I was visiting with an elderly Amish couple last week in, the Berne, Indiana area. We had a nice visit, the Amish woman told me about her family, did some yodeling and just generally made me feel very welcome. She also fed me. Cookies. Pie. And as if she didn’t think I weighed enough, out came the cake. When I saw the cake I commented on how beautiful it was but, trust me, I was NOT hinting for a piece. I was already full from cookies and pie. But, sure enough, the woman generously responds:
“You want a piece?”
“Oh, no…you’ve been too kind already, this cake hasn’t even been cut, I don’t want you to to cut it on my account!” I said.
“But I just baked the cake this morning in case anyone dropped by,” she said. In my years visiting Amish homes I’ve found that it is kind of common for an Amish homemaker to have some cake and cookies just “on hand” in case someone stops by. And usually someone does!
SIGH. So I guess I was the “anyone” she made the cake for. This woman also has over 80 grandchildren, many of them living nearby so chances are the cake wouldn’t last long. But I was curious as to how Christmas is celebrated with 80 grandkids. My parents go a bit crazy shopping for their grandchildren, but they only have three. Can’t imagine they would go too crazy if they had 80. I don’t think anyone could afford to go too hog-wild with that many.
“We give them all a bag of candy and cookies,” she said-matter-of-factly. And the grandkids are excited to get it. Really neat to hear in our materialistic culture of kids still getting excited over candy.
I did ask her for her cake recipe, which she generously shared. And I headed back home. Full.
Serves: 1 cake
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups cake flour
- ½ cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Blend sugar, flours, milk powder, baking powder, and salt with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
- May take awhile to do!
- Add butter and vanilla until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13 cake pan.
- Beat the prepared cake mix with a wooden spoon, 1¼ cups warm water and 2 large room-temperature eggs until the mixture is smooth.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-27 minutes for two 9-inch layer cakes, 35 mins for a 9 X 13 cake pan. Cool the cake in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.
- Cool completely.
- Add your favorite frosting and sprinkles.