Tag Archives: cake

Bake on Tuesday: Mae’s Cream Cake


So, this past week was Evva’s 7th birthday (my baby girl is growing up)!  And, even though I don’t think my cakes are anything spectacular (you should see my cousin Susan’s cakes), I have become known in the Hamilton family for making good cakes. I have an old Southern Living cake book, inherited from my grandmother, that I often use to find a good cake to make. Some of those recipes are quite old and complicated. However, I usually make the simplest cake possible–one where I don’t have to beat the egg whites separately and it comes together quickly and easily–with an easy buttercream icing. That usually means lots of butter to keep the cake moist and tender, which is fine by me. I love butter.


But, since I was doing this baking series, I thought I’d look in my great-grandmother’s recipes and see if she had a cake recipe that would be appropriate for a child’s birthday (a basic layer cake–no nuts or dried fruit). And, I found one: Mae’s Cream Cake. But, the recipe did not make sense to me–there was no butter! There was cream, though, so I went ahead and made the cake. Because there is not butter to cream, it had a different type of construction.

The cake was good, not the best I’ve ever made. Maybe a little on the dry side, but that was probably because I overcooked it. There was no baking time in the recipe, so I just tried to keep an eye on it, which is hard with many little ones running around needing help with projects, dressing, changing, etc., not to mention I was also trying to get my act together to get ready for a day out and about with children.


Anyway, everyone loved it. It was frosted with a chocolate buttercream and decorated by the little ones. It has now disappeared and I will probably make it again for another birthday.

I buttered and floured the pans, but ended up only using 2. My panes are 9″, so maybe 8″ pans would have made a three layer cake as the recipe indicates.

Folding in the egg whites.
My little taster was very eager to try the cake.

Little hands decorated the cake.

Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday, Evva!

And, here is the recipe with my notes added.

Mae’s Cream Cake
1 1/3 cup sweet cream
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 ½ cups flour measured after sifting
3 eggs
3 tsp. B. P. [this is baking powder, if anyone didn’t get it]
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat egg yolks till creamy
Add sugar, beat thoroughly, alternate cream and flour. Add beaten egg whites, save 1/3 cup sugar to beat in egg whites.
Bake in 3 layers.

**My notes begin**
So, if anyone did not really “get” this recipe, you are supposed to beat the egg yolks till creamy, then add 1 cup of sugar and beat again. Then add vanilla, then alternate adding flour (mixed with baking powder) with the cream, starting and ending with the flour (i.e. add 1/3 of flour mix, 1/2 of the cream, 1/3 of the flour, other 1/2 of cream, then finally the last 1/3 of flour–mixing each addition till just mixed in). Then beat the egg whites with 1/3 cup of sugar till soft peaks are formed, and fold the egg whites into the mix. I baked at 325 till done, but you could probably bake at 350.

Any bakers out there, chime in with tips on this type of cake, if you wish.

Also, family–who was Mae?


christmas cake

One of my new favorite Christmas foods is an Ohio Christmas Cake.  I found the recipe a few years ago when I was transcribing my great-grandmothers hand-written recipes.  I stumbled across it again last year when I was looking for Christmas cookie recipes.  Now, my grandmother (maternal) and her mother were known for their extensive Christmas cookie baking.  They would bake at least a half dozen types of cookies.  I remember chocolate covered peanut butter logs, fruitcake cookies, sticky sweet bar cookies, what we called St. Nick cookies but were really Mexican wedding cookies, molasses cut-out cookies, nutmeg cookies, and sugar cookies among the offerings.

But, back to the cake.  I liked the sound of it because my father (both my real father and step father) were from Ohio.  My step father loved fruitcake and the recipe resembled a fruitcake–lots of nuts, candied citrus peel, dried fruit, spices.   And, my grandmother (maternal) also always made fruitcake at Christmas, usually to give away as gifts.  One of my holiday baking memories is making fruitcake with her when I was about 9 years old.  She took me shopping for the ingredients and we made the cake together as a gift for my step-father.


I decided to make this Christmas cake last year in memory of my stepfather.  The recipe was obviously old.  It only listed ingredients (such as “one glass jelly” and “candied citron”), and then said “bake in slow oven”.  I consulted with a local professional baker about the recipe and she helped me decide how to go about making the cake.  She also suggested making a half or even quarter recipe since it was a large recipe with expensive ingredients (pounds of nuts and candied fruit).  So, I spent about a  week making the recipe.  First, I made orange-ginger marmalade for the “glass jelly”, then I candied orange and lemon peel.  I did not know what candied citron was, though I saw it on-line for $15/half pound.  Finally I mixed up half a recipe.  I made it into small loaves to give to grandparents and my father-in-law as gifts.  I kept one small loaf for myself.  William and I tried it and fell in love.  I made another half batch just for us.  It had a great flavor, was not heavy or too sweet.  The candied citrus was wonderful in the cake–fresh and bright and a little bitter.  It was not a fruitcake, though.  It was a fruity, nutty, citrus-y cake that was not as dense, sweet, moist, or rummy as a fruit cake.  That may sound like a turn-off for fruitcake lovers, but they would be missing out.

citrus an nuts

I made the cake again this year–a full recipe.  I gave some away as gifts, but kept at least half for us.  We keep the cake cool and eat thin slices a few times a week–sometimes for breakfast or afternoon snack.  I almost crave it at times.


It will become a holiday tradition for me.  I plan to make it each year and enjoy the cake until it is gone, then wait until the next December to enjoy it again.