 cup). Sift together and beat in all at once 2 cups sifted Softasilk flour, 1 7/8 cups Gold Medal flour, ¼ tsp baking powder. Beat until just smooth (1 minute). Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 300* F (slow oven) for 75-90 minutes. Bake until cake tests done with a wooden pick.
--Vada Brooks Johnson

Here's another recipe for a lovely, very old-fashioned cake. Two different cards, same recipe. Any jam flavor will do; I am partial to either blackberry or peach, personally. It is explicit on the ingredients, a bit cryptic on the directions. You will want to grease that pan. Take the warning on the second card to heart and use a big pan. This is another one that is baked at a lower temperature--I would tend more to 325* F than 350* F. This is another recipe that perfumes the house.

Aunt Coy's jam cake
4 eggs
1 cup nuts
1 cup butter
½ lb raisins
2 cups sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup jam 
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour

Bake at 325*-350* F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cook in a 9”x2”x11” pan--this cooks over in a Bundt or angelfood [pan].
--Coy McLean Brooks

Aunt Coy was my grandmother's sister-in-law and possibly one of the sweetest people who ever lived. She was a generous soul and a wonderful cook.
Aunt Coy fishing at her home in Arkansas

Finally, here is another classic, best served fresh and warm. I am not sure where the name comes from. You may want to poke the cake surface gently with a fork all over to allow the filling to run in a bit before broiling. The broil time is very, very short, not more than a minute or so. Ignore this warning at your peril. Burned cake is awful.
Lazy daisy cake

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
½ cup boiling milk
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Beat eggs light and add sugar gradually. Stir in vanilla; sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add alternately with boiling milk. Pour in shallow pan and bake in moderate oven.

9 T brown sugar
5 T melted butter
4 T cream
1 cup coconut

Mix together and pour on top of cake and brown under broiler. Cut into squares.
--Vada Brooks Johnson

Cheers, and happy Monday.

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