Monday, January 9, 2012

Chocolate pound cake

From Cousin Butch Clark:
Aunt Marjorie's Chocolate Pound Cake Of Love
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1/2 cups cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour tube or bundt pan
Sift together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.
Cream together butter and shortening.
Slowly add sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Slowly add milk and flour mixture, alternating between the two, mixing well in between.
Pour batter into pan.
Place on middle rack of preheated oven, bake for one and a half to two hours. Check after one and a half hour. See if a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If not, bake another half hour.
Here is the story behind this recipe:
I'd say I was about fifteen years old or so when I asked for and was rewarded with a hand-written copy of this recipe.
Our great-aunt Marjorie, besides being  a naturalist extraordinaire and a walking, perpetually-talking library, was a pretty dang good cook.
Her mother, our "Momma Goolsby", was a resident of a very small nursing home in Gainesboro, Tennessee. Twenty-five residents in all, I believe.
Every so often, Aunt Marjorie and her sister, my grandmother, known to us as "Babo", would load a few of us heathens in Babo's big Cherokee and away we would go for a day long excursion to visit Mama Goolsby.
These trips were some of the best times I ever had during my youth. My sister, Cindy and cousin, Kelly and myself, cutting up, laughing, enjoying one another's company while Babo and Aunt Marjorie chatted away in the front seat.
We always took Mama Goolsby to her favorite diner down the road apiece, where she always ordered a cheeseburger and french fries. The tiny restaurant had miniature juke-boxes on each table, which I found fascinating.
After lunch, we would load back up and drive around, periodically stopping alongside the small river there, disembarking to look for arrowheads, fossils and geodes. We always brought back hundreds of pounds of geodes. I'm sure everyone in our family still has a few in their flower gardens.
At some point, Mama Goolsby would break out Aunt Marjorie's chocolate pound cake and enjoy a piece or two, sharing it with us, of course and saving half to take back to her room to share with her friends.
Well, I got hooked on Aunt Marjorie's cake and raved about it so much she would actually bake two cakes and let me take one home to our house at the end of the day.
She finally succumbed to my repeated requests for the recipe and wrote it out for me. It is a treasured momento, written in Aunt Marjorie's hand, much more than a simple cake recipe. It is a recipe for how to care for one another.
The rich aroma of this cake baking always induces a flood of memories of the sweet times spent with precious family members no longer here on this Earth. I believe with this particular recipe, you can indeed have your cake and eat it too.

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