Today one of my students, who happens to be from a South American country, a place with a hot climate, noted that it was pretty warm out today so I took the opportunity to explain the word balmy to the class. We all had a good laugh at the fact that we live in a cruel, strange world where we think 30º is warm. Even those of us from South America. But compared to the cold temperatures we endured last week, it is downright balmy out!
When the temperatures climb above 15º, I usually try to walk home from work. Yesterday was just such a day. On my leisurely walk home I remembered that I had book club later in the evening and that I should really bring some food to share. I was thinking of making a nice citrus salad, but alas, didn’t have many of the ingredients on hand. That, coupled with the fact that I was feeling pretty lazy – too lazy to chop a few oranges – left me with few options. I mean really. If you can’t handle chopping a couple of oranges, the cooking options are looking a little bleak. I considered baking something, but that lazy component kept rearing it’s ugly head. I didn’t want to make cookies – too much work!
But then, wouldn’t you know, Grandma came to the rescue. I was flipping through the cards, hoping for some inspiration and there it was – Crazy Cake! “Sift flour, sugar, soda, cocoa and salt in an ungreased pan”. Wait a second! No bowl? I can mix this thing up in the pan?! And it will be ready in 40 minutes? And be delicious?! Crazy! I always wondered why this was called Crazy Cake, when for all those years I thought it was just a good chocolate cake with a delicious caramel frosting. Nothing too outrageous or anything, but now I know the real reason for it’s name. Between the ingredients and the method, it is a little crazy!
Grandma used to make this cake for us all the time. One bite into this last night and I remembered just how much she made it. I haven’t had it in years, but it tasted exactly like I remembered. Rich, moist, chocolaty, and that caramely frosting…so good! Actually, it’s VVG!
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. oil
2 c. cold water
Sift flour, sugar, soda, cocoa and salt into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Make 3 holes in the dry ingredients. Pour vanilla into one, vinegar into another, and divide the oil between all three. Pour cold water over the entire mixture. Blend with a fork. Do not beat. Bake at 350º for 35 – 40 minutes.
Quick Caramel Frosting
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. milk
2 c. powdered sugar (sifted ??)*
Melt butter in sauce pan. Add brown sugar. Boil over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk, continue stirring until it comes to a boil. Remember to cool. Then add powdered sugar, beat after each addition.
* I’m not sure why Grandma had these questions marks after the powdered sugar. She sifted everything. There was no question in that. And she measured everything perfectly. I’m also not sure what the underlining was all about on this one, but I definitely remembered to let it cool.
I only used one cup of powdered sugar last night because I felt I was going into some sort of hyperglycemic shock just thinking about all of the sugar in that frosting and guess what – it was still good. Yes, Dad. I wrote this for you. Minus one cup of sugar and still edible! In fact, tasty! Believe it!!