Sunday, July 20, 2008

Devil Dog Cake (for Pa)

I have not made this cake since September of 2001. You may wonder how I can remember both the year and the month, well it's because this was a cake that I used to make for my Pa's birthday. He loved this cake because he loved Devil Dogs and this cake tastes like a Devil Dog...a big giant rectangular Devil Dog. The last time I made it was for his 81st birthday. Over the past 7 years I have glanced over this recipe time and time again and just couldn't bring myself to make it. It reminds me so much of him that I thought making it and not having him there to eat it would just make me so sad inside. Today I really thought about it. Why can't I make this cake and be happy about it? These are the memories of him that made me happy, made me smile. Why had I waited 7 years to make this cake again? Did the boys even remember eating this cake? Why did I sometimes think maybe I should just tear that recipe out of my binder and throw it away so I won't have to look at it every time I go searching through it? Why? It's just a cake right?

I have a picture that is on my fridge from that very day when I last made that cake. Jesse is just 6 years old in it. He's sitting on my Pa's lap, grinning, hands on his face. My Pa is smiling, looking down on him. The boys always made him smile. He lit up when they came running into the room to see him. That cake is on the table in front of them in that picture, out of camera range, you can just see the candles off in the left corner. That cake, that I wouldn't make for 7 friggin' years.


I can see him in my mind, fork in hand, digging into a big plateful, his voice telling me "this is delicious Lisa Anne". He always called me Lisa Anne.

My Pa loved his sweets. Gram always had a tupperware container of goodies in the cupboard, and as soon as the dinner dishes were cleaned, she was getting that container of sweets. He was very fond of Little Debbies, and macaroons, and those pinwheel cookies with the marshmallow that are covered in chocolate, and grapenut pudding....well you get the picture, sweets made him happy. So I decided that this cake won't hold a painful memory for me, but instead a joyful celebratory memory of a man I loved so very much.

I'm so glad I didn't throw this recipe away.

Devil Dog Cake - for Nicola.
Printable recipe
1 package (18 ¼ ounces) chocolate cake mix
1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup water
4 eggs

Combine all 5 ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 30 - 35 mins or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool 10 mins and invert on wire rack to cool completely.

Filling
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
½ cup butter softened
½ cup shortening
¾ to 1 cup sugar (I use ¾ cup and it's just perfect)
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a small saucepan combine flour & milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, cook & stir 2 mins or until sauce is thickened. Let cool slightly. In mixing bowl, cream the butter, shortening, sugar & vanilla, about 2 minutes. Beat in milk mixture until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes).

Split cake into two horizontal layers. Spread filling over the bottom layer, cover with top layer. Refrigerate until cream is firm. Cut into serving size pieces. Store in an air tight container.
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