Growing up in Alabama in the 40’s we were accustomed to daily homemade deserts. This was the era of lane and Lord Baltimore cakes, pecan pies, Charlotte (AKA Charlotte Russe), fruit cakes, and ambrosia. During the war years butter and cream were available from local dairymen, but sugar rationing resulted in some creative substitutions. Christmas was celebrated in an historic 1865 brick Presbyterian church fragrant with locally grown cedar. Toys were not a big item on Christmas morning, but sugar was saved for months to produce our favorite sweets. My favorite was Japanese Fruit Cake, though it was a mystery why it was named Japanese. The recipe I was given had few directions since supposedly everyone knew how to put together a cake.
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
Divide batter into two batches.
Add to one batch 1 cup chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon Vanilla.
To second batch add 1 cup chopped raisins and one teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
Bake in 4 layers at 350 for 20 minutes.
2 cups sugar
Juice and grated rind of 2 oranges
One coconut, grated(!)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup boiling water
Bring to a boil then remove from heat and stir until thickened. Spread filling between alternating white and spice layers and on top. Store in cool place for several days before serving.
~ Ellen Zeller
Heavenly Father, we are thankful for precious memories of Christmases past and grateful for each year we again celebrate your birth. As we look forward to the special times with family, our church family and friends, let us remember how fortunate we are to have not only such an abundance of food, but an abundance of spiritual food.