Monday, February 15, 2010

Is Once Enough?

It is difficult to figure out what triggers an idea.

It could be that my sister and niece labored over mom's recipes, typed them and put them into a lovely books and gave them to each of the clan women for Christmas.

It could be that my mom's birthday is in February. She would have been 93 years old today.

Or it could have come from God--but I don't think that I should attribute this one to Him.

At any rate, on Saturday, I remembered $500 Dollar Cake and went searching among my tattered recipes which were well used before 1988 and then all but discarded and to my surprise, I found the desired recipe.

$500 Cake
aka Waldorf-Astoria Cake

½ cup shortening
1 ½ c white sugar
2 eggs
2 ozs. red food coloring
1 tblsp. vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 c. buttermilk
2 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
2 level tblsp. cocoa
1 tsp soda

Cream shortening and sugar. Add whole eggs. Add food coloring. Sift together flour, salt, and cocoa and add alternately with buttermilk beating after each addition on medium speed. Add vanilla. Mix and stir in at last without beating the vinegar and soda. Bake in three eight inch round cake pans at 350° for one half hour or till done.

1 cup milk
¼ cup flour
Cook until thick and cool.
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or oleo (2 sticks)
Beat till fluffy with high speed on mixer.
Add first mixture and flavoring (I am assuming a bit of vanilla)
Continue beating until light and fluffy.

This recipe is from my mother, Bernice, but I am quite sure that she received it either from Aunt Doris, Aunt Vera, Aunt Arvada, Aunt Violet or Aunt Fanny. Then again maybe she got it from the Farmland News. We are not so good about documenting the origin of all of our recipes.

I do remember the story. In the 1950’s, a lady dining at the Waldorf Astoria, a famous luxury hotel in New York, asked for the recipe of a delicious red velvet cake. She got the recipe along with a bill for $500. The lady was appalled but could not get out of paying for the unbeknownst to her, very secret recipe. So she did what any they-got-me-so-I'll-get-them woman might do. She shared the recipe with as many people as she possibly could—publishing it in newspapers and ladies magazines.

Such a good story sends you right out to the kitchen to bake the cake. My mother made it . . . on several Valentine's Days and on request for a few birthdays, that would be my birthdays. But never once did I request it in the shape of an armadillo or any animal that would look like it was bleeding when it was cut. Although I did love the surprised voices when the cake was cut. "Oh my, that cake is really red!"

And so I made it. Yes, I did. I ground the wheat and made it into flour. Okay, not quite, but I used raw ingredients like flour and shortening and eggs.

Do any of you have wonderful old cake pans like these? They have handles that go around the pan and loosen the cake from the bottom for layer cakes—quite a clever invention, if you are not comparing it to the computer and cell phones, don't you think?

The hearts are all my own idea. I was in JoAnne Fabrics one day--no not because I sew but because Jessica needed an Abe Lincoln hat for her book report.

While there Morgan noticed these cute little Junior Mints shaped like hearts and so I got a few boxes and happened to be able to hold on to one box until Saturday.

And all of my guests bravely tasted the cake.

I was so busy serving that I did not get to photograph a piece of cake looking so pretty on a plate as I served up dessert.

Below is all that was left over. My husband tactfully said that I did not need to keep it as we do not need the calories.

I was just wondering . . . how many times do you have to do something before you can add it to your resume?


Bernie said...

Brenda, this looks so good and how appropriate for Valentines Day.
Thank you for sharing....:-) Hugs

Wanda said...

Once is enough, when it comes out picture perfect like it did, Brenda! You should attach your table setting photo to the recipe for posterity!

Donna's Book Nook said...

I can't believe you found the recipe--and then made it! it seems like when I did try it way back when, it didn't turn out nearly as beautiful as yours.

I'm very impressed! Too bad I didn't live closer--I would abandon my diet for a day and have one of those last pieces!

Rebecca said...

Your resume MUST be quite full without this superb-looking cake! But if there is any room left, I think you could justifiably add W.A. cake-baking to it.

I actually am going to copy the recipe. It is Gary's favorite cake and he seldom gets it from me. (There IS a box red velvet cake mix now, but I've never tried it.)

Great idea to add the mint hearts, too!