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Thin Layer Cake

-----Original Message----- 
From: Marye 
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2014 8:36 AM
Subject: Lost cake recipe from Dallas paper

Dear Uncle Phaedrus,
Many years ago, when Dallas had two newspapers, my mother sent me a recipe 
for a cake that was baked on the upside down bottom of cake pans.  I don’t 
recall if the recipe came from the Dallas Morning News or the Dallas Times 
Herald, but I suspect it was the Herald.  The batter was a little thinner 
than a normal cake batter.  I remember making over 20 layers or “leaves” 
before I quit.  The frosting between each layer was chocolate (is there any 
other flavor?) and I recall that it was glossy.  The cake had crisp edges 
and the inner portion was tender and moist.  It was fun to bake and even 
better to eat.  But, alas, shortly after making this totally different cake, 
we moved overseas and the recipe was lost.  I’ve searched for “Thousand Leaf 
Torte” but those recipes are definitely not what I am searching for.  Can 
you help this sweet little white-haired old lady find this recipe and 
re-live her memories of days gone by?  Besides, this has become a quest not 
unlike Don Quixote’s!
Thank you,

Hi Marye,

The most difficult thing in locating a specific cake recipe is to obtain enough unique information about it to sort through the thousands of cake recipes that are available. Having the exact name of the recipe is perhaps the most helpful information. Sometimes people don't give me all of the information up front, which ties my hands unnecessarily. I'm going to assume that you don't remember any additional information about the cake and that it did not contain any fruit or nuts or unusual flavorings or spices in either the cake or the frosting. That doesn't leave much, but if that's all there is, then it can't be helped.

I did not find any recipe for a cake with exactly 20 layers that fit your description. I did not find any cake recipe with multiple thin layers that made any mention of a Dallas newspaper.

I am a bit confused by a couple of things that you mention. You call the layers "leaves" twice. Was "leaves" in the name of the cake? Also, I 'm not quite sure what you mean by "baked on the upside down bottom of cake pans". If you mean simply turning the pan over and using the bottom surface for cooking the cake, then what kept the "thin batter" from running off the edge? Are you referring to a particular type of cake pan?

There is a type of cake called a "crepe cake," if that means anything to you. However, these tend to not be just cake and frosting - the recipes that I saw have additional things like nuts or fruit. If "crepe cake" rings a bell with you, let me know and I will look further.

I found a couple of cakes that might be similar by discounting the "20 layers" and simply looking for "thin layer cakes". These tend to have more than 10 layers, but not more than 20. The first two have photos of the cakes involved. See:

Chocolate Little Layer Cake

14 Layer Cake

Thin Layer Cakes

You might also look at recipes for "Smith Island Cake":

Washington Post


Cooking Channel TV


Gwen sent some recipes using the technique of baking the layers on the bottom of a pan:

The recipe attached to the photograph is here: Dobosch Torte

Below are the recipes from my files that fit the description. 


1/2 lb sweet butter, or margarine softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup A-P flour
2 tsps pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste, optionally one may add 1/2 tsp almond extract in addition)

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one by one and beat until smooth. Add flour and vanilla, 
gently stirring to incorporate, do not overbeat. 

Butter and flour the underside of an 8'' or 9" round cake pan, and spread batter over the surface to about a 
1/8'' thickness with an offset spatula (turn the pan upside down and spread the batter on the flat round underside 
of the pan). Bake in the middle of oven for only 7 to 9 minutes. Sides and edges should not brown.  Loosen layers 
with spatula and invert onto a cake rack. Repeat to use up all the batter, re-greasing the pan as needed. As layers 
cool, stack the layers with parchment, slightly sprayed with baking spray, or wax paper between each layer. 
Keep stack from drying out by covering with a clean tea towel. 


1 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2/3 cup water
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup dark unsweetened cocoa
2 tsp vanilla
1 lb sweet butter or margarine, cut into small pieces and softened to room temperature
pinch of salt

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cream of tartar, and water. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved, 
then bring the syrup to a boil (238F on a candy thermometer) over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks 
until they pale and begin to ribbon, about 3 or 4 minutes. While the eggs are still beating, pour the hot syrup 
into the eggs in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until mixture cools to room temperature, about 10-15 minutes. 
When the mixture changes to a thick, smooth cream, add cocoa, vanilla, and pinch of salt until incorporated, then 
add butter, piece by piece, until fully incorporated. Immediately transfer to a clean bowl, cover and place in the 
refrigerator to chill until ready to assemble. You may make the filling in advance.

