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.

Helen's Orange Cake

Dear Helen must have made many of these recipes on a regular basis as she only wrote down the ingredients and didn't bother to write down the directions. I will endeavor to give directions to the best of my knwoledge based on the wording. If you want to be brave and try your own way, go for it. The filling is obviously cooked and goes in the middle.

Helen's Orange Cake

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon
1/8 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups sifted flour, sift 3 times
3 eggs, separated, add whites last
3 tsp baking powder

No directions given. These are mine. Sift flour 3 times, then sift again with baking powder and salt; set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff and will hold peaks, but not dry; set aside. Cream sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Add egg yolks; blend well. Mix in vanilla and lemon extracts. Add milk alterantely with the flour, blend well after each addition. Carefullt fold in egg whites. Pour into well-greased and floured 8" or 9" cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto cooling racks. Cool completely before adding filling in the middle.


1 egg
6 Tbls. sugar
2 1/2 Tbls. cornstarch
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. grated rind*
1 Tbls. butter

No directions are given so I am giving my own. Combine sugar and cornstarch in top of double boiler. Stir in orange juice and water and cook until thickened. Pour a little in a bowl, carefully add beaten egg and mix back into the double boiler; continue to cook until thickened. Stir in grated orange rind and butter. Cool before filling cake.

Helen's Delicate White Cake With Orange Icing

This sounds like a delicious and light cake. There is no designated flavoring in this cake so either make it vanilla or orange extract for this cake. The good thing about this recipe is you can change the flavor to anything you want it to be by just changing the extract flavor to whatever you like. But in keeping with the name of this cake I will write the recipe out exactly as written. What you choose to do with your own imagination is up to you. As for the icing, there are no directions and so I hoofed it on my own. I think Helen knew it was such a basic recipe that she didn't need to waste her time writing down directions.

Helen's Delicate White Cake With Orange Icing

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
5 egg whites
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup thin milk*
1 1/4 tsp. flavoring

Cream shortening; add sugar gradually; cream thoroughly. Sift flour, salt, baing powder. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Blend in flavoring. Fold in egg whites. Bake in greased and floured pans. Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degree moderate oven.
*Thin milk is most likely 2%, though any milk would do.

Orange Icing

5 Tbls. butter
3 cups xxxx sugar
2 Tbls. lemon juice
2 Tbls. orange juice
1 tsp. orange rind

There were no directions given for making this icing. I will give you my own.
Sift the sugar into a bowl, add butter and juices and beat until smooth and creamy. To make it a bit more thick, add more sugar, a bit at a time until desired consistency.

Helen's Whipped Cream Cake With Lemon Frosting

This sounds like an easy and delicious cake. The lemon frosting also sounds light and refreshing. If you don't like almond extract do not be afraid to change this to vanilla. In years back powdered sugarm also known as confectioner's sugar was often referred to as "xxxx' and so I wrote this out exactly as Helen had written this recipe in her book, including the x's, which she uses in other recipes also. Even today you will often find x's on packages of powdered sugar. I can remember seeing this even as a child, and I bet you do, too, if you think about it. This is definitely a cake I will have to try in the very near future, and when I do, I will post a picture of it here for you to see. In the meantime, perhaps you will be inspired to make your own.

Helen's Whipped Cream Cake With Lemon Frosting

3 egg whites
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

Carefully fold whipped cream into stiffly beaten egg whites. Gradually fold in cold water and flavoring. Sift flour; measure; sift with sugar, baking powder, and salt. Carefully fold into creamed mixture. Pour into cake pan lined with waxed paper. Bake in moderate oven 30-35 minutes.
*A moderate oven is 350 degrees.

Lemon Frosting

Melt 4 Tabls. butter; add 1 Tbls grated lemon rind. Sift 3 cups xxxx sugar, add alternately with 3 Tbls. lemon juice, beating thoroughly after each addition. Dash of salt.
*The xxxx sugar is powdered sugar.