Maraschino Date-Nut Cake

Maraschino Date-Nut Cake

A Recipe from Cakes & Tortes (1957)

About the Recipe

Yesterday was my little brother’s birthday, and I asked him what kind of cake he wanted. I passed him a few of my baking books and let him figure out which sounded the most interesting to give a test run. This was the cake that he picked out. He was excited about the dates, nuts, and cherries, and it was his birthday so I said “okay!” When all is said and done, I have to say that he definitely chose wisely!

All in all, this cake is wonderfully moist, yet crumbly, with just enough chocolate and spice to give it depth – a real winner! The method is a little bit more on the complicated side, but that’s to be expected with some of these Culinary Institute recipes. Note that it cooks low and slow. I actually needed to tack on another 15 minutes or so to the bake time before my tester came out clean from the center. But honestly, it was well worth the wait.

An additional note from my brother: “It goes really well with jam!”

About the Book

This is another booklet from the Culinary Arts Institute, which I’ve said before and I’ll say again are lovely little books. As with most of the others, it’s arranged into sections, this time by type of cake – butter, chiffon, angel, etc. What I didn’t realize when I bought it is that it’s really a nice basic resource on the science of cakes and tortes. Not only does it come with the 193 recipes noted on the cover, but also pages and pages of tips and tricks on how to improve your cake baking. I almost missed acquiring it from a fellow cookbook enthusiast, but last minute she found another copy and it feels like it just came home.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups sifted flour
2 t baking powder
1 t allspice
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 cups (about 12 oz.) maraschino cherries
2 cups pecans, chopped
1 cup date pieces
2 oz. chocolate
3/4 cup butter or margarine (softened)
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks, well beaten
1 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes
1/2 cup milk
4 egg whites

Directions:

Prepare a 13x9x2″ pan – Grease the bottom of the pan only; line with waxed paper cut to fit bottom; grease the waxed paper.

Soft together 2 cups of the flour, baking powder, allspice, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Drain, slice and set aside on absorbent paper the maraschino cherries. A few pats with the paper will absorb excess moisture.

Coarsely chop pecans. Cut dates into small pieces. Put fruits and nuts into a large bowl with remaining 1/4 cup flour. Mix well and set aside. Grate chocolate and set aside.

Cream together butter/margarine and vanilla extract until softened. Add sugar gradually, creaming until fluffy after each addition. Add the egg yolks in thirds, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the chocolate and mashed potatoes and beat until well blended.

Measure out the milk. Beating only until blended after each addition, alternately add dry ingredients in fourths, milk in thirds, to creamed mixture. Finally, beat only until smooth (do not overbeat). Pour batter over fruit nut mixture and mix thoroughly.

Beat egg whites until rounded peaks are formed. Spread beaten egg whites over batter and fold together. Turn batter into pan and spread evenly to edges.

Bake at 275*F 1 hr. 30 min., or until cake tests done with cake tester. Cool and remove from pan as directed for butter-type cakes.

Seven Minute Frosting

Seven Minute Frosting

A Recipe from Good Housekeeping’s Christmas Cook Book (1958)

About the Recipe

This marshmallow fluff frosting is so light and delicious. I don’t do corn syrup in my house, so I substituted real maple syrup instead, and it gave it just a hint of warmth that really balanced out the rest of the sweetness. It was the perfect frosting for this Confetti Christmas Cake. Don’t let the double boiler scare you – dive in and you’ll be rewarded with a delightful addition to your next cake.

About the Cookbook

This book came in a set of Good Housekeeping booklets that I bought for myself as a housewarming present. As with the other books, it’s a great set of recipes. The mid-century modern graphics and accents are so much fun. There are some truly creative recipes in this book, and I can see putting it to good use each year during the holiday season.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 T white corn syrup
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla extract

Directions:

In double-boiler top, combine egg whites, sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. With electric mixer at high speed, beat over rapidly boiling water until mixture holds peaks – about 7 or 8 min. Turn into bowl; add vanilla; beat until mixture forms stiff peaks.

Confetti Christmas Cake

Confetti Christmas Cake

A Recipe from Good Housekeeping’s Christmas Cook Book (1958)

About the Recipe

I had a mighty need to bake yesterday, and when my favorite vintage cookbooks Facebook group declared this week’s challenge to be Christmas Cakes, this seemed like the perfect recipe to turn to. As cakes go, this one is quick and easy to execute.

The most challenging part is stirring in the nonpareils. No really! If you’ve never done it before, as quickly and with as few spoon strokes as you can fold them in. If you can get it done without streaking, the results are magical!

The result is a fluffy, sweet confetti cake that would be the perfect addition to any dinner party, not just for Christmas. And when all was said and done, this one was for sure husband approved, and just what the chef ordered for a slushy Sunday afternoon.

About the Cookbook

This book came in a set of Good Housekeeping booklets that I bought for myself as a housewarming present. As with the other books, it’s a great set of recipes. The mid-century modern graphics and accents are so much fun. There are some truly creative recipes in this book, and I can see putting it to good use each year during the holiday season.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 cups sifted cake flour
3 t double-acting baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup soft shortening
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, unbeaten
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup multi-colored nonpareils
Flaked coconut
green and red maraschino cherries, halved and drained

Directions:

Start heating oven to 350*F. Grease, then flour, bottoms of 2 1 1/4′-deep 8″ layer pans.

Into large mixer bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar. Drop in shortening; pour in milk. With electric mixer at low to medium speed, beat 2 min, scraping bowl and beaters as needed. Drop in eggs; pour in vanilla; beat 2 min.

Sprinkle batter with nonpareils; then, with spoon, gently fold them in. Quickly turn batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30-40 min., or until done. Cool in pans on wire racks 10-15 min. Remove from pans; finish cooling on racks. Fill and frost with Seven Minute frosting. Sprinkle with flaked coconut; press maraschino cherry halves into sides and top of cake.

Peach Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Peach Sour Cream Coffee Cake

A Recipe from Grandma Jones’ recipe box

About the Recipe

I visited my grandma recently, along with my husband and my dad. She let me go through her recipe box, and when she pulled this recipe out she said, “This one is very old… and very good.” So good in fact, that she had it written down on 3 different scraps of paper stuffed in the box!

I had no choice but to make it for dessert that night. As I banged around my grandma’s kitchen, I could see her struggling with letting me do it alone. Eventually she just sat and watched, but every now and again a little tip or trick would pop out of her mouth.

When my dad saw it coming out of the oven, he said – “OH! Is that the peach cake? It’s very old, and very good.” And so it is.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick margarine or butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cinnamon & sugar
1 large can of peaches, drained

Directions:

Mix the sour cream and the baking soda. Set aside and let bubble.

Cream together butter and sugar. Add 2 eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.

Sift together flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture & sour cream mixture alternatively.

Butter square cake pan (9×9). Put half of batter in pan, sprinkle 2/3 cinnamon mixture on top, then add rest of batter, peaches on top of that and rest of cinnamon & sugar. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350*

Maple Syrup Layer Cake

Maple Syrup Layer Cake

A Recipe from 100 Prize Winning Recipes from Pillsbury’s 5th Grand National Recipe & Baking Contest (1954)

About the Recipe

This cake is like a fluffy, maple cloud of crumbly goodness. I was a little bit skeptical about it, as on paper it sounds like it will be very sweet. I used real maple syrup and the balance was *just right*. The frosting is like a maple marshmallow, and the walnuts are just the right crunch to balance it out. This is the perfect cake for someone who likes something a little bit different.

Oh and pro tip – when it started getting a little bit stale, I crumbled over vanilla ice cream for a treat – YUM!

For more recipes in the Pillsbury Challenge, click here!

About the book

Another one of the originals of my Pillsbury collection, I absolutely love this book. It’s published in 1954 and it feels like folks were starting to experiment a little bit more. Your standard biscuits and pies just don’t cut it for this contest, and the group of cooks gets a bit creative. Definitely one to grab if you find it.

About the glassware

I feel like a fraud again! I only have one cake stand, and this is it. I did select it for the lovely dome which keeps things fresh and delicious.

The Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 t double-acting baking powder
3/4 t soda
1/4 t ginger
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup maple-flavored syrup
1/2 cup hot water
2 T walnuts, chopped

Fluffy Maple Frosting:
2 egg whites
1/2 cup maple-flavored syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 t Cream of Tartar
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla

Directions:

Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, ginger, and salt. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Blend in maple syrup gradually.

Add hot water alternately with the dry ingredients to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Blend thoroughly after each addition. With electric mixer use low speed.

Turn into two well-greased and lightly floured 8-inch round layer pans, at least 1 1/4 inches deep. Bake in moderate oven (350*F) for 30-35 minutes. Cool and frost. Garnish with walnuts.

Fluffy Maple Frosting:
Combine egg whites, syrup, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt in top of double boiler. Cook over boiling water, beating constantly with rotary beater or electric mixer until mixture stands in peaks. Remove from heat. Add vanilla; continue beating until thick enough to spread.