Thursday, February 26, 2015

Three generations of chocolate cake

I wanted to share this with you this week. It’s one of those 'what goes around comes around' stories, but it starts with my mother. 

She was an excellent and generous cook and we still share her recipes with joy in our family.  They bring back memories of fun times. One of the simple favorites was her chocolate cake.  To me this was birthday cake. I made many of them and so did my girls, Virginia and Victoria. Everyone knew and loved Gram’s chocolate cake.

While finishing up our latest book, Victoria and I wanted to include the cake as a the base for chocolate tiramisu to include as one of Signora Panetone's recipes at the end of THE MARSH MADNESS. 

But I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. Some things have never shown up after our move. Other times recipes are tucked into one of a hundred cookbooks and only flutter out when you least expect them.

I tore the house apart. No sign of it! Had it been thrown out?  I shook a lot of cookbooks. No luck.

Finally while I was whining to Victoria, the other half of Victoria Abbott, I mentioned my frustration. 

“I have it,” she said. “In that book you made for me when I was a little girl.”

The recipe book was written around the time this picture was taken
Sure enough, in a battered little volume called My Treasured Recipes, I found, in my handwriting, the secret code to Gram’s Chocolate Cake.   

This was done before we used computers to create recipes (or before we could even imagine it!) My handwriting is a family joke, but this seemed reasonably neat. Of course, I wasn’t sure if it called for ¼ cup of milk of 1 ¾ cups of milk.  No wonder I type everything now.

But the point is we had it.  It makes two nice layers (or four if you want to slice them in half horizontally).  

Our chocolate tiramisu was made and the day was saved.  I was surprised and thrilled at how many of the favorite foods of both sides of the family were preserved in this little book. And I’m happy that Victoria kept it.  I hope to share others here on another blog.

We hope that one of these days, this will form part of a family cookbook that we can share with every generation, as there are some terrific young cooks in the gang too.  In the meantime, I’m happy it’s here with me for a while. I still have another layer of it in the freezer in case I need to make an emergency tiramisu. Every time I make it now, I have to thank my mother and my daughter.

What about you?  Do you have a family cookbook? Any family recipes with a bit of history?  Tales of recipes lost or found?  We love food so let's hear it!