Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mom's Emphasis: Dump Cake and Oatmeal Cake

I love thumbing through a cookbook and finding that the cooks before me have annotated the recipes. Still, it is always a little bit of a shock to see my mother's handwriting in the margins. We live 3000 miles apart, and yet, there's her handwriting, as nun-trained as ever, telling me what I should know. In the Cook Book Presented by The Fishwives of Charleston Oregon, her guidance marches across the baking section like "JMJ" used to march across the corners of her exam papers. (Nun-trained, I tell you.) Today's recipes are both on the same page, both with Momma-notes, and both some variety of "good."

Let's start with what will come to be known as "damned with faint praise."
Dump Cake

1 1-lb. can crushed pineapple
1 1-lb. can cherry pie filling
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 cube McKay's margarine
1 c. chopped nuts

Place entire can of pineapple and pie filling in square baking pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over top. Cut cub of margarine in small pieces over the top of cake mixture. Sprinkle nuts over all. Bake 45 min. at 350 or until done.

--Dorothy Kerns
Momma's comment: "Good but Very Rich." This would be high praise, indeed, if only it weren't for...
Oatmeal Cake

1 c. oatmeal
1 1/3 c. boiling water
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. McKay's margarine
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. McKay's flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Add oatmeal to boiling water; let stand for 20 minutes. Mix sugars and add to margarine, cream. Add eggs, beat after each addition. Add oatmeal to creamed mixture, sift dry ingredients; add to creamed mix and stir just enough to blend. Add vanilla, pour into greased and floured 9x12 pan. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes.


1 c. brown sugar
4 tbsp. McKay's margarine
1 c. coconut
1/3 c. cream or evap. milk
1/2 c. chopped nutmeats

Cream margarine and sugar, add coconut, moistened with cream. Spread on top of warm cake, sprinkle nuts on topping. Return to oven under broiler until topping bubbles. Serve warm.

--Miriam Landers
My mom would have you know that this is "Very GOOD" (if only HTML had a way to double-underline...the "GOOD" is double underlined) and that it "STAYS MOIST."

So, sorry there, Dump Cake. You only merit a single-underline, and that's under "rich" not "good." You are nowhere near as Mom-pleasing as the Oatmeal Cake (even though I balk at the 9x12 pan, when a 9x13 would be the logical, wholesome, wonderful choice).

Ingredients notes: Yes, I grew up using margarine for everything, butter for nothing. Feel free to substitute butter; I know I would. For the oatmeal, use Quaker Instant (or other instant); the illustrators helpfully drew the cannister of oatmeal on the page, so we're pretty safe assuming that we needn't find some coarse-ground groats.

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