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Grandmother’s Chocolate Cake by Leigh Sackett

by Leigh Sackett

My son came home with a journal last week that he had bought at the school store. He told me he was going to write in it every day. We discussed that not so long ago, before the invention of the camera, the use of words, in journals, was the most common way in which people described and explained the world they lived in and the places they saw.

I asked Anthony this question … “In your mind, what describes a place better – words from the heart or a photograph from a camera?” He said, “words.” Then he said, “maybe my children will read the words I write in my journal” and I said, “YES, maybe they will.”

My father gave me a recipe book that was my grandmothers and my mother had added to it. It was full of hand written recipes as well as some done on a typewriter. There are recipes from friends and family, recipes cut out from newspapers and magazines – some dating back to the early 50s. It is a rich journal of a family culinary history written on note cards,  stationary, grocery lists, the backs of bridge score cards, you name it – even a recipe written on the back of a deposit slip. This family recipe book may not go up for much at an auction but It is priceless to me.

As I write these words now, they too are put down in history. They may not matter to many but they are certainly recorded and someone who needs to know me or Anthony years from now may read these words and have a sense of who we are, just as I read my grandmother and mother’s words in the recipe book and feel their presence on the pages. It is truly one of the great blessings of taking the time to write in one context or another. (Even our email – so make sure you back them up from time to time!)

This book was full of cake recipes, which is an indication of something that I was already aware of – these women were far greater than I – spending all that time to bake cakes for their family. Oh well, I have been known to bake a cake for a birthday or two and I do buy and bake refrigerated cookie dough cookies a lot! Enjoy!

Sift – 2 cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

Heat to boiling –

2 sticks of margarine

4 tbs. cocoa

1 cup of water

Pour liquid over dry ingredients and beat

Add –

½ cups buttermilk

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

Beat well. Pour into cake pan

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

For Glaze:

Heat –

1 stick of butter

4 tbs. cocoa

5-6 tbs. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Pour a box of powdered sugar (not sure what size, just copying my grandmother’s words, might want to do this part to taste) into mixture and beat well.

Spread over cake while hot.

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