June 6, 2008

Mamaw's Strawberry Filled Angel Food Cake

The cake, as drawn by William "Shane" Smith, my uncle.

I remember my Mamaw's lemon-filled layer cake as my very, very favorite little girl aspiring-to-be-a-princess dessert, and I think it was frosted in whipped cream. Can anyone tell me for sure what exactly she did to summon that cake from Cakeland Nirvana? Was it lemon curd between all those layers? Was it really whipped cream? And what kind of cake was it? No way you could get prepared lemon curd in Salem in the '60s and '70s, so it had to be a fairly focus-centric recipe. You couldn't even get salsa in Salem until the '80s, for god's sake.

I do know that once I got cognisant I sensed that my requests for the cake, while not unwelcome or necessarily blown-off, were not met with an, "Oh, sure, that would be a snap!" response. So there must have been some work involved.

Does anyone out there have my grandma's lemon-filled cake recipe? I had always thought it was angel food, but I think I remember now being told that she didn't fill the angel food with lemon, that was some other kind of white or yellow cake. Whatever it was, it was sublime, and I'm pretty sure I got to eat it into my 30s.

Now comes her Strawberry Filled Angel Food Cake. This is extant in my Mamaw's own type-written hand in her booklet MY COOKIES, AND MORE, from 1993, which she put together to save us from the fate of losing her recipes when we lost her. Good grandma-ness. And as a side note, once I get the time I intend to scan the pages of that book, for two purposes: to have them in PDF electronic copy for archiving; and to get the really cool little hand drawn illustrations [see example above] into a form I can convert to jpeg and then use here to accompany the recipes as I post them. My mom says that Uncle Bill Smith did the drawings! There are very sweet.

A couple of note: This calls for frozen strawberries. There must be a reason for this. Because it's not like we weren't swimming in fresh strawberries from Grandpa Trout's garden! So it must be that Mamaw thought the frozen ones superior for this cake! This theory is further supported here by the absence of other short cuts -- real whipped cream, for instance. And unflavored gelatin. So I'd suggest hanging with the recipe at least the first time around. Brainstorm: she may very well have been using her own frozen strawberries that did in fact come from Grandpa Trout's garden. Also, I have made only one small edit to the recipe, in brackets below. The formatting is original.

Here is the recipe. It's perfect for spring. Enjoy.

from Wanda Lucile Smith

Split large angel food cake into 3 layers with sharp, long knife. Thaw 10 oz. package frozen strawberries. Drain juice, add enough water to make 1/4 cup and heat. Soak 2 packages plain (Knox) gelatin and dissolve in hot juice. Mix in strawberries which have been mashed with a fork. Do not cook berries. Cool. Whip 2 cups whipping cream. Add 1/4 cup sugar and mashed berries. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Chill whipped cream-strawberry mixture a while [or it will be] too soft to put on cake. Keep cake chilled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so similar to the recipe I've been hunting for, which my mother used to make.

I want to try it but with strawberry jello, and not knox unflavored.

It was my favorite cake as a child.