Monday, February 16, 2009

I want to fold my dishwater hands around a dry Martini, not a wet flounder

As part of our Valentine celebration, the boy and I made homemade gnocchi. Quite an involved process, but so worth it. This meant that an elaborate dessert idea shared with me by a good friend was scrapped in favor of the humble cupcake. I used the same recipe my mom used when we were kids. It is from the very funny I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken. I'm pretty sure it may be the only recipe she ever used from there—many have things like frozen potato soup or frozen fish sticks as main ingredients. But the writing is hysterical and when I saw a copy in a used book store recently, I had to shell out the $1. It features terrifically charming drawings by Hilary Knight (of Eloise fame) and is a book "for those of us who want to fold our dishwater hands around a dry Martini instead of a wet flounder…" How could you not love it?!?!?
• 1 1/2 c. sifted flour
• 3 Tb cocoa
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 c. sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 5 Tb cooking oil
• 1 Tb vinegar
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 c. cold water
Put sifted flour back in sifter (or sieve), add cocoa, soda, sugar and salt and sift this right into a greased 9" square cake pan. Make three holes in the the dry mixture. Into one, pur the oil; onto the next, the vinegar; into the next, the vanilla. Now pour cold water over it all. You'll feel like you're making mud pies now, but beat it with a spoon until it's nearly smooth and you can't see the flour. Bake at 350º for half an hour. (For cupcakes: bake at 375º for 15-20 minutes.)

Maybe next time I will branch out and try Peg's Hootenholler Whiskey Cake!! (The first instruction: "First, take the whisky out of the cupboard, and have a small snort for medicinal purposes." I'm thinking Amy Sedaris is the reincarnation of Peg Bracken circa 1960.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:49 AM

    I love your blog!! Especially since I know all about the references you make - being your Mom! The hootenholler whiskey cake used to be one of my regular creations at Xmas time - unfortunatly I loved it more than anyone else, so you know who ate it! But it is reminiscent of Grandma's applesauce cake with a lot more "punch" - very good.
    I was also happy to see the references to the old drawing books by Ed Emberer(?)(I can't remember his name exactly and I can't navigate back to the blog too well) I'm so glad you got such a kick out of them and that they helped formed (in some way) your artistic style...simple with a kick! Love, Mom XOXOX