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Montevideo American-News
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CAKE AND CONVERSATION
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By Linda Bassett
Author and culinary school teacher Linda Bassett provides recipes for and tips on the season's freshest ingredients. She is the author of \x34From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.\x34 Reach her by email at KitchenCall@aol. ...
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Kitchen Call
Author and culinary school teacher Linda Bassett provides recipes for and tips on the season's freshest ingredients. She is the author of \x34From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.\x34 Reach her by email at KitchenCall@aol.com.
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Oct. 8, 2012 12:01 a.m.



 

Last week, a colleague asked for a dessert recipe for her book club.  Reading a book about World War II, she needed something from that period in history.  I love the idea of matching the food to the book.  It kind of centers the discussion.

How I envy that!  I’ve belonged to two book clubs in my life.  The first started out with a bang.  We read “Under the Tuscan Sun” and everyone brought a recipe from the book.  We set up outdoors, set the table in the colors of the Tuscan countryside complete with bouquets of sunflowers.  We talked for hours in the August sunshine and had a wonderful time.  Then we picked a new book and met again.  I guess nothing could live up to that first, magical meeting. By the time we met, we had moved the date of the meeting so often that it was late fall and rainy. Only a few had read the book and the talk veered way off course.  We never met again.

My second book club chose a book, chose a date and rescheduled.  Rescheduled again.  And again.  We have still not met.

Here’s the dessert recipe I recommended to my colleague.  At first glance, it doesn’t seem delicious, but read the ingredients and it shows itself to be an innovative version of a spice cake.   It was originally a product of the Great Depression, but lasted through World War II when home cooks saved their rations for something special.  In the absence of ingredients, this cake was originally topped with a light scattering of powdered sugar.  Later, it was revived and topped with cream cheese frosting.  And now, I’ve heard, but have not yet tried, a revival as a cupcake.  Wow!  This one has staying power.

TOMATO SOUP CAKE

Makes a 2-layer cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/3 cups sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

a 10-3/4 ounce can tomato soup

1/2 cup shortening

2 large eggs

1/4 cup water



  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, shaking out any excess flour.






  •  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves.  Add the soup, shortening, eggs, and water.  Beat together into a smooth batter.  Pour into cake pans.






  •  Bake, 35 to 40 minutes.  The cake is done when the tester (a toothpick or a thin skewer) comes out clean after piercing into the center.






  •  Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack, 10 minutes.  Remove the cakes from the pans; and finish cooling on wire racks for 2 hours before frosting them with your favorite cream cheese frosting.




 

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