Nostalgia and Buttercream

My mom had her birthday back in September, and asked if I could make this cake, since it was one that Grandma Rinsema used to make. I'd spent a number of visits over the summer looking through Grandma's recipes, and I haven't quite finished yet. My pile of recipes I'd like to try or just keep for nostalgia is growing steadily. Whether or not I use the reicpes,  its been a neat glimpse into food from the 1950's and on (There were a few versions of salads that called for powdered lime jello in the salad dressing... not sure I'll be trying that one!)

The picture below is the cake I made in September - the cake was good, but a little dry, and the texture seemed off. Coincidentally, I read an article that mentioned overbeating egg whites would dry out the mixture. How about that? So when my birthday rolled aorund in November, mom tried making it for me. I mentioned the thing about the egg whites, and sure enough! Beating them just to the point of peaked and no further gave the cake a perfect, cake-y texture.

And all of the butter doesn't hurt either.

Tips for frosting the cake...
  • Freeze the layers for 30 minutes - a few hours before frosting
  • Spread a thin layer of frosting over the layer and then refrigerate it for about an hour to let it set. This is called the "crumb" layer, to avoid the crumbs getting pulled up into the frosting.
  • After you frost the whole cake, take a wide-surfaced spatula, lightly press down, and then quickly pull it off the cake to get the finished look on the frosting. Continue until the whole cake is covered like this.

Cold Water Cake with Buttercream Frosting
Recipes courtesy of Gertrude Rinsema

1/2 c Crisco
1 c Sugar
1 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/3 c cold water
1/2 c cocoa
2 1/2 c cake flour
1 c cold water
3 egg whites
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 t baking soda
1/3 c cold water

Cream Sugar and Crisco til light and fluffy. Add salt and vanilla. Combine 1/3 c cold water and cocoa, beat into creamed mixture. Add flour to mixture alternately with 1 c cold water. Beat after each addition. Beat egg whites, til peaked--gradually add 3/4 c sugar and beat til stiff. Fold meringue into batter. Combine soda and 1/3 c cold water. Stir to dissolve soda. Stir in batter. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Butter Cream Frosting (doubled for layer cake)
1 c shortening (1/2 crisco, 1/2 butter)
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c milk
1/2 t almond extract

Combine and mix 5 minutes at high speed. Can store in refrigerator. Beat before using.

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