As M. L. Gardner's assistant, I take on all tasks, even ones that require me to bake. I enjoy baking, but I have to admit that I'm not on M. L. 's level and as expected, my attempt wasn't without a few hiccups.
After a quick internet search, I discovered a 1940s ad for Swans Down Cake Flour touting their recipe for a Honey Nut Cake that required only 1/2 cup of sugar. With sugar being a rationed good, this type of recipe gained popularity during the war.
Honey Nut Cake
- 2 cups sifted Swans Down Cake Flour
- 2 tsp. Calument Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup butter or shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup finely chopped nuts
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, sift together three times. Cream butter or shortening; add sugar gradually, and cream thoroughly; then add honey in thirds, beating well after each addition. Add 1/4 of flour and beat until smooth and well blended.
Beat eggs until thick enough to pile up in a bowl; add to cake mixture and beat well. Add nuts. Add remaining flour in thirds, alternating with milk in halves, beating very well after each addition. Add vanilla. Bake in greased 9-inch tube pan in slow oven (325˚F) for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until done. Spread Honey Butter Frosting on top and sides of cake. Decorate top of cake with wreath made of candied cherries and angelica or citron.
HONEY BUTTER FROSTING
Cream 2 tbsp. butter; add 2 tbsp. honey and blend. Add 1/3 cup sifted confectioners sugar and cream thoroughly. Add a dash of salt. Then add 1 egg white, unbeaten, alternately with 2 cups of sifted confectioners sugar, beating well after each addition. Add 1/2 tsp. vanilla. If necessary, add more sugar until of right consistency to spread. Makes about 1 cup of frosting.
My 7, 6, and 4 year old children were assisting me through the process, and ummmmmm, that probably made things just a tad bit harder than they needed to be. Everything was going well except for a few spills and a close call involving long hair and a running mixer. YIKES! The batter's consistency was a bit thicker than cake mix but had a lovely flavor.
I do not own a 9 inch tube pan so I opted for my 10 inch Bundt pan. Off to the oven it went, and I began a massive cleanup of my kitchen. As I was putting away the last of the ingredients, I realized that I'd forgotten to add 1/4 cup of milk to the mix. Darn! The cake had only been in the oven for 4 minutes so I yanked it out, tossed that milk right into the Bundt pan, and mixed it up the best I could. Back into the oven it went.
About 30 minutes into the 1 hour and 5 minute bake time, I thought I'd check on the cake's progress. I was shocked to find it slightly over baked. The larger pan seriously reduced the cake's baking time. I inverted the pan onto a cooling rack expecting the cake to slide out effortlessly. No such luck. Instead, it came out in 4 pieces which I artfully put back together like a puzzle—nothing that a little bit of frosting couldn't fix.
I chose not to decorate the cake with the wreath of candied cherries because I'd had enough baking for the day and 3 hungry eyes were waiting for a taste. Both cat and kids approved.