Mom’s Loaf Cake is represented in my recipe file by a dark and well-worn Xerox of a old index card. I don’t know where the original is at this point. The “Mom” is Grandma Miller, my mother’s mother’s mother. The card is typed (MOM’S LOAF CAKE) with handwritten notes all over it, creases and spots of who-knows-what all reproduced faithfully by the copy process. My notes are below the recipe, which is as follows:
2 C sugar, 1 C shortening or half butter/half lard, 2 C milk, 1