*Click to read how this depression-era cake put face-cracking smiles on the faces of a bunch of kids in the Christmas of 1933 . . . Christmas in a Sock
Old-Fashioned Version. . . but I suggest the 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 at 375° for 25 minutes* Time varies. Stick a toothpick, matchstick, or a broom straw *if you want to be authentically old-fashioned* in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.
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.
My 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. Did all her little younguns mind if it got a little too done? Not one bit!
- 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.
Crush the candy more than what shows in the photo below. The photo is to show variety and placement of candy.
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 or use a kitchen torch (*preferred* How? click HERE) and watch constantly until candy begins to melt. If you leave it too long, you will mess up the Meringue Frosting. Remove from oven and cool.
The candy must be melted to the point it is crackly but not hard (see photo above). Use the torch in spurts or watch v-e-r-y carefully in the oven. 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!
Jodi Lea Stewart is a fiction author who believes in and writes about the triumph of the human spirit through overcoming adversity via grit, humor, and stubborn tenacity. Her writing reflects her life beginning in Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, later moving as a youngster to an Arizona cattle ranch next door to the Navajo Nation, and, as a young adult, resuming in her native Texas. Growing up, she climbed petroglyph-etched boulders, bounced two feet in the air in the backend of pickups wrestling through washed-out terracotta roads, and rode horseback on the winds of her imagination through the arroyos and mountains of the Arizona high country. Her lifetime friendship with all nationalities, cowpunchers, and the southern gentry allows Jodi to write comfortably about anything in the Southwest, the South, and far BEYOND.
JODI’S LATEST INTERNATIONALLY AWARDED HISTORICAL FICTION NOVEL ~
I write historical fiction centered around the early to mid-twentieth century. My latest novel, THE GOLD ROSE, involves the Japanese invasion of China and the ensuing civil war that ushered in modern-day communism. No matter what the circumstances, eras, conflicts, or main plots entail, my goal is always to create characters everyone relates to. I believe that’s the kind of connective reading in which the reader and writer actually share a point in time. 😊 Happy reading, y’all!