Treasure Chest Cake

Welcome to my new mid-week post! This is designed to do several things:

To begin with, over the past year or longer, I have talked often about various foods without giving you the recipe. In these posts, I will give you the recipe that comes closest to being what I talk about, or what I had in mind.

Especially here in our island state that relies heavily on imported goods, we are working toward better self-sustainability. So another purpose for these mid-week posts will be to share ideas with you on how you can use what you grow or buy locally.

Then, I have many recipes that have been handed down from several generations back, plus recipes that have been given to me by church members – recipes for food they have brought to church suppers or shared with my clergy family over the generations. These are too good to lose, and they may bring you a bit of nostalgia as well.

If these mid-week recipes coax you into cooking or bring up memories, then I will have done my job! Please share your thoughts and feelings with me.

I’m going to start with a family favorite that came to my grandmother Pearl from one of the church members. The copy I have was written out by my mother on the back of an old church bulletin cover. I will copy the exact words and comments she adds in parentheses in the recipe, including her underlining. A lot of the ingredients as well as her comments bring a chuckle every time I read through them.

Pearl’s Treasure Chest Cake
(I always make twice this batch, some to eat hot and some to serve later)

1 c. sugar
1/3 c. shortening (cold bacon grease, or Crisco either, or combined)
1 egg
1 c. sour milk (put 1 tablespoon vinegar into 1 c. sweet milk)
1 scant teaspoon soda
2 c. flour
½ teaspoon allspice and a dash of cinnamon

Grind 1 whole orange rind and 1 c. raisins and add, along with the juice from the orange, to the batter, pour into greased, floured pan, and bake slowly 325˚ oven, until your finger doesn’t stay down on the bottom of pan if you test it! I use twice as much orange rind as this and more juice or water so it’s more moist.

Can add nuts if desired and budget allows. (I save up orange rinds from several meals then add some frozen juice and water sometimes.)

Lucy’s Note:
She doesn’t say what size pan to use, but a double batch does go into a 9X12 pan. Also, I would probably not use Crisco or bacon grease, but maybe one of the newer, healthier margarines. Sometimes I substitute canola oil for recipes that call for shortening, but here I think it doesn’t need the extra fluid. The extra orange juice makes this extremely moist and rich. The word “cake” could be misleading because it’s really not like a traditional cake. I cut it into squares and serve as a desert, maybe with a little Cool Whip on top, but it’s very dark and rich all on its own. As a child, I ate this so many times when one of our bishops came to visit, or when we took it to a church potluck supper.

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