Marianne Thomas of Bend, Ore., writes that she remembers the Depression years and a spicy cake that was "our favorite." It was a nameless cake that had "chocolate (maybe cocoa) and nuts. The frosting was fluffy and contained coffee as well as chocolate. Can you find such a recipe?"
Kathy Dallam of Bel Air sent the response chosen by tester Laura Reiley. Dallam wrote:
"My mother-in-law, Louise Ackerman, always made this cake for my husband's birthday when he was growing up. Here's her recipe, unchanged. I'm not sure where she got it."
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
Mix together vinegar and milk and set aside. Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and extracts. Sift dry ingredients together. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the creamed ingredients. Blend batter well. Put batter into two greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1-3 teaspoons cocoa, to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons strong, hot coffee
Cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa and coffee. Ice cake when cool.
Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "The cakes were done in just under 25 minutes in my oven. Despite all the cocoa powder in the cake batter, the cake is just faintly chocolatey; the cinnamon and nutmeg actually are more prominent flavors. I added the full amount of cocoa to the icing and even a little finely ground coffee just to get a little extra 'oomph.' The result is a subtly chocolatey spice cake with a rich, buttery, old-fashioned icing."
* Vernita Riebel of Algonquin, Ill., writes that she is looking for a "Dutch apple pancake that is baked. They sell it in many restaurants in the Chicago area. The apples are baked inside; it is about 2 inches high."
* Cathy Donoughe of Hannastown, Pa., is seeking a recipe for a "sugar pie my aunt used to make when I was a child. Do you think someone might be able to help me find the recipe?"
* Katherine Harrington of Albuquerque, N.M., writes that some 21 years ago she lost a recipe in her move from Florida to New Mexico. "It originated on a bag of unbleached flour (brand unknown) and was called Cheesy Dapper Apple Squares. Five people here would love to have that recipe. It included a graham cracker crust, layers of apples, nuts and cheese. Thanks for any help you can give."
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The jTC Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Letters may be edited for clarity.
Pub Date: 12/16/98