Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cake and Chicken Feet

I was impressed and jealous when I read Gayle's entry about the Oklahoma Sugar Festival.  I'm from Tulsa myself, but I live far away from there now, and won't be able to go.  I have relatives there, though, so perhaps I can send a proxy.  Because if there is anything I love to look at, it's a beautiful cake.

One of my sisters (Martha, the younger one.  Not the oft-mentioned Carol) has a God-given cake-decorating gift.  When she makes a cake, it is absolutely a work of art, so beautifully decorated that you just want to stare at it for an hour.  It seems a shame to eat this, you think.  Not that big of a shame.  They are as delicious as they are lovely.  She could make a nice living creating cakes, but does it strictly out of love.  What does she do for money?  She sells cold rolled steel.

We didn't eat that many desserts at home when I was growing up.  My mother's usual pattern was to make some variety of sheet cake once a week, and then the family would nosh on it for several days.  One of our all time favorites was her fruit cocktail cake.  It's easy to make, scrumptious, and the longer it sits, the better it gets.  I'd love to use this old family recipe in my books, but in the mid-1910s period that I write about, they didn't have canned fruit cocktail.  Happily, I don't have to worry about that on this blog, so here it is:


1 1/2 cups of sugar                         1 15 oz can of fruit cocktail
2 cups flour                                     2 eggs
2 tsp. soda                                       1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla and/or mixed spices such as cinnamon, clove, nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together and pour into large (9 X 13) pan.  Sprinkle top with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup chopped nuts.  Bake for 45 minutes in a moderate oven (350-375 degrees)

Now, when my sibs and I make this, we usually double the topping, because we love it.  And seriously, if you will cover this with foil and let it sit for several days, it becomes dense, gooey, and incredibly delectable.

Addendum :  I got so involved writing about the cake that I forgot what I was going to say about chicken feet. I mentioned in an earlier comment that my great aunt Mary used to give us kids boiled chicken feet to eat, and my brother-in-law pointed out quite rightly that there is nothing much edible about chicken feet.  I should therefore clarify that Aunt Mary boiled entire chicken legs below the joint, feet attached, and gave them to the little kids.  I expect she thought that small children would enjoy the fact that they looked rather gross.  They tasted good, though.


Marian Allen said...

CANNED fruit cocktail was available in California in 1913. :) It was well known long before that, though, usually as "fruit salad" unless it was laced with sugar syrup and alcohol. No reason why she couldn't make fruit cocktail without the alcohol. No reason why she couldn't can her own for later use. No reason why a friend or relative who lived in or visited California couldn't send or bring her some.

See, you knew there must be SOME reason I got to be on this blog! --grin--

Donis Casey said...

Innovations such as canned fruit cocktail took a long time to make their way out to the wilds of OK in 1913. But you are absolutely right about the fruit salad, and what a fabulous idea it would be to adapt the recipe and make it with homemade fruit salad! Thank you, Marian! I'll try it and let you know how it turns out.

zhadi said...

I'm a HUGE believer in doubling the topping on crisps, cobblers and anything like this cake you describe... Yummy!!!!

As for the chicken feet... er... no, not so much. Except the gross factor would have indeed suckered me in when I was a kid!

Gayle said...

Donis, your cake sounds delicious and so easy to make (added kudos in my book)! :-) The chicken feet story reminds me of my grandmother. She used to make me chicken livers all the time. Then I got old enough to realize I was actually eating chicken...livers.... That was the end of that.