I made a lovely, dense, rich cake last weekend from one of my grandma’s cookbooks – there is just something so wonderful about old cookbooks. The way recipes are described and explained – it so much less detailed and matter-of-fact than any of the modern cookbooks I own. There was a certain level of assumption about cooking and baking knowledge, that no longer is found in contemporary cooking explanations.
I whipped it up, and frosted it, with an almond flavored butter cream frosting on grandma’s wedding pottery (pictured here), to boot. Fitting, since the old Joy of Cooking, (1946 edition) this recipe came from was a wedding gift.
This photo shows my grandparents – Mary and Gene – on their wedding day, with both sets of their parents. There is a photo somewhere of my grandmother holding her wedding Joy of Cooking cookbook that I will have to look for. That would be a nice addition to my kitchen decor, an homage to one of the two people who guided me most in the kitchen. My other biggest culinary influence being my mother.
The Joy of Cooking is something I have been reading since I was a little girl. I find the older editions so intriguing, as one can find explanations on how to prepare a wide variety of dishes, including game, unfamiliar German desserts, fallen from fashion puddings and fruit cakes, and lists and lists of coffee cakes.
I settled on creating a gluten-free version of the Sweet Cream cake, just because it used what I already had on hand. I substituted the Cup for Cup flour, for the cake flour. The recipe below is verbatim from my grandmother’s cookbook.
My kitchen helper helped by stirring, combining, and spit shining the butter cream almond flavored frosting bowl. The cake, frosted, right. I left a small section unfrosted for those crazy family members who find frosting too sweet! As much as I enjoy trying new recipes, this will be one of those cake recipes that goes into my repeated rotation. Thank you for continuing to influence my kitchen habits, Grandma. Miss you.
Sweet Cream Cake, from The Joy of Cooking, 1946 edition
Beat until light and lemon colored:
Sift, then beat in gradually:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sift before measuring:
1 2/3 cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons tartrate or phosphate baking powder or 2 teaspoons combination type (see Baking Powder, page 447)
1/4 teaspoon soda (if sour cream is used)
3/4 teaspoon salt
Add these ingredients to the egg mixture in about three parts alternately with thirds of:
1 cup rich sweet or sour cream
Beat after each addition until the batter is smooth. Bake the cake in two greased 8 inch layer pans or in a greased 8 inch tube pan in a moderate oven 350°. Allow about 25 minutes for the layers and about 3/4 hour for the loaf cake.
Almond Butter Cream Frosting – from Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, makes about 2 cups
In a large mixing bowl beat 6 tablespoons of butter until smooth.
Gradually add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in 1/8 cup milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Gradually beat in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat in enough additional milk to reach spreading consistency.