Let’s make a cake from “scratch”

As it sometimes is, this past week has been a tad busy for me. Last week Monday, I went into San Antonio with my sister to take her husband to the doctor to have some recent surgery checked. Long story short, they decided to admit him to the hospital, as they weren’t satisfied with how he was healing. He has lots of circulation problems, and the surgery had been to replace a vein. He was sent from the doctor’s office to Christus Santa Rosa, Westover Hills that is totally across town from the Medical Center where the doctor’s office is located. She and I managed to get home Tuesday morning around 1:00 and she had to be back up at the hospital by 8:00 or 8:30, so you can imagine she didn’t get much sleep as it is a three hour drive from here to Westover Hills where the hospital is located. It was really convenient when he was in the hospital here, as I could just stop in whenever I went to town! So, if you can find it in your heart, please pray for both he and my sister, as she is there with him 24/7.
Tuesday morning several of us worked at our Auxiliary workshop pricing items and getting things ready for the November craft show, and in the afternoon, I worked in the gift shop. Wednesday my morning was spent here at home, doing some personal sewing, and the afternoon in the gift shop.
Thursday morning, I took my great-niece to school, and since it was foggy, used my headlights. I had stuff to do here in the house so never went back out to the car, and yep, you’re right, I forgot to turn them off when I got home and about 7:30 pm when I went out to go feed my sisters cats, I had no power left in my battery. Thanks to my wonderful neighbor, he and his son soon had me set to rights.
Friday morning dawned bright and clear and just before lunch, my friend and her daughter took me to San Antonio so that I could visit with my sister and brother-in-law. By this time, he had been moved across town, (to the Medical Center), to a hospital that has surgeons on staff 24/7 in case emergency surgery is needed, so that is where we headed. He is in ICU there, and I don’t know for sure if he is considered in critical condition, but it seems to me that he is. It was late when we got in Friday night and I’ve been pretty worthless today (Saturday), but have gotten some things done between phone calls and a trip to Cuero to Wal-Mart and the grocery store. Since it was past lunchtime by the time I got back to Yoakum, I decided to eat lunch at a local restaurant, so went into town for that. A friend of mine and some other ladies were leaving shortly before I finished up, and she came back in and we sat and visited for the next hour and a half! We hadn’t gotten to visit lately, so this was a good time to catch up. Her niece is a police officer in St. Louis and is involved in the stuff going on there and could also use some prayers for her safety.
And, this week, while all of this was going on, I had the fence men out rebuilding the fence that the cow got over last week! It now will hold anything that could run up against it as they did a fantastic job replacing it, and also three posts in the other fence that woodpeckers had done a job on and two strands of barbed wire along the bottom of my cyclone fence the cows were pushing in to get to what little grass is there.
On our way into San Antonio, we stopped at the big Buckees near Luling and as I walked into the restroom area, imagine my surprise to hear someone say; “Joyce Word, how are you doing”? It was Krista Ehlinger and one of her daughters! Such a surprise, and it was so very nice to see you, Krista!
Just recently, I’ve come across several interesting items that are help in the kitchen. One of the things that caught my eyes this week was an article about greasing and flouring cake pans. Several years ago, a test kitchen at the Chicago Tribune conducted a trial in search of the best way to prepare a cake pan for baking.
They baked single layers from identical cake mixes in different ways. It was stated that, “There was no detectable flavor or rise difference between greasing a pan with butter or shortening; in fact, no pan preparation affected flavor.”
Layers that were baked in pans with the bottom and sides greased, and then the bottom was lined with a circle of parchment or waxed paper rose best. Pans that were greased and floured, but not lined, did not rise as much. At some stores, probably some place like Lucy’s in San Antonio, it may be possible to get pre-cut parchment liners for cake pans, I have never looked for them so don’t have a clue. My mother taught me to tear off a sheet of waxed paper, place it on the counter and using the point of a pair of scissors trace around the cake pan, cut out the circle as marked and then use it in the bottom of the pan. This has always worked well for me and if I need a paper liner, this is what I do. Also, directions sometimes call for greasing the pan and then greasing the paper, this works extremely well.
My daughter and I have frequently sprayed the pan with non-stick spray and then coated the pan with sugar instead of flour, it works well; also, if you’re making chocolate cake, dust the pan with baking cocoa after spraying, this leaves no ‘whitish’ coating on the cake. (Now we all mostly use 9×13 pans and never take the whole cake out of the pan, so this is a moot point!)
Also, you can mix two packages of cake mix at the same time in a large bowl, and you do not increase the beating time; this was really interesting to me as there have been numerous times over the years that I used two boxes of mix, but was unsure of how it would work with the beating time! Learn something new every day…still another point, in extremely warm weather, it is good to use cold water and cold eggs in the mix. I usually do this anyway, as when I decided to bake a cake; it is usually at the last minute.
Here are a several recipes for you to try; oddly enough, none use a cake mix.
Wacky Cake
1½ cups flour (all purpose)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (Hershey’s® cocoa)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon vinegar
5 tablespoons cold water (not ice water)
Mix together the dry ingredients and sift into a baking pan. Make three holes in a triangle shape and in the first put 1 teaspoon vanilla. In the second 1 put 1 tablespoon vinegar. In the third one, put 5 tablespoons cooking oil. Pour the cup of water over everything and use a spoon to mix well. Bake at 350ºF about 30 to 35 minutes. Enjoy hot or cold, frost if desired or serve with whipped topping.
Hummingbird Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped bananas
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1½ cups cooking oil
3 eggs
1 can (8-oz) crushed pineapple, undrained
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan or Bundt pan and set aside. In mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, soda, salt and cinnamon; then add remaining ingredients and stir by hand until well mixed. Bake one hour and ten minutes. This is a very moist cake and will make 12 to 15 servings.
The following cake is an oldie but goodie! Everyone always enjoys it when I make it.
Fruit Cocktail Cake
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 can fruit cocktail, undrained
2 eggs (lightly beaten in a cup before using)
Stir the above ingredients together by hand until mixed well.
Sift together and stir into first mixture:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Stir until dry ingredients are incorporated with the liquid ones.
Pour into 9x 13 pan; then, mix together and pour on top of mixture in pan
½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup shredded coconut.
Bake for about 40 minutes or until cake tests done with toothpick inserted near center of cake.
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup evaporated milk (i.e. Pet, Carnation or desired brand)
½ cup butter or margarine
Place in saucepan and cook about 2 minutes or until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved; then add:
¾ cup coconut
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup chopped pecans
Pour over top of hot cake