|Photo Courtesy of ClevelandHistorical.org|
My favorite item by far, however, was the cinnamon coffee cake. I can still taste it: a dense, buttery cake layered with pillowy cinnamon-sugar nearly as thick as the cake itself. The corner pieces were coveted because they hosted more of the topping.
Then there was the white cake. My mom's and brother's favorite. Nothing fancy, just a beautiful snowy-white cake coated with white frosting. The flavor was subtle but it invited one to take bite after bite until one's plate was, sadly, empty.
Luckily for us kids, mom turned out top-notch chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cakes and brownies but her claim to fame (at least in the small world of our house) were her pies. I loved to watch (and "help") her mix and roll the dough - using Fluffo, a lemon-colored shortening that, though it contained no butter, imparted a buttery flavor to the crust. Mom would cut up the scraps, top them with cinnamon and sugar and bake them up for us kids. Every time she made a crust she would declare it a disaster, but the results were always tender and flaky. The perfect complement to cinnamon-y apples, or juicy raspberries or the traditional Thanksgiving Day pumpkin.
I didn't have to be at home to partake of delicious baked goods. My best friend's mom, Mrs. P made raspberry jam from berries picked from their own garden. The smells in the kitchen during preserving day were sweet, sticky, juicy-red summer. Mrs. P baked up something called Victorian sandwich and I asked for the recipe a few times, but never was able to get my hands on it. Between two layers of vanilla cake (baked in a 9"x13" pan) Mrs. P spread a generous slick of her raspberry jam. She served it to us along with a big glass of Ovaltine.
Mrs. P passed away a couple of years ago; mom doesn't bake much anymore and Hough's Bakery is no longer - but grateful Clevelanders can still get baked goods made from Hough's old recipes at a shop on Lakeshore Boulevard. And...I no longer indulge in baked goods made with butter, eggs or refined flours, but my memory is good enough that I can recall the tastes and textures of those childhood treats. I wouldn't trade in those memories for anything.
(Debbi at Our Home to Yours and Lynette at Sweet Posy Dreams got me thinking about cheesecake and chocolate and brownies and baked goods in general, so thanks to them for the inspiration for this post, though it's got my sweet tooth all abuzz. I enjoyed my flour-sugar-chocolate-butter journey down memory lane.)