Grandma's Cakes

Grandma's Cakes
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I was thinking today about the way my grandmother baked cakes. Oh, how we looked forward to them. But as I looked at her recipes I saw something that surprised me and yet made me smile. She baked simple cakes. I have a feeling that came out of the depression and also because my grandmother liked to use what she had. I do remember her saying that all one needed for good cakes were some flavorings, fruits and nuts and you could have a cake fit for a king.
Than I saw she had many more fillings and frostings on her recipe pages. She has what she calls an everyday cake:

Everyday Cake

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups flour sifted with 2 teaspoons baking powder

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla(or lemon)

Cream shortening, add sugar gradually,continue to cream. Seperate the eggs. Beat eggs until thick and lemon colored. Add to creamed shortening and sugar; than add the flour and liquid alternately; fold in the well beaten whites of eggs and flavoring. Bake in 3 well greases layer-cake pans in a moderate oven.

Walnut Loaf cake....

follow the above adding 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts before folding in the egg whites. Bake in greased loaf pan about 45 minutes.

Golden cake follow the everyday recipe, adding 4 egg yolks and 1 whole egg. Mix as directed adding the well beaten egg yolks and egg to creamed shortening and sugar. Bake in loaf or layers.

Now to the icings and fillings:


2 squares unsweetened chocolate or 1/2 cup ground chocolate

1 teaspoon butter

1 1/2 cups powered sugar

1/3 cup hot water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate and butter over hot water. When melted add sugar, than hot water gradually,heating until smooth, than add flavoring. Let stand until thick enough to spread between the layers. if used for icing only, can be used at one time.

**You can use cinnamon for flavoring or use hot coffee instead of hot water. Also chopped walnuts or raisins may be added. Do not put between layers while they are hot or the filling will melt.

Caramel Icing and Filling

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

4 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Put sugar in saucepan,add milk and stir until dissolved. Place over the heat until mixture begins to boil...cook 3 minutes. Take from heat and add butter, yurn into a cold bowl and beat until creamy and than add vanilla. This may be used as icing or filling.....1/3 cup chopped nuts can be added.

Boiled icing

1 1/2 cup sugar

whites of 2 eggs

1/2 cup hot water

Add hot water to sugar(be careful not to stir so there will be sugar on sides of saucepan) cover and bring to boil,than remover cover and cook syrup until it will form a soft ball when rolled between the fingers in a cup of cold water, Pour on well beaten whites of eggs and beat until stiff. than flavor as wished.

Marshmallow Filling:

Make boiled icing. When syrup has been added to the whites, add 8 marshmallows and beat until they are melted. Flavor with 1/2 each of vanilla and orange extract.

Macaroon Filling:

(She has this marked as a favorite of Elmers, my grandfather) Make boiled icing. Add the following mixture: Roll 4 macaroons until fine, add 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts, 4 or 5 candied cherries and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

French Cream Filling

(Her favorite)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 egg or 2 yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon butter

Pour milk into double boiler to scald. Mix sugar and flour well, pour hot milk over flour and sugar and put back in double boiler. Stir constantly until somewhat thick; add beaten egg and continue to cook until thick. Cool and add the vanilla. This amount of cream filling will fill 8 cream puffs or a 3 layered cake.

Coconut Cream Filling:

prepare French cream and add 3 tablespoons of coconut to milk when scalding. Use lemon and orange filling(1 teaspoon each)

Walnut cream Filling:

Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped walnuts to milk when scalding. Use 1 teaspoon each of lemon and vanilla filling.

Chocolate French Cream:

Prepare French cream adding 2 tablespoons of ground chocolate to the sugar and flour. or melt 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate over hot water and add after it is cooked.

Mocha Cream Filling:

3/4 cup strong coffee

1/4 cup fresh cream

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 egg or 2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon butter

Prepare as French cream. You may want to add 1/2 cup whipped cream when cold.

And lastly my favorite of her fillings!

Strawberry Filling

1 cup fresh strawberries

1 cup sugar

1 egg white, unbeaten

measure strawberries after washing and removing hulls. Add sugar and egg. beat together with a whip egg beater until as thick as whipped cream. This will take about 15 minutes...This is to be used as filling for everyday cake, sponge cake or cream puffs....use any other fruits in this manner... I loved this on her homemade shortcake.

Click here for Donna's Tea Time recipes!


About The Author

Donna had the privilege of growing up in a Mennonite family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is married and lives in Georgia. Donna has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. She also writes a Column called Cooking with Don, which you can sign up for here and another list called Sites for Learning

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