Friday, October 7, 2011

Millie's Quick Dessert Cake

Millies Dessert Cake 1

I have made this cake and posted it before. It was a long time ago.

This is my Gram’s cake. A cake she made all the time.

Its official title was Quick Dessert cake, but I changed that to Millie’s Quick Dessert cake.

My Gram is 87 years old. She has Alzheimer’s. She lives in an assisted living facility. She doesn’t know any of us anymore. Along with her mind, her body is growing weaker too. We recently had to get her a walker to keep her steady on her feet.

When I think of my Gram I remember her standing in her kitchen with her apron on, coffee pot brewing, and soup simmering on the stove. My Pa was always sitting at the head of the table, newspaper in hand. She’d bring over a plate or bowl of whatever she had cooking, and he would always say “thank you darlin’” and she would smile. She was always smiling, still is.

  • She offered everyone who came in the house a cup of coffee, even if you didn’t drink coffee. She must have asked me a hundred times if I wanted a cup. “No Gram, I don’t drink coffee” and she always seems puzzled by my answer and would say “oh no”?
  •  She also liked to offer ham sandwiches, which she pronounced “ham sangwiches”.
  •  She always pronounced the letter H… “haitsh”.
  •  She ate salad sandwiches (or sangwhiches). She'd take a breadstick, slice it down the middle and put salad in it and eat it.
  •  She loved Little Debbie snacks and hard candies.
  • She has naturally curly hair, just like me.

I know it almost sounds like she’s gone, and in a way she is. The Gram that I grew up with, who sewed almost all my clothes and even my wedding dress, just isn’t there anymore. The Gram who make ham and cheese pies and grapenut pudding doesn’t know who my mother is anymore, but if you bring her a piece of this cake she will still smile and when you tell her this was a cake she made all the time she’ll turn her head to the side and say “oh really, I did?” Yes you did.

So I know that when she’s gone I’ll still make this cake and think of her and all the little things that made her my Gram. Funny that some sugar, flour and butter can hold so many memories.

I love this cake not only for all the reasons listed above, but because it’s made with staples that you always have in the house and you can totally change it up by changing the fruit you add to it.

My favorite combination is this one of apples and blueberries. You can add any soft cooked or canned fruit that you like.

The fruit will sink into the cake like a cobbler as it bakes.

Millies Dessert Cake 4

Millies Quick Dessert Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon almond extract
Fresh berries (when fresh berries are not available, I use fruit pie filling and it works great. In the fall and winter I often use Comstocks country apple pie filling with some frozen blueberries. This combo is really wonderful).

Preheat the oven to 350.In large bowl cream together butter & sugar. Beat the eggs in one at a time then add almond extract.

In a separate bowl mix the flour & baking powder and then combine into the wet mixture. Mix until smooth. Grease 13 x 9 pan. Spread batter into pan.

If using fresh berries just sprinkle them all over the top of the batter. They will start to sink into the cake as it bakes.

If using pie filling: Take pie filling and randomly drop it all over the top of the batter. (I use a little over half a can) When using fresh or frozen berries along with the pie filling, I kind of tuck the berries in between the filling so everyone gets a bite of your filling and the fruit.

Bake for 40- 45 minutes until golden brown, or until tests done. Cool, dust with powered sugar. Cut into squares to serve.


Becki's Whole Life said...

Very sweet post. It is good that you can write down your memories of her so you don't forget the fun times and sweet moments. It's hard sometimes when people age to remember the person they used to be. This is a great cake and I love the simplicity and versatility. I am a huge fan of anything with almond extract so I would definitely like this!

Mallory said...

We lost my father in law to Alzheimers and I worked in a nursing home for years. It's hard to watch them fade away. But I also watched people whose minds were still as sharp as ever, become stuck in broken bodies. I go back and forth on which is worse.

It's amazing that you have this recipe to share with generations to come.


Rocquie said...

Thank you for this post, Lisa. I can't wait to try the lovely cake. Even when my Grandmother no longer "knew" who I was, I could always tell it mattered to her when I was there. Often, we would just sit in silence and hold hands. I never rushed and we both loved it.

Amy said...

I was so close with my Nan. She's been gone for many years now, but I still miss her terribly. I have a few recipes of hers that I make, which are also very versatile. Must be a generational thing? They knew how to make a dollar go a long way, and they knew how to transform the exact same meal by simply changing 2 ingredients.

Eileen said...

I just discovered your blog & fell in love, because of this post. Thanks for this beautiful portrait of your grandmother.