Friday, May 21, 2010

Lightening Cake

The past few months have been busy ones for me, so I have not had much time to devote to cooking. My great-aunt, the woman who made it possible for me to see all these recipes, also passed away last month at age 89. At some point I will delve into the many mimeographed recipes she acquired, by my estimation, around the office where she was an executive secretary. For today, though, I chose an easy recipe--the second recipe of the three below--just to get myself blogging again.

Well, I say easy, but my great-grandmother's instructions are not always so simple to decipher. Lightening Cake (yes, it probably should be spelled Lightning Cake, but it's a three-syllable word to some in southern New England) supposedly got its name because it is quick as lighting to make. The cake should take 20-30 minutes in the oven. I, however, chose to bake it as a loaf cake rather than a layer cake, so I let it stay in the oven for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

By my reading of the recipe, it seems as though you first mix together the sugar, flour, and baking soda. Then, you melt your butter and add two beaten eggs to it followed by a cup of milk. Finally, you add the liquid ingredients to the dry and put the resulting batter into a cake pan or two.

I like how my great-grandmother made it explicit that the baker should "fill cup with milk" as though that were not inherently obvious. I hope she meant this phrase to mean add one cup of milk. But who knows.

I treated myself to a slice not long after I took the cake out of the oven. Experiencing the simple taste of good butter and sugar blended together sent my mind back to all the bad grocery-store-bought and package-mix cakes I suffered as a child. Lightening Cake is by far the best everyday cake that I have even eaten. Had we only kept this recipe alive I might have saved my taste buds so much indignity.

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