I was having a bad day today, but it wasn't a complete write-off because I came up with a new idea, a series for this blog based on recipes from my mom's 1969 copy of Betty Crocker's Cookbook. I've mentioned several times here that I grew up with this book and that it was partially responsible for my wanting to become a baker. Last fall, I was on holiday in PEI, where my mom lives, and I asked her if she still had the book, and she did! It's a little worse for wear - the spine is missing and the binding is falling apart, and it's stained and dog-eared and definitely "well-loved" - and after not very much convincing at all, Mom let me take the book home with me.
Growing up, my mom always wittily referred to Betty Crocker as Betty Crackpot, and it stuck with me (why wouldn't it?), so that's why I'm going with it for the title of the new series. This book has everything under the sun in it, and the food styling is absolutely horrendous by contemporary standards. My aim is to reacquaint myself with some childhood favourites for nostalgia purposes, as well as try out some new old funky stuff that might be good - or not. I also aim to entertain! I'll try to stay as true as possible to the original recipes, except I will not be using any vegetable shortening and I'll probably cut down on the fat a bit because, man, some of these recipes are decidedly not healthy. Then there will be things I can't find because maybe they don't make them anymore. I should be interesting, and it should be fun.
First up, something not very unusual or unattractive Dinette Cake, found on page 97. I believe this is the batter we made when I first used my Easy Bake Oven when I was very young. It's a very simple recipe, but the method of beating the crap out of the batter seemed counter-intuitive to me. But nonetheless, I beat the batter as the directions stated.
Dinette Cake, Betty Crocker's Cookbook, page 97
1 ½ cups cake flour or 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
⅓ cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches. Measure all ingredients into large mixer bowl. Blend ½ minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool.
The original recipe suggests Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting or Coconut Broiled Topping.
I chose no topping because I have homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream on hand!
As you can see there are some darker brown spots on the surface of the cake; this is because there were a lot of air bubbles in it as it baked. I used an 8x8" pan.
And the finished product:
The verdict: OMG, so awesome! I could have eaten the whole thing on my own. The texture was amazing, the flavour was amazing...The beating of the batter didn't seem to harm the texture of the cake, which was good. Such a simple recipe with such a super result. And the scent of it really brought back memories...Yum!