Monday, August 13, 2012

1920's Prize-Winning Blackberry Cake

Quick!  Grab the last of those blackberries and whip up this delectable, prize-winning blackberry cake!  This recipe originated with Grandma Guthrie and is shown below written in her handwriting. She later made additional clarifications along the side of the paper.

My mother entered the recipe into the Charmco Pet ("pet" meaning "favorite") recipe contest in the late 1920's and won a $5.00 prize....a lot of money for a young teen back in those days!  Charmco 44 Flour, made by the Charleston Milling Co. in Charleston, WV, was required to be used in the contest recipes.


My mother is pictured to the left.  Notice the newspaper clipping below with her name, Nellie Guthrie, listed as a winner.

This blackberry cake has always been one of my most favorite of cakes. Care must be taken with the icing to allow it to cool completely after heating or it will be grainy. Be sure to beat it until it is thick enough not to slip down the sides of the you can see in the picture below, it did for me!  However, if beaten too long, it becomes impossible to spread. Even though the icing is a little tricky, it is certainly worth the effort!!  

Blackberry Cake
2 Cups white sugar
¾ Cup butter
½ Cup buttermilk
1 ½ Cups canned blackberries, with juice. 
  (Heap blackberries up and fill juice to the top of the cup).  *See note below.
3 Eggs
3 Cups flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon soda
1 Teaspoon each:  allspice, cloves, cinnamon
     (Grandma sometimes used ½ teaspoon of each for a less spicy blend.)
½ Teaspoon salt

v  Cream butter, then add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy.
v  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each one.
v  Add juice from the cup of blackberries and mix. (Save the berries to add last)
v  Sift together flour, baking powder, spices, soda, and salt 3 times.
v  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the batter and beat well.
v  Stir in berries gently to keep them as whole as possible.
v  Pour into 2 round, greased and floured cake pans and bake at 350 degrees until done.  (Grandma baked the cake in 2  #8 iron skillets.)

2 Cups white sugar
½ Cup butter
½ Cup evaporated milk or sweet milk

v  Cook until thick….225 degrees.  Cool completely. (Set pan in cold water to cool faster.)   When cooled, beat until creamy and thick enough to spread.  Use immediately.  

*Although the recipe calls for canned blackberries with juice, you may use fresh berries and fill the cup with water.

* You may use 2 cups sugar and 1 cup cream instead of the given ingredients for icing.  OR, an alternate and easier glaze (but not as good, in my opinion!) is 1 cup powdered sugar, 1-2 tablespoons of milk, and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla.  Mix and drizzle over the cake.

Next up: … Ever make elderberry syrup?  ….Know its amazing benefits for your immune system?   Watch for my next blog!

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