You have probably heard the seasonal music playing in the stores and elevators around town and couldn’t believe how the momentous day seems to arrive earlier and earlier each year. The familiar smells of the season catch your notice as they waft through the kitchens of your neighborhood and you begin to realize…yup, its time.
Yes, its National Bundt Day today. Once again my clearly demented blog friend Mary, The Food Librarian, is leading the charge to celebrate her favorite baking art form: The Bundt Cake. Mary’s devotion to the iconic round cake is certainly unrivaled even if it does leave me shaking my head in wonderment at her energy levels each year. Every bundt season she offers up her bundt 30 days in a row culminating today when all those who are celebrating with her offer up their own. Its a regular bundt orgy.
Last year‘s National Bundt Day post had a short footnote about about my grandmother’s bundt pan (the oldest pan I own) and how, despite it being one of those cheap supermarket pans made of a lightweight aluminum and showing sufficient signs of wear and tear, I’ll probably never get rid of it. She probably had a dozen of them during her lifetime but this was the one she had at the end so, in my mind, she had it forever. I’m just too sentimental about it to get rid of it.
It seemed fitting for this year’s effort to share with you the only cake she ever made in it: She called it “Bundt Cake Gladys” but you can call it Vanilla Bourbon Bundt Cake. Just know that I never will.
Grandmother’s handwritten recipe books were a tribute to the many friendships she forged throughout her life. All of her old lady friends I remember from my childhood are named throughout its pages. Those were the days when the best way to get delicious recipes was simply to swap them with your friends — and she did a lot it. Each recipe was attributed to the friend who gave it to her by renaming the dish itself in her friend’s honor. A quick look through the book will get you such delights as “Persimmon Cookies Mary Alice”, “Lobster Bisque Babs”, and “Oysters Winifred”. There was never any reference as to where Mary Alice, Babs, or Winifred themselves got the recipe. I’m sure my grandmother didn’t care. (Bloggers take note.)<
Not all of the recipes from her friends would be considered all that edible by today’s standards…or mine frankly. “Meatloaf Billie” (made with packaged onion soup mix and a can of “mixed vegetable medley”), and “Beef Stroganoff Maudie” (one of many items featuring cream of mushroom soup) just haven’t made it into my weekly rotation the way they did her’s. The previously mentioned “Lobster Bisque Babs” actually calls for combining three kinds of Campbell’s Soup and adding cooked lobster! She insisted it was quite enjoyable, but I never let her prove it to me.
I’m quite sure had she lived long enough to see the emmergence of cable TV personalities she would have loved Sandra Lee. I’m also pretty sure that this would have caused me more pain than anything else she could have done.
But “Bundt Cake Gladys”? That cake is another matter entirely.
As children we were enthralled with its moist texture and sweet, pecan candy-like topping. Sure it had some bourbon in it (or rum) but not so much that Child Services would need to get involved.
As adults we were horrified to learn that she made it by doctoring up a yellow cake mix.
How horrible! How tacky to use a mix! How unhealthy! How… um, can I have another piece?
Yeah, we hated ourselves for loving it so much but we just couldn’t help it. Even today when I bring this to a family gathering we laugh at how it is an odd throwback to another time. We chuckle at the notion of ‘foodies’ such as ourselves, precise and descriminating tastes, sitting down to a big chunk of Pillsbury stuffed with Jello Instant Pudding! …and then we have a second piece.
I know I could take the time to figure out the recipe using scratch ingredients (its a basic chiffon cake), in truth I know my sentimentality extends to more than just the pan, but also to the recipe itself and the photocopy of the hand scribbled notes my grandmother left behind. The recipe was, more than likely, found on the mix box but for which she named after her longtime friend, Gladys.
Vanilla Bourbon Bundt Cake aka Bundt Cake Gladys
Be sure to mosey on to Mary’s blog, The Food Librarian, and check out the celebration that is National Bundt Day. (I’ll see you there ’cause I’m going to have to talk her out of that egg nog bundt cake recipe she featured yesterday. OMG!)
What are you doing to celebrate National Bundt Day? Do you have any similar doctored up food recipes of yesteryear that you continue to enjoy today?