Oct 22, 2008

My Grandmother's Recipes

When I was little, I used to go to my grandmother's house for at least two weeks every summer. Gramma always asked me what I wanted her to cook for me. I had three things that were my favorites -- her Cranberry Bread, her "Mystery Cake" and her braised short ribs cooked in a pressure cooker. Every grandchild thinks their grandmother is the World's Best Cook. I was no exception. Today while cleaning out a cookbook cupboard, I found Gramma's handwritten cookbook. Two of the three recipes I loved are there, in her beautiful, formal handwriting, but minimal instructions. Unfortunately, the Braised Short Ribs isn't there. But here are Gramma's recipes for Cranberry Bread and "Mystery Cake". Cranberry Bread 1/4 cup shortening 2 cups flour - (she has a handwritten note that you can use 1/4 cup wheat germ and 1 3/4 cup flour - who knew Gramma was trying to cook more healthy?!) 1 cup sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 3/4 cup orange juice 1 tsp grated orange peel 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1 cup cranberries (chopped) Sift dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Combine peel, OJ and egg. Add to dry ingredients, mix. Add cranberries and nuts. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes, 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan. Mystery Cake - Called this because if you told people what it really was - Tomato Soup Cake - they wouldn't eat it! Gramma made it, served it and THEN told people what was in it. Don't turn your nose up on this one - it is a truly flavorful, moist, dense cake! I actually prefer it without any kind of frosting, and treat it more like a Pumpkin Bread than a cake. Most people make Cream Cheese frosting to go with it. Some recipes call for chopped nuts, but we always preferred it without. 1 cup sugar 2 tbsp butter 1 can tomato soup 1 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 cups flour 1 cup raisins 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg 1 tsp cloves Bake in (well-greased) loaf pan. 350 degrees. 40-50 minutes.

5 comments:

tipper said...

Neat recipes! You're right seems grandmas are the best cooks-maybe it's all the practice they've had!

Lisa said...

Joan, the tomato soup cake sounds great. Do you find that it is sweet, or is the sugar needed to offset the tomato? I recently made pumpkin bread that asked for 1 cup of sugar, and it was way too sweet for me. Will have to try the recipe one of these fall weekends.

Joan said...

Lisa - The cake tastes very much like a dense spice cake. I wouldn't cut out the sugar entirely, but you might do fine with 1/2 to 3/4 cup rather than the full cup of sugar. Let me know how it works out!

Dixie's Whimsey said...

I'm new to your blog, but have really enjoyed reading your posts. I can't wait to try your Grandmother's Mystery Cake on my family at Thanksgiving. Thanks for taking the time to share your wonderful memories.

Lucy said...

I used to have a recipe for a cake that used tomato soup. It was kind of a fruit cake. I'm not a huge fan of fruit cake but it was pretty good. Love your music that is playing now.