Jodi Lea Stewart

Loving and Writing About the Southwest and the South

Grandma’s Christmas Cake

Old-Fashioned Version (Newer Version Below)

  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup lard (shortening)
  • 3 eggs, separated. Put egg whites in the refrigerator.
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

 

Sift flour, baking powder and salt three times. Work shortening with spoon until fluffy. Add sugar gradually. Continue to work with spoon until mixture is light. Beat egg yolks with a fork until thick. Add to sugar mixture. Add flour gradually, alternating with milk, beating each time until thoroughly mixed. Stir in vanilla. Bake in two greased and floured 8” round pans. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes* or until a matchstick** stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool. Remove from pans. Spread meringue between layers, on the sides and on top of the cake. Sprinkle crushed candy on top and sides. Put in stove and watch it. Take out when candy starts to melt. It won’t take long! Remove from stove and cool. To cut cake, put tip of knife in the center of the cake and tap hand to “break through” light crust of candy on top.

* Grandma Woods baked this cake in unreliable wood-burning cook stoves. She had to watch it closely or it would burn, sometimes on just one side.
** or you can use a toothpick or broom straw (very old-fashioned!).

Meringue (Frosting)

  • 4 egg whites (add one egg to the three whites left over from making the cake)
  • 3 Tbls. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Beat egg whites until frothy. Add vanilla. Add sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff. Spread inside layers and over the sides and top of cake.

Crushed Candy Topping

Crush with a hammer inside a dishtowel:

  • 1 large peppermint stick
  • About a cup of ribbon Christmas candy (preferred) or any type of hard candy.

  New Version:

Use any from-scratch or packaged yellow, white or spice cake recipe. Spice cake is extra delicious in this recipe. Bake in two 8” round pans. Cool. Spread New Version Meringue Topping between layers and on outside of cake. Sprinkle crushed candy on top and sides.

Put under broiler and watch constantly until candy begins to melt. If you leave it too long, you could mess up the Meringue Frosting. Remove from oven and cool. To cut, put tip of knife in the center of cake and tap hand to “break through” light crust of candy on top.

 

Meringue Frosting (new version)

This meringue “frosting” is a delicious, marshmallow-type topping. You can pile it high on pies or on this Christmas Cake.  It’s hard not to sneak a few tablespoons for yourself.

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Put sugar, egg whites and vanilla in a double boiler. Cook over simmering water, whipping constantly for 3 or 4 minutes or until mixture reaches 140° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Beat at high speed for 10 minutes or until thick and spreadable. This meringue tastes a lot like creamy marshmallows. The thin crust of melted candy on top is an unexpected treat. Delicious!

Comment: Read how this cake put face-cracking smiles on the faces of nine children in the Christmas of 1936: Christmas in a Sock: jodileastewartblog.com
Comment: Photography by Elizabeth Cerza.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Grandma’s Christmas Cake

  1. Hello, I like your blog Grandma’s Christmas Cake | Jodi Lea Stewart and have bookmarked it on Digg 🙂 !

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    Gregg Booton

    1. Thank you, Gregg! This is a blog very close to my heart (for obvious reasons). If you like to bake, you might want to give the cake recipe a try. I suggest using the updated Meringue for the icing. When you pass your fork through that light candy crust into the creamy-sweet meringue, you’ll want to slap your daddy (as they say in the country)! Take it to any gathering and get ready for a clamor of recipe requests. Talk to you soon…

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