Monday, March 22, 2010

Helen's Hickory Nut Cake With Caramel Icing

Helen probably had a hickory nut tree in her yard or close enough so she could go foraging for them when she wanted to make this cake. I used to go foraging for hickory nuts when I was in my teens and lived in Outville, Ohio. My then mother-in-law used to watch my kids for me so I could go across the street to the neighbor's yard and pick up nuts. Once, when I was picking nuts, I went to move  a branch out of the way and it moved! I about jumped out of my skin. It was not a branch, but a garter snake. You can bet I was always more careful in the future when I foraged for nuts!
Hickory nuts are not as hard as black walnuts to crack, but they do take time to extract the meats from the shell. I remember it taking me a good hour to hull about a cup of nuts one time. Very time intensive. But they are so delicious! I haven't lived in Outville on over 30 years, and I haven't been foraging for hickory nuts in nearly as long, but this cake makes me think perhaps this year I may go out looking for these delicious nuts!

Helen's Hickory Nut Cake

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup margarine*
3 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped hickory nuts

Cream sugar and margarine* together well. Add egg yolks and beat well. Add flour, baking soda, and nuts alternately with milk to creamed mixture. beat egg whites with vanilla until stiff and fold into batter. Turn into loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or till cake tests done. Frost with caramel icing.
*Margarine was used in this recipe but is not good for you so replace butter for the margarine.
*Make sure you grease the pan before adding batter.

Helen's Caramel Icing

1 stick margarine*
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
1 3/4- 2 cups xxx sugar*

Melt margarine in skillet and add brown sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add milk and stir till mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and cool. Slowly blend in powdered sugar, beat well after each addition until spreading consistency is reached.
*Use real butter as margarine is not good for you!!!
* xxx sugar is powdered sugar
**Use a heavy skillet, such as an iron skillet, so that your sugar does not burn.

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