Saturday, February 6, 2010

Aunt Mae's Hot Milk Cake

Here in normally temperate Virginia we have been "enjoying" an especially snowy winter which culminated (please, God) this weekend in another 10" on top of the 10" we already had from last weekend. Almost immediately, everybody on Facebook began to talk about what they were cooking or baking. Does Snowmageddon cause the survival instinct to kick in? Do we not feel safe unless we are surrounded by the smells of stews, cinnamon rolls, cakes, and sausage?

I know I don't.

With the cabin making me hot, I decided to go through my mom's old recipe boxes to see if I could find any gems. There are two boxes - the one I treasure most is in my mom's handwriting with funny little notes on each recipe. The second box looks as though it were the work product of an archeological dig. The recipes in this box are typed.

When I was a kid, mom managed to score an ancient typewriter and having nothing else to type, decided to type up recipes. These recipes are suspect because mom was a truly lousy typist. And guess what kids? On a typewriter, if you make a mistake - you're STUCK with it. No backspace or delete. So one must assume that "subac" probably means "sugar" in a cake recipe typed by my mom.

My most intriguing finding was "Aunt Mae's Milk Cake". First of all, being demented, I immediately had a mental picture of actually milking Aunt Mae. Second of all, I have no independent recollection of Aunt Mae. My sister assures me we did indeed have an Aunt Mae and in fact, Aunt Mae had a son who was a sadistic dentist. What a proud family tree. Then, amazingly, I scouted around and found a picture of Aunt Mae:

(Insert Your Own Milk Joke Here)

"Aunt Mae's Hot Milk Cake" contained an interesting technique I'm going to tell you about in a minute. **SPOILER ALERT** It has something to do with the hot milk!



2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 stick (4 oz.) butter

Put the butter and the milk in the microwave to melt the butter. Or you could do this in a saucepan. While that's heating up:

Cream the sugar and eggs until creamy. Add the vanilla, baking powder and flour. Beat at low speed until incorporated. Slowly add the hot milk and butter mixture and mix thoroughly.

The instructions here say, "Pour into a mold" which I assume means a bundt pan. I used two 9-inch cake pans. Here it says to bake at 350 degrees for 1 hr. And this next part is either really important or mom got stuck on caps lock: DO NOT OPEN OVEN UNTIL BAKING FINISHED.

In the 9-inch pans, this cake was done to perfection at 30 minutes. If you make it in a bundt (I cannot say that word without thinking of Lainie Kazan in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding") it will take from 45 min. to an hour and you're welcome to check at 45 minutes. I mean, if you open the oven door, God won't kill a kitten or anything.

Folks, this is an amazing cake. Old-fashioned, simple, gorgeous soft crumb, beautiful color. I sprinkled powdered sugar on the top and called it a day. It is a perfect cake. No - wait. I'm going to make it perfecter.

I torted the second cake (cut it in half) and slathered some raspberry jam between the layers. More powdered sugar and now - (angelic choir sings here) - Heavenly!!!!!

It's the kind of cake you'd expect Ma Ingalls to come up with for Half-pint's country birthday party.

The technique? You've probably already guessed that it's the addition of the hot milk. Normally, you would cream the butter and s
ugar, add the eggs, combine the flour and leaveners in a separate bowl (and we know how I hate the phrase "in a separate bowl") and do what I call WDWDWDW which is sloppy type for alternate the wet and dry ingredients.

The hot milk creates a much lighter crumb and a lovely dome. In fact, it's a fabulous method to use for cupcakes if you want your cuppies to dome.

Try this cake! Right now! I know you have the ingredients!

And now - I'm getting hungry since it's been...let's see...28 WHOLE MINUTES since I last ate.

Hmmm...I wonder if Uncle Earl has anything to offer?



Laura Howard said...

As soon as I buy FRESH baking soda ( or powder) whichever you said, I'll try it for sure!s

Karen said...

Linda, this is my first time to read your blog. My husband thought I was going beserk upstairs laughing myself silly. Like I have said elsewhere, laughter and cooking are what make life truly happy. I cannot wait to read your future blogs!!

LAREN said...


onlinepastrychef said...

Heee! Subac is my favorite:)

Was the sadistic dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, by chance? Fame upon fame!

My mother giggled herself silly(er) talking about the Bundt/boondt schtick from MBFGW just a couple of days ago. You guys would get along famously:)

Music Mom said...

It's been Blog Drought! Thanks for getting back to it - I need the laughs, and LOVE the recipe!