One of my earliest memories comes from my grandparents' house. Nannie put me in the crib for a nap, and she covered me up and tucked me in. I was feeling really hot and wondering if it would be okay with her if I kicked the covers off. I remember thinking that Nannie wouldn't have covered me if I wasn't supposed to be covered. (I must have been a cooperative child!) Then I got an idea. Maybe if I pressed the covers very neatly against the edges of the crib, she wouldn't be upset. I think I didn't want to hurt her feelings by undoing something she had so carefully done.
Years later, as an adult, I was having one of those "shared memory" sessions with my grandmother when I mentioned the memory I just described. "Oh my God," she shouted, you were only 12 months old! She said, "I remember that so well. When I went upstairs to check on you all the covers were pressed neatly to the crib edges. I thought to myself, 'this baby is smarter than I am.' I felt so guilty for trying to suffocate you in that warm room."
I asked if she was sure I was only 12 months old, and she insisted it was correct. "I'll never forget that," she said. Yikes. That should give parents something to consider.
I'm so sorry I never got that raisin cake recipe. I've been collecting recipes for boiled raisin cake for years, and today, with all of them spread before me, I attempted to make a cake. When I mixed the spices together and pressed my finger into them and then to my tongue, it was like a light coming on in the room. I could taste Nannie's cake in those simple spices. So I made the cake, and I'm happy to say the taste was right, but sorry to say the texture was WRONG. The original cake was very firm—almost hard. It had a very tight crumb, and you could slice it ultra thin and hold it in your hand. The cake I baked was soft like an ordinary cake. It's a delicious cake, but not the one I was looking for. And the shape was wrong. The hole in the center was much too large. I'm posting this recipe because it's good, but will have to try again to create the cake I'm after. I think it was more of a pound cake. And I need a new pan.
Boiled raisin cake
- 1-1/2 cups seedless raisins
- water to cover raisins
- 1/4 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
- 1 cup evaporated cane juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, sifted before measuring
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
- Put the raisins in a saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until most of the water has evaporated. (about 20 minutes)
- Remove from heat and add margarine, sugar, salt, cocoa and spices.
- Stir in flour.
- Dissolve baking soda in boiling water and add to mix.
- Place in greased tube pan or 9" square pan.
- Mix together the cocoa, cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Swirl it onto and into the cake with a knife. (I used about half of the mixture.)
- Bake at 350˚ for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake tests done.