Welcome to this week’s Mid-Century Menu! I have to confess to a bit of poor planning on my part. I didn’t put two and two together on this one, and I planned Menu night for the same night that we were suppose to go to a ballgame and eat hot dogs for dinner! Ah well, when you have a problem, you think up a compromise, right?
So, instead of doing an entire menu, I decided that it would be a neat idea to make some crazy dessert I had my eye on, and then we could eat it when we came home from the ballgame.
And, with that in mind, I started to dig through my cookbooks with an eye out for a showstopping dessert. I found it in the Wonderful World of Welch’s cookbook.
This book was publish in 1968, and I picked it up at a church rummage sale with a ton of late 60’s – early 70’s cooking pamphlets for about 10 cents each. I adored this book from the very beginning, because the pictures on the front of this thing are just classic. Oh, and the introduction in the beginning of the book, which reads:
It gives me great pleasure to endorse ‘The Wonderful World of Welch’s.’
We hope you will enjoy using the unusual and interesting recipes that feature Welch’s products.”
Unusual? Interesting? Unusual AND interesting? There can’t be any two words more tantalizing for me. I feel like this was written for me! Well, for the Mid-Century Menu anyway. And as I paged through the book, I found a ton of possibilities for terror; Saucy Liver (with Welchade), Lobster Catonese (with Fruit Punch), Turkey Glazed with Grape Juice, Spicy Grape Loaf (you don’t even want to know what is in that), and that was only from the Entree section!
But there, right on the front cover, I found my victim.
Welch’s Grapelade Cake.
That’s right. A cake made with grape jam, cloves and cinnamon, and then topped with grape juice tinted coconut. Make that a lot of cloves. That has to be a typo.
Anyway, you had better believe I am ready to go!
All of the assembled ingredients. Notice the prominent placement of the Welch’s products. Yes, I did actually get the proper products!
Getting ready to sift together the dry ingredients. Except for the jam, this pretty much looked like a standard spice cake recipe to me!
Creaming the shortening. No butter in this recipe!
The sugar and shortening creaming. And there is a LOT of sugar in this recipe.
Oh, and here’s more sugar! Over a cup of grape jam. Wow.
Mixing in the grape jam and eggs. Notice the pretty purple color.
Now here is where it gets fun, kind of like a science experiment. As I started adding the buttermilk and dry ingredients, the batter started changing color.
Still a little purple, but not much anymore.
Adding the final buttermilk.
The batter mixed up and ready for the pans. It is now only slightly purple.
Three pans full of batter, ready for the oven. It is going to be a big cake!
The cakes, fresh from the oven. I love my little wall oven because it keeps its temp really well, but I hate having to shuffle pans around while they are baking. All three of my cakes fell! Rrrrr….thank goodness for frosting!
Assembling cake. I decided to use a cream cheese frosting instead of a butter or boiled icing like the recipe recommended. I thought it would taste good with the grape flavor of the cake, and make umm…..the cake taste good if it really didn’t. 🙂
Here is another small change I made to the recipe. I normally don’t make changes, but I figured using the rest of the grape jam as filling for the cake would be allowable.
Popping the lid on the cake.
Adding the cream cheese icing.
Mixing up the “Lavender coconut”, adding grape juice concentrate. I also decided to change a bit here, instead of mixing it in a bowl like the directions recommended, I tossed it in a plastic bag like I was breading chicken. It was a lot less mess!
Applying the coconut to the cake. By this point, everything was really, really sticky!
The coconut applied to the sides of the cake. I didn’t bother smoothing out the cream cheese icing when I applied it since I knew that the coconut was going to be smashed on there anyway. And it is a good thing I didn’t, because it was so humid and sticky out that without the rough spots the coconut would have rolled right off!
The finished cake, with coconut on the sides and top!
I actually really like how it looks at this point. My grandma would have loved this for a birthday cake, she always loved purple so much!
Ok, so, the cake is finished with no major problems. It smells pretty good, it looks pretty, and Tom is chomping at the bit to get a piece of it. So, I pick up the knife, cut into it, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…..
It’s green inside.
“Holy cow!” I dropped the knife. “Look at it! How did that happen??!?!”
Tom leaned over it, poked it and sniffed it. “Yep, it’s green all right.”
Look at this! It almost matches the plate!
Maybe it was the mixture of cloves and grape jam. Maybe it was the heat from the oven. Maybe it was the other purples of the cake that made the cake itself LESS purple. Either way, that sucker was GREEN!
But Tom is undetered by the color change. He dug in with excitement. Probably even more excitement then if we would have cut it and it would have been purple.
“So,” I asked, “how is it?”
He chewed for a while. “It tastes like cream cheese, ” he said. “And it is really sweet.” He took a couple more bites. “And there is something else.”
I took a bite, and chewed. “That would be the cloves,” I said.
“There is a lot of cloves, aren’t there?”
I couldn’t reply. My mouth was stuck closed with grape jam and cream cheese icing.
The Verdict: Good. Tasted like cloves, sugar and cream cheese. Not sure what it would be like without the cream cheese icing. I never really got a mouthful where I said, “That tastes like grape.” And then there was the disturbing green color.
My unfinished piece. But don’t worry, Tom took care of the leftovers.