My mom was a cook. That, I believe, was her identity. She loved to cook for her family and, when she needed to work outside the home, she worked in the cafeteria at Clifton Hills Elementary School on Rossville Boulevard [in Chattanooga, Tennessee]. By taking some classes, she became a cafeteria manager in the city school system. Cooking was her life, and she loved food. The one thing that probably stands out in the minds of her relatives and friends is Mom's white fruit cake. I should probably put that in capital letters: "White Fruit Cake." She learned to make it from her mother Inez, my Grandma Reynolds. Here's the recipe:The stories I gave to Brandy, Kenzie, and Cady will have to wait until I find them again. After typing this last week, I put the spiral-bound booklet in a "safe place" until I had time to finish typing this blog post, and now I can't find that "safe place." I spent nearly an hour this evening searching through papers, under piles of magazines, in the other room, anywhere I could imagine, and I simply cannot find those seven stories. The booklet is here somewhere, so maybe next week I'll post "the rest of the stories."
White Fruit Cake1/2 to 1 lb. candied cherries (chopped fine)
1/2 lb. ground shelled pecans
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sweet milk (or water)
1 tsp. flavoring (vanilla or almond extract)
5 egg whites, beaten
Fresh grated coconut
Milk of fresh coconut
Mix and bake in usual manner for white cake: Cream butter and sugar together until thoroughly creamed. Add dry ingredients, alternating with milk, into the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add cherries, pecans, and flavoring. [To keep cherries from sinking to bottom of cake, first lightly flour the pieces with part of the flour.] Gently fold in egg white. After cake is cooled, pour milk of fresh coconut over both layers. Ice with 7-Minute Frosting and cover with fresh grated coconut. Add cherries on top to decorate it. Good served with boiled egg custard that is thin and runny, made with 5 egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup milk per egg, and nutmeg.
In case you want to make this yourself, here's how we did it when I was a kid. Mom always got a fresh coconut. We kids would take it out to the sidewalk and pound away at it with a hammer, working hard to break the tough outer shell of the coconut. Once that was off, we would drive an ice pick into a couple of the three "eyes" of the now-hairy-looking coconut. Then we'd carefully pour the coconut "milk" into a glass, complaining loudly when the coconut didn't produce much milk because that would affect the taste and moisture of the cake. Then, tired, we'd go play and let Mother go about the real work of producing the cake as described above. It really is best with the custard. Everyone enjoyed the soft, moist "white fruit cake" better than the hard, dark ones with lots of tough fruit, even though the only fruit in Mom's cake were coconut and cherries.
This looks sort of like white fruit cake.