Friday, May 20, 2011

Lemon Cake

Well, here is some good laughter for you! This recipe card is from my father's mother, Grandma Utterback. Most of my father's side of the family lived in the Bay area of California and we didn't get up to visit them often. When we did we usually took the ocean route, Hwy 101 - Pacific Coast Highway.

Coastline of California during the 1960's.

I loved looking at all that water! Beautiful scenery most of the way! In our family we would camp overnight at a beach campsite. We tried different ones each time. The foggiest was Morro Bay.

My siblings at Morro Bay, it was always cold there.

The waves crashing was interesting to listen to during the evening hours. We also stayed at Big Sur more than once and met other family members there. When we camped at Big Sur we also visited Hearst Castle, beautiful place. My father made sure we visited all the missions of California during our summer camping.

My family and cousin Buddy Armstrong's family at Big Sur. Where is Buddy and family now?

I loved our summer vacations. During the day we would visit the area around where we were camped. Most often we would tailgate our lunches as we were travling to the next campsite. Down in the LA area where we lived, we didn't have the Safeway stores that northern CA did and for some reason we always shopped at that store when we were on vacation. Mom said at least she knew we could get good groceries from Safeway. (Funny isn't it the things I remember from my childhood.) I think, as we visited the Missions, we were all pretty bored, but as I got older and was learning them in 5th grade I was able to share pictures we had taken of them.

Santa Inez mission, about 1965.

Now as an adult I have revisited some and appreciated them more. I have many family members who have lived all over California, so the history of CA is important to me. It brings out the history of what some of my family members went through from the late 1860's to present. That is another story, but for now back to this recipe.
There are two recipes for this cake in my mom's box. One written by my grandmother and the other by her daughter, my Aunt Shirley. So, I was at my daughter's yesterday and decided to take my grandmother's card.

Well, to my surprise the instructions made me think it was the Jello Poke cake from the late 70's, so I had it in my head to make it this way. That was a big mistake as I misinterpreted the instructions:
When cake is done take a fork and make holes over the entire top. Then pour over the lemon glaze. Juice of 2 lemons - pwd sugar enough to make a thin glaze. (That's it, the instructions.)
Next I looked at the ingredients:
1 box Swansdown Lemon Flake Cake Mix (I think Duncan Hines is now the Swansdown brand, maybe, anyone out there know for sure?)
1 box lemon jello
4 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
rind of 2 lemons
What would you do with this? Well as I mentioned I thought the jello was made up and poured through the cake, since you poked holes in it. After I made and baked the cake with the mix, eggs, water and oil, I let it cool a bit and made the jello up. Then took the liquid jello with the rind from the lemons and poured it over the baked cake. And then instead of the lemon glaze, I just frosted it. It was good, just a little watery. I kept the cake refrigerated so the jello would set up.
When I got home and read Aunt Shirley's recipe, it made more sense and I knew what I did wrong. Too funny!

New instructions:
Mix all above. (So you mix the cake mix, 4 eggs, and dried box of jello, with the water, oil and rinds from the lemons - together!) Then bake in the 9x13" pan at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, not the 30 minutes I did. Then when the cake comes out of the oven, poke the holes and pour the glaze into it. The glaze is juice of the 2 lemons with enough powered sugar to make a thin glaze.
This makes more sense and I will be making this again.
In all reality, you could do what I have done for years, just make a regular lemon cake mix and use a glaze that you like. It taste the same and is much easier. Not all the extra oil and sugar (from the box of gelatin) plus you'll save an egg.
Lemon cake no matter how you make always taste refreshing!!!
I hope you have had a good laugh of my mix-up but enjoyed reliving some of my sweet camping memories!

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