Are you exhausted from Thanksgiving, Readers?? I know I am! S,o here is a classic Mid-Century feast from our archives. This post originally ran on March 24, 2010, but features an amazing Cranberry Mayonnaise Cake that Tom and I loved and ate right down to the last crumb! The best part is, no eggs or butter needed, so it can literally be made right from your pantry.  If you need a dessert (or breakfast!) and have leftover cranberry sauce from Turkey Day, I would suggest this super simple and festive cake!

Mark001Welcome to another Mid-Century Menu, everyone! This week we have a cute cookbook called “reMARKable Recipes”, which, in case you haven’t guessed, was named for the author’s husband, former Governor of Oregon Mark O. Hatfield. After doing some research, I found out that Mark had a huge political career and is the longest running Senator in Oregon’s history and has about 20 facilities and funds named after him. If you want to read more about Mark and his career, you can check the Wikipedia entry here.

Now, Mark’s wife, Antoinette, is the author of this cute cookbook which we are cooking out of today. It was written while Mark was the governor of Oregon (1959-1967) and has some interesting recipes served to famous guests and just regular dishes Antoinette served to her family at home. According to the introduction, the recipes were gathered from previous generations of her and Mark’s family and from friends on the campaign trail.

I found this book at a local estate sale, and after I bought it I was excited to find that it was also signed by Mrs. Hatfield! Fun! So not only is this my first political cookbook, it is also the first signed one as well.

Anyway, since Tom and I are still crazy busy with a bunch of naughty kittens, we planned out a huge meal and then only ended up making a portion of it. The portion we actually managed to make was the Porcupine Balls and the Cranberry Mayonnaise Cake. We picked the Porcupine Balls because I have seen them in a bunch of different vintage cookbooks and have been meaning to try them, and the Cranberry Mayonnaise Cake because…well…its got mayo in it. Enough said.

And I am not going to make fun of Porcupine Balls once in this whole post, I swear.

Porcupine Balls. (Snort!)

Let’s get going!

First, the cranberry mayo cake, so it has time to cool.

Looks good so far.

Okay, this looks really strange, but as an ingredient it makes sense. Cakes use both eggs and oil, and since that is what mayo is made of it shouldn’t be weird at all.

But it still is.

And the smell! Blargh!

After the flour has been added. At least it is a pretty pink.

The batter glopped into a tube pan from my huge stash of baking pans.

Baked and steamy hot. As you can see, I skipped out on lining the pan with paper, and it didn’t end up coming out that well. But the cake was pretty sturdy, so I just cut it off the pan.

On to the meatballs!

I love a recipe with only a few ingredients.

Okay, this is a really simple recipe, so for once I am just going to shut up and let you look at the pictures.

Ready for the oven!

And here they are after three hours in the oven. They do look porcupine-y!

Tom sitting down and taking his first bite. He was too impatient to even wait for the vegetables to be done!

“Are they good?”

“They are good, but plain. They just taste like meat with rice.”

I took a bite, they did taste like meat with rice, but they were still good. The only thing that was kind of gross was that the hamburger fat ran right into the sauce, so there was no draining of grease before we ate it. Ah well, I am sure we have eaten things that were more unhealthy than this!

And then it was on to cake!

I forgot to take pictures of me making the frosting, but it was pretty straight foreword. The cake was very good, moist and yummy with hints of orange and cranberry. It tasted more like a good coffee cake than it did a layer cake, though. I would recommend leaving of the frosting on the cake and making a glaze of orange juice and powdered sugar, as the cranberry frosting was too sweet and too thick for this cake.

The Verdict:

Porcupine Balls – Good, but plain. I have seen some other recipes out there I want to try very soon!

Cranberry Mayonnaise Cake – Very good, but is more a coffee cake than anything. Skip the frosting and make a nice orange glaze for the top. Yum!