Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In which we have our cake, but wonder if anyone would want to eat it, too.....

 *Sigh* Here we snow again....

This one is Janus. Maddy said that if you take away the "J" it sums up nicely what she thinks about winter. She also told me not to repeat that. Oops....


"John-John, what on earth are you looking at?"

"It's some kind of cookbook. I found it stuck in the one Maddy had out earlier," he said.

"What's it called?" For some reason I was thinking of the old Twilight Zone episode - you know, "To Serve Man." While I realize the line "Don't get on the ship! They translated the first few pages and....IT'S A COOKBOOK!!!!" is supposed to be horrifying, I was falling off the computer lapdesk laughing.




"I guess," he said. "Hey Maddy, when was this published?"

"I have no idea. There's no date. But I'm guessing the Fifties," she said. "Fifties or very very early Sixties. Like Mad Men era Sixties."

This "Spry" of which they speak is apparently something like Crisco. And "Aunt Jenny" here pretty much explains why the Sixties had to happen.

Not that I'm against doing something really awesome for your fella, but - not really liking the attitude here. Like the only thing a woman has - or should have - time for is baking her husband cakes.

Although this one might be a good one if you're really, really mad at him for some reason, given what prunes are supposed to do to humans. Although Maddy said that with orange instead of prune, it might be a good orange spice cake - if you could figure out how to work around not using all that shortening, that is.

This was the book John-John found it in. It's the sole souvenir from that trip to Hershey, PA when Maddy was a kid - the one where her father stopped for an hour to tour some rose garden but refused to visit either the chocolate factory or the park. Her mom, however, was able to score this cookbook. It's available on Amazon and she'd really recommend it. The cake pictured on the front is about the best yellow cake ever. You may never want to look at another cake mix again.

And best of all, this book is 100% prune-free!

Here's a sample recipe - it's the one Maddy made today while we were snowed in. After all, ancestor Hitty's birthday is tomorrow, so we needed a cake....

Demon Cake (adapted from the cookbook above)

4 squares baking chocolate or equivalent (the Hershey's Cocoa cans list these in case you don't want to mess around with melting chocolate)

1 cup butter (We used one stick of margarine and one stick butter)

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

5 eggs, seperated

1 tsp vanilla extract

Tip - use a LARGE mixing bowl. This thing is three layers, so there's a lot of batter.


1) If using the chocolate squares, melt over a double boiler, otherwise, add the cocoa powder equivalent to the bowl

2) Add the butter and sugar and mix together well

3) Add the buttermilk and flour and mix well again, then add the baking soda, baking powder and salt

4) Separate your eggs. Mix the yolks up well with a fork and add them. Mix again

5) Now beat the egg whites until they're stiff, like meringue. Fold them gently into the batter with a spoon. Don't use the mixer this time.

6) Add the vanilla and gently stir in with the spoon again

The directions call for three 9" round pans, but you can use whatever works. We used 9"x9" brownie pans. Grease and flour your pans (it WILL stick if you just use Pam or whatever without the flour) and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until done.

This is the icing from the book, but we just used store-bought vanilla icing. If you're feeling brave and want to give it a go, here it is....

Fluffy Vanilla Icing (not Ice!)


1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/4 tsp cream of tarter

2 egg whites

1/2 tsp vanilla

1) Dissolve the sugar in the water and add the cream of tarter

2) Boil to the soft-ball stage, around 234F (Yes, it says that. I know it's a candy-making reference, but it still doesn't sound good....)

3) Beat the egg whites until very stiff and pour the sugar syrup over them, still beating. Add the vanilla and beat until cool and frosting is the right consistency to spread.

Or just use the canned stuff. It sound a lot less scary....


  1. Demon cake sounds AMAZING. 50s Housewife Sensibilities, not so much. Keep warm and enjoy your nummy cakes!

  2. The cake really came out well. It's rich, but light thanks to the egg whites. It might have a little more chocolate oomph! with the square, but we didn't have any - and we don't have a double boiler anymore, either.

    As for the prune cake book - I've never seen so much shortening used in so few recipes.