I asked my mother for her rhubarb cake recipe a few weeks ago so that I could make one with the fresh rhubarb I got from a friend’s garden. She texted me a picture of the recipe, straight out of an old community cookbook that featured one of my favorite cooks, Elsie Hacker. Elsie was one of a number of farm women who hung around my grandma Elsie when I was small, and they were all fantastic cooks.
One of the things I love about the old community cookbooks is the surprise of seeing names I remember from my childhood, of women (and a few men) long gone. I also love looking through the same cookbooks in my mother’s kitchen, or in my own (as I inherited Elsie Mattson’s cookbooks), and seeing the occasional notation in the margins to the left or right of the entry–such as the one in this photo. This one reads “Very Good!” in my mother’s handwriting, next to the stain of either butter or vanilla.
Like the troll I sort of am sometimes, I texted back a picture of the finished, lovely, cinnamon-sugar covered cake. Then, a few minutes later, texted a picture of the cake in the pan, half-gone. Mom texted back:
“Must have been ok!”
“Thanks for the picture. :)”
And so I share with you all, the rhubarb cake recipe. It yields a 9 by 13 pan of deliciousness that’s perfect warm out of the oven, with or without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Eating it reminds me of my early childhood in the country, and the legacy those amazing cooks left behind. Enjoy.