discovering my grandmother’s recipe book

Most of my fondest childhood memories include sitting around our dining room table, surrounded by not only my immediate family, but also my extended family – enjoying my grandmother’s baking.

So when my aunt pulled out my grandmother’s “go-to” recipe book (The Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking School Cookbook), I just knew I had to bake something from it. The result was a lovely yellow cake with a non-buttercream frosting… seriously, this frosting tasted like melted marshmallows. Both my uncle Phil and I were licking the plate trying to make sure none went to waste.

Baked with my cousin Olivier in mind, and enjoyed by some of my favourite people (aunts, uncle, cousin and mom) this cake is quick and easy… perfect for those low key family dinners.

Golden Cake
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks (keep the egg whites)
1/2 c. buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 375 F. Prepare your 8 inch cake pan by spraying it with non-stick spray (or lightly grease with butter). Set aside.

Sift together your flour, b. powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. (thank you for letting me use your Kitchenaid MJ!)

Beat in, one at a time, your egg yolks. You want your batter to be really fluffy. Now add your flour and buttermilk to the batter – alternating between the two: flour/buttermilk/flour/buttermilk/flour.

Spread the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes.

The cake will be golden. Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

While your cake is cooling, take the time to make your non-butter frosting. This is known as the seven-minute frosting in the recipe book…

Marshmallow Frosting
3/4 c. sugar
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 egg white (use one from the cake batter)

In a large glass bowl beat together the sugar, lemon juice, corn syrup, salt and egg white. After about a minute, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).

With your electric beater, keep beating the mixture until it is stiff enough to be standing in peaks. Make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bowl – otherwise, curdled egg whites! YAK!

Remove from the heat and continue to beat it until it thickens, adding the lemon zest to the mix. Once it’s triple in volume, allow it to sit in the fridge for about 30 – 45 minutes.

This allows both the frosting to thicken and allows the cake to fully cool.

Using a metal blade (either a pastry knife or a large knife) top the cake with the frosting – as it warms up a bit, it will start to naturally drizzle down the sides. Top with pieces of shaved dark chocolate.

INCREDIBLE! first time I try this type of frosting… really really delicious. Give it a try!


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