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Unknown Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Subject: Here's a challenge for you - hope you can help!
From: Rick
Date: 1/13/2019, 10:39 AM

On 1/12/2019 3:05 PM, Rick wrote:

Ok, Uncle Phaedrus, I've been looking for a recipe for years and have not been able to find it.† 
I don't know what it's called.† But I will try to describe it.

A couple of dessert recipes that are similar would be tres leches cake and old fashioned bread 
pudding, but not either.

The one time I had it was about 35 years ago at a Sunday School fellowship.†There was a crumbly, 
coarse cake (similar to corn bread, but sweeter and not actually corn bread) involved. The person 
who brought the dessert broke up the cake into bowls and then poured a hot, sweet milk, vanilla 
and possibly buttery sauce over the broken up cake for serving.† Very simple and very good, 
especially on a cold, Kentucky winter's night.

Do you think you might be able to help me?


Hello Rick,

I did a lot of searching, but I am having no success at all with this. Clearly this is not just crumbled ordinary cornbread with a sweet vanilla sauce poured over it.

I will post this for reader input.† Perhaps someone has heard of it. More clues would be helpful.


On 1/13/2019 11:14 AM, Rick wrote:

Phaed. Thanks for spending time on this. I think the cake was just a simple cake made with flour 
(could have had cornmeal in it, but not sure) and intentionally less sweet and dry so that the hot, 
sweet milk/cream sauce could have a more dramatic effect. I do remember the cake was crumbly and 
not moist. It was also prepared in a single layer sheet pan. Was served to me in Louisville, 
Kentucky in the early 1980ís. The person who made it was a senior adult at the time so it may have 
been passed down from previous generations. 

Hi Rick,

Sad to say, if there was no cornmeal in it, that makes finding the particular recipe even more difficult. The less unique a recipe is, the more difficulty there may be in finding it. Many people may serve some kind of cake crumbled into bowls with some kind of vanilla & dairy sauce poured over it, but none of them may be exactly what you had. It could have been day-old pound cake with a generic vanilla sauce. Without a unique name or some unique ingredient, there is no way to tell. It may have even been two separate recipes, one for the cake and an unrelated one for the sweet sauce. If it was a family recipe that existed only in that person's family, then it may be lost.

We'll see what we get.


Subject: Unknown cake of 1/14/2019
From: Patricia
Date: 1/16/2019, 1:52 AM

Dear Phaedrus,
I am wondering if the unknown cake is actually what our family calls Hot Milk Cake. It is a 
light cake, made with plain cake flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, vanilla, milk and butter. 
Because the eggs are beaten for about 10 minutes, the texture is rather like cornbread, which 
is what made me think of it. I donít put or make a sauce for it but other family members have 
used lemon curd, confectioners sugar, warm cream, even flavored coffee milks.†

Re: Rick & his pudding/cake thing
From: Kristin 
Date: 1/18/2019, 1:29 AM

Say Uncle Phaedrus, I was wondering if Rick's mystery dessert wasn't just an ordinary trifle. 
That's what we used to do with day old cakes: break them up, pour pudding over them. Or a 
sauce. I think they were called "trifles", but there's also "parfaits", which I'm too lazy 
to look up the differences. Rick being a man, like a lot of men, they aren't familiar with 
recipes and food- so something they've never tried before or see often would be a puzzle to 
them. I think the practice of pouring a sauce over day old cake, or trifles and things, 
passed out of vogue with the influx of all the cheap snacks we can buy now. Not enough women 
bake, or use leftovers these days (not I! I am old fashioned- always have been!)
Love your website please keep it going. It's such a fun resource and so interesting.
One thing maybe that will help you - or not, While searching for Fig Newton's homemade recipe 
I landed on Imperial Sugar's site. They have a page full of their old old recipe books to 
download entire PDFs for free! VINTAGE books- oldies.
†Imperial Sugar
who knows maybe our Rick's recipe's there someplace. I'm sure it was just ordinary cake with 
pudding poured on it. It's a popular Pot Luck dish.
Oh- PS- I don't know if you read of this already, but the wonderful woman who made the site 
"FoodTimeline" Lynn Olver passed away three years ago?? Her website was- is! my alltime 
favorite food history site Food Timeline
You probably already know of that site. If not, be careful as it's too easy to lose a valuable 
portion of one's precious time spent reading so many sorts of historical facts on food and 
recipes. I get a big kick out of it and every time I visit it I find something new.

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