Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Mother's Chocolate Cake

My mother was not a baker. She baked exactly 6 times a year – birthdays, five kids and my dad. She never baked anything else, which is not to say we were deprived of sweets and cookies and what not. Oh no, we had cookies and candy like other kids but Mr. Nabisco and Mr. Keebler were the bakers in our house. Sarah Lee came by every now and again for a no bake cheesecake, the foundation of my love for all things cream cheese!

When my mother did bake – 6 times a year – it was always the same thing. My Mother’s Chocolate Cake with vanilla frosting; lovingly prepared with a whole pound of icing sugar and half a ton of butter. Frosting variations came into play later on when we met our good friend Betty – the queen of the tub-o-frosting. Now there’s a lady I could look up to!

Needless to say I did not learn my baking skills at the hip of my mother – or my grandmother for that matter. Mr. Keebler visited her house quite frequently also. No, my lover of baking blossomed later in life when I lived in Australia and realized that I had better learn to cook or M and I were going to starve to death! And learn I did, I endeavored to master all the foods I missed. Master I did not - but I fancy myself a very good cook and an even better baker. There are even a few things that I make of which I am truly proud.

My mother was not a baker, but… My Mother’s Chocolate Cake is- with out rival - the best chocolate cake I have ever had. The cake is a true depression cake, no eggs no butter, and a rather dense crumb. She had a tattered piece of note paper with a hand written recipe tucked into the 1955 printing of the “Woman’s Home Companion” cookbook. Who knows where she got the recipe; it was not in that cookbook, which I still have and still use. The other day I dragged it out because I had an idea and wanted to include My Mother’s Chocolate Cake. I was heart broken to find that the tattered note paper was gone. I had long ago committed that recipe to memory, but knowing that that note was gone made me sad.

My newest creation would need a firm dense cake to stand up to the dense cheesecake. We wouldn’t want it to squish! So with My Mother’s Chocolate Cake (which I have written on note paper and replaced in the book) and my own rendition of White Chocolate Cheesecake I created this towering beauty: The Black and White Ribbon Cake.

My mother was not a baker, but I think I am, I hope that she will be proud.

No comments: