Saturday, October 17, 2009

Besty-Tacy Unfrosted Cake

I've had my first real request for this blog: from the Besty-Tacy books, could I replicate Mrs. Kelly's unfrosted cake?  Well, I tried.

First off, I went to the library and got Besty-Tacy and Besty-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace, the first two books in a series that I'd never read before.  Having read the first two, I'm really surprised I'd never read them before, because they're right up my alley.  (While I was there, I also picked up Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, which I had also never read.  How did these slip past me?)

Anyway, after I read the books, I found that the only real description given of the cake is that it's unfrosted and good to take on picnics.  I was thinking to myself, what kind of cake would be good without frosting and not too crumbly to take on picnics?  Maybe lemon cake.. but lemons weren't readily available to people in Minnesota at the turn of the century.  Apples, on the other hand, were all over the place.  I found a good apple butter cake recipe with a brown sugar and cinnamon topping and middle, and thought that, perhaps that was just the thing. 

I'm not sure how accurate this recipe is to the time period, but it is a good solid unfrosted cake.  If this doesn't fit your mind's-eye picture of what this cake should be, let me know and I'll try again, but for now...

Mrs. Kelly's Unfrosted Cake
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup apple butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup wheat germ or rolled oats
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs, beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray or grease one 9x13 inch pan or one bundt pan. 
2. Prepare the topping by mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped nuts.  Set aside. 
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
4. Blend together butter and sugar; add eggs and beat well. Add the apple butter, vanilla, and wheat germ or rolled oats, and mix to combine. 
5. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, mixing well after each addition. 
6.  Pour half the batter into the pan and sprinkle half the topping over the top. Pour remaining batter and top with remaining topping. (Note: If you use a bundt pan, you'll want to reverse the layers, so the topping is on the bottom when baking, which is the top when you flip the cake out.)
7. Bake for 40 minutes. 

I know this is a longer and more detailed recipe than  usual, but it isn't difficult, and I think it's worth it in the end.  This recipe did come out pretty sweet, so I think you could cut down on the sugar in the topping and still have a good dessert-quality cake. 

I hope I did Mrs. Kelly's unfrosted cake justice.  I considered making Everything Pudding, but I didn't want to deal with the cleanup, so we're going to leave that one out.

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