Frontier Former Editor

June 22, 2008

Let them eat cake.

Filed under: food, old times — Tags: , , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:28 am

No, I really mean it. Let them eat two of the best damn cakes ever conceived in the South.

Max and Stiletto managed to fire me back 37 years in the old wayback machine with a brief exchange on red velvet cake.

Yeah, I like French and Viennese pastries, strudel, baklava, donuts, hot cross buns and all sorts of baked goods from around the world. But there are two delicacies that stand toe-to-toe with anything any country can produce to throw off your blood sugar levels.

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Red velvet cake is best enjoyed in your mom’s or grandma’s or aunt’s kitchen with a glass of cold milk. It beats even a good old-fashioned Nilla Wafer banana pudding. As my grad school roomie once said in a comparative discourse on pizza and mutual oral gratification, even when it’s bad, hey, it’s pretty good. And when it’s good, red velvet cake will take our mind off just about anything else.

And for reference, I’m pretty sure my great aunt’s recipe for red velvet cake included lots of Crisco, red food coloring and Hershey’s cocoa.


And there’s molasses stack cake . . .

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My grandmother would make me a stack cake if I even mentioned the words ‘stack cake’ in passing. She’d tell me to go find a good pint jar of homemade molasses, which around here only took a day or so after mentioning to a friend or acquaintance that ‘hey, I’m looking for some molasses.’

When you look up stack cake, you’re going to get thirty different stories and names and variants of how “this is the true stack cake.’  They’re all true, but my grandmother’s recipe was simple, cheap and took damn near all day to make because of the number of layers (six to eight in her recipe) to bake, and me having to wash the bowl of all that molasses.

Now, you’ll see all sorts of recipies declare that you have to have homemade apple butter or cooked dried apples to make the filling. My grandmother used White House applesauce from the jar, and her stack cake tatsed as good if not better than ‘authentic Appalachian’ stack cake I’ve had at Appalachian ‘cultural fairs.’ She made it the same way everyone else makes it around here – with what you have on hand. I could go on about the Zen of making stack cake, but she made it and it was good every time.

I’m hungry, in more ways than you know.


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