Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Que Sara Sara

Nellie Wayman was an amazing woman. She was tall and beautiful. She mothered five children and was grandmother to six, but cared for so many more. She ran a nursery in the church and many kids besides myself called her grandma.
She was widowed at a young age, and managed her family with grace. She was incredibly frugal, as a result of living through the Great Depression as well as being widowed.
Grandma Nellie viewed the world through "rose colored glasses"....she had such a joyful and resilient way of living her life. She had a song in her heart and cherished the music of her time. I would sit on her lap while she pumped away on her player piano and sang me the song "Que Sera Sera", which I thought was about myself...."Que Sara Sara." The children in the neighborhood would flock to her house after school to hang from the branches of her huge cherry tree, playing on her swing and the six person teeter totter her husband had welded.
Nellie, was a fabulous cook. She was very proud to be a home maker. She would spend her summers gardening and "putting up" the fruits of her labors. She was famous for her bottled raspberries (can you imagine bottling thousands of raspberries perfectly?), cherries and her concord grape juice.
Nellie never drove a car, but rather rode the bus every where. The bus drivers always knew her by name, and would drop her off right at her door, even though it was off their route.
She belonged to a local senior center harmonica group called the "Happy Go Luckys". Besides the harmonica, she sang, and played the ukulele. She was famous in her neighborhood for her rendition of "How much is that doggie in the window".

She also did a crazy good version of "A bicycle built for two." Tonight's recipe reminds me of my sweet grandma and the special times we spent together. She lived just a block or two away from me, and I spent much of my childhood with her. She would always make me a half cup of hot tea and then fill the rest of the cup with milk....she would call it "Mormon Coffee". We would sit in her living room and dip gingersnaps into our tea and watch "Lawrence Welk" together. She loved variety shows! Grandma loved spice cakes, and although this isn't her recipe, I know she would love it.
My other grandmother makes the most delicious fruit cake every December. And although, I cringe at the word "fruitcake", hers is the exception. I think the ingredient that makes the difference, is cocoa. There is this wonderful hint of chocolate in it and it makes it rich and unique. So when I was concocting this recipe, I thought it was a natural compliment to the ginger and molasses.
This cake is amazingly moist and dense (I love a dense cake), but it is still light. It is wonderful with whipped cream....but I love it with a drizzle of fresh lemon sauce.

1 cup dark molasses
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
Line a 9 inch square pan with parchment, butter and flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a saucepan, boil 1 cup water and remove from heat. Stir in molasses and baking soda. Next, add remaining water(ice cold).
In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add the molasses mixture and beat until smooth. Then, add the flour mixture a ¼ cup at a time. Pour into pan. Bake for 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center, should come out mostly clean.



Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandma and this cake looks absolutely heavenly! So moist and delicious!

bonnie said...

What a great post about your it- oh and that cake looks amazing I also love dense cakes..yummy!!