A warming Happy Day Cake for holidays, and a prize-winning bread with dill


Happy times are here, and this Happy Day Cake will add to the pleasure. Blanche G. Wahl of Baltimore had asked for this yellow layer cake recipe, which she wrote "appeared on probably a box of Swans Down cake flour about 25 or 30 years ago."

Also, when Kathryn Corbet wrote from Mexico that she lost her recipefor a yeast bread made in a casserole, using cottage cheese and dill, she possibly didn't know she had requested a real winner. In 1960, the $25,000 Pillsbury Bake-Off's classic grand prize recipe, Dilly Casserole Bread, was won by Leona P. Schnuelle of Beatrice, Neb.

Answers poured in for Ms. Corbet, including one from Linda Davis-O'Brien of St. Michaels that she says is included in her cookbook titled "As Good As Gold, Grand Prize Recipes from America's Cooking Contests."

Also, Betty Smith of Fallston responded with the same recipe and a letter in which she wrote that "before I had even read the paper, my daughter Sharon had called to tell me about the request for the bread which I often make.

"I started making Dilly Casserole Bread around 1960 when we lived in California. It was the winner of the 12th Pillsbury Bake-Off, and this recipe was everywhere. After seeing it so often I stated that if I saw it one more time I'd make it. You guessed the rest. It became a favorite."

Dilly casserole bread

Makes one 20-ounce loaf

2 to 2 1/2 cups Pillsbury's Best All Purpose or Unbleached Flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 to 3 teaspoons dried minced onion

2 teaspoons dill seed

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

1 cup creamed cottage cheese

1 egg

2 teaspoons margarine or butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon course salt, if desired.

Grease a 1 1/2 - to 2-quart casserole. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup and level off. In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, onion, dill seed, 1 teaspoon salt, baking soda and yeast; blend well.

In small saucepan, heat water, 1 tablespoon margarine and cottage cheese until very warm (120-130 degrees). Add warm liquid and egg to the flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in remaining 1 to 1 2/3 cups flour to form a stiff batter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80-85 degrees) until light and doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes. Stir down dough. Place in prepared casserole. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove from casserole; place on wire rack. Brush warm loaf with melted margarine and, if desired, sprinkle with coarse salt. Cool completely.

Mrs. Smith notes that she occasionally varies the recipe by substituting some whole wheat flour for some of the white flour.

A Happy Day Cake recipe from Eleanor Erbes of Crystal Lake, Ill., was Chef Gilles Syglowski's choice. Mrs. Erbes wrote, "Yes, the recipe was from a Swans Down cake flour box and it makes a delicious cake. I baked it in 1946 for my boyfriend who became my husband the following year."

Erbes's Happy Day Cake

2 1/4 cups Swans Down Cake Flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs, unbeaten.

Measure flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into sifter. Stir shortening just to soften. Sift in the dry ingredients. Add 3/4 cup milk and vanilla. Mix until flour is dampened. Beat 2 minutes at low speed (or about 300 vigorous strokes by hand). Add eggs and remaining milk. Beat one minute at low speed (or 150 strokes by hand). Line bottoms of 2 (8-inch) round pans with waxed paper. Grease. Spoon in cake mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.


Chef Syglowski, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International Culinary College, selected and tested these recipes.


Recipe requests

* Martha Banks of Baltimore wants a pumpkin seed recipe. She wrote, "Several years ago I came across a recipe for preparing pumpkin seeds. The important part was a lazy way to remove the pulp and it gave specific times for soaking and toasting or baking. I lost the recipe."

* Cathy Poplin of Catonsville wrote that she had just heard of an apple butter pie and would like to have the recipe.

* Charles E. Hopwood III of Baltimore writes about a dish called Ukrainian Borsht that was served at the Moscow Nights restaurant before it closed. "It was a wonderful garnet-colored thin beet soup that was spiced and served with sour cream in the center. I ordered it every time I went there and I detest beets. Do you think you could track down the recipe. I, my friends and our tastebuds would be ever so grateful."

* Nora Wright of Laverock, Pa., wants a recipe which she read in a travel or a gourmet magazine for a biscuit. "The recipe was unusual in that it included whipped cream and unsalted butter," she wrote.

dTC If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a long-gone recipe, maybe we can help. Please print each response or request clearly on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and phone number. Send to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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