Caramel Glaze
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water

Set the cleanest edged and most even cake layer on a wire rack over a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan. Mix sugar and 
water in a small saucepan, cook until sugar begins to caramelize to medium golden brown, then swiftly pour it over the 
cake layer. Mark 16 equal wedges on the cake layer with a buttered knife, let cool slightly, then cut along marks.

To assemble, spread 1/8"  of frosting between each cake layer. Continue layering, ice the exterior, and finish with the 
glazed wedges, propped up under rosettes of icing. With extra frosting, pipe decoration on edges and around the base. 
Store cake chilled.
Drum Cake (Dobos Torta)  

12 eggs
12 tbsp. sugar
12 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. hot water
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Separate eggs. Add water and sugar to yolks and beat until very light. Sift flour and baking powder together and 
add to yolk mixture by folding in. No hard mixing. Stiffly beat the egg whites and carefully fold the flour mixture 
in until softly blended. Grease and flour the back of 8 or 9 inch cake pans and carefully spoon batter on the outside 
of the cake pan; do not let it run over the sides. Carefully put the cake in a 350 degrees and when baked, cook and 
layer with icing. Can also be baked in cookie sheet lined with brown paper.

1 lb. box powdered sugar
1 lb. butter, must be butter
5 tbsp. cocoa
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Mix and spread between layers
Dobos Torte

Cream yolks of six eggs with one-half pound of powdered sugar; add three-fourths cup of flour sifted three times; 
then add beaten whites of six eggs lightly and carefully into the mixture. Butter pie plates on under side and 
sprinkle with flour lightly over the butter and spread the mixture very thin. This amount makes one cake of twelve 
layers. Remove layers at once with a spatula.

Filling.--Cream one-half pound of sweet butter and put on ice immediately; take one-half pound of sweet chocolate 
and break it into a cup of strong liquid coffee; add one-half pound of granulated sugar and let it boil until you 
can pull it almost like candy; remove from fire and stir the chocolate until it is quite cold. When cold add the
chocolate mixture to the creamed butter. This filling is spread thin between the layers, spread the icing thicker 
on top and sides of the cake. This is very fine, but care must be taken in baking and removing the layers, as layers 
are as thin as wafers. Bake and make filling a day or two before needed.
Dobas torte (from a 1971 newspaper article)

12 eggs 
12 tablespoons sugar 
Grated rind of one lemon 
12 tablespoons flour 

4 nine-inch cake tins 

Separate eggs, beat egg yolks with sugar and lemon rind until stiff. Fold flour into this mixture. Beat egg whites until 
stiff and fold into batter. Grease and flour well the outside bottoms of cake tins. Put 4 tablespoons of batter on cake 
pans and smooth out to edge. Bake at 350 degrees until sheet is a nice rosy color about 5 minutes. To take off pan slide 
knife around edge and under entire sheet and turn out on a table cloth. Makes 13 to 16 layers.
2 boxes powdered sugar 
cup cocoa 
pound sweet butter 
2 teaspoons vanilla 
2 tablespoons cold black coffee 
Sweet cream 

Mix powdered sugar and butter together until smooth. Add vanilla. Pour coffee slowly into mixture. Add enough cream till 
mixture is right spreading consistency. Spread between layers and top of last sheet.


Jane Parker's Vanilla Macaroon Cupcakes

-----Original Message----- 
From: Maureen
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014 6:57 PM
Subject: Jane Parker's vanilla macaroon cupcakes

Hi I noticed you had the recipe for Jane Parker's Spanish bar cake  is there 
any chance you know the recipe for the above  I used to love these as a 
child and keep looking in the stores for them

Hi Maureen,

Sorry, I had no success locating a recipe for these. The only mention of them that I could find was in old newspaper ads for A & P. I looked for any "vanilla macaroon cupcakes" recipes as well, but had no success.

I'll post this on the site in the hopes that a reader can assist.


I have a recipe titled Ms. Jane's Macaroon Cupcakes; maybe it is the same?        

Timm in Oregon

Ms. Jane’s Macaroon Cupcakes 


3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon plain salt
6 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup moist coconut


Preheat the oven to 300F degrees. Sift together into mixing bowl the flour, baking powder, 1 cup sugar and salt.

In separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy; add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff. 
Fold in 1/3 cup of sugar and add the flavorings. Fold the egg white mixture into the sifted dry ingredients. 
Fold in the coconut. Half fill paper cupcake liners with batter and bake at 300F degrees for about 40 minutes.

Ebinger's Bakery Sponge Cake

While searching for something else, I found a "tastes like" recipe for Ebinger's Bakery Sponge Cake With Mocha Butter Cream Frosting & Almonds:

Sponge Cake With Mocha Butter Cream Frosting & Almonds like Ebinger's Bakery


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