(Editor’s note: This submission is from the book “Recipes and Remembrances” published by the Point Pleasant Writers Guild. Each story ends with a timely recipe.)
The spicy smell wafted from the kitchen and filled the air in the whole house with reminders that Christmas was coming soon. The four dark haired, brown-eyed girls were in varying states of anticipation for the coming holiday. Marilyn was twelve years old and no longer asking Santa for a doll. Books were higher on her list along with clothes. You may think twelve is old to be asking Santa for anything, but we were advised that when we quit believing in Santa we stopped getting presents. “I still believe.” Carol, Barbara, and Becky, at eight, six, and four, poured over the Spiegel catalog to pick their special doll.
Fudge, chocolate and peanut butter, had been made along with cookies of all varieties. These were wrapped, boxed, and put on the basement steps to stay cool until the special day. These goodies would appear along with nuts, oranges, bananas, chocolates, and hard candy in the four stockings that were hung on the bookcase due to the absence of a fireplace.
The cake that was baking was a wonderful spice cake, a special cake that mom made every year at Christmas time. The aromatic cake batter was poured into an aluminum-baking pan in the shape of a Christmas tree. The decorating of this cake was something Mom took pride in. She would make a buttercream icing and tint it green to look like a tree. Then she made a little chocolate icing for the trunk.
This particular year Mom was taking her cake to a Christmas dinner at church, so she was giving it the special treatment. “There, just a little more green color to make it really pop.” Then she cut a yellow gumdrop in the shape of a star for the top. She added assorted cake decorating colored sugars and little silver sugar balls among other edible decorations to make the cake beautiful, a sight to behold.
The cake was a work of art and everyone at the church dinner “oohed and aahed.” They were anxious to get a taste of Mom’s wonderful Christmas cake. It was finally cut, and everyone there had to have a piece. Ah, a little slice of heaven from my childhood.
One of the funniest moments of my Christmas memories was after everyone finished consuming the beautiful cake…everybody there had a green mouth and teeth from the extra dollop of food coloring added to make the cake a beautiful evergreen color.
The Christmas Tree Cake
1-teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup butter
Add applesauce mixture and mix in:
½ coup chopped nuts
½ cup raisins
Batter will be thick and heavy. Spoon into greased Christmas shaped pan and bake at 375 F degree for 45 minutes or until inserted pick comes out clean. Cool the cake before icing it. Remove it from the pan. Then cover it with green icing and decorate with Christmas edibles.
Note: Be sure to use a large bowl for the soda and applesauce, it expands, and it is okay if it turns brown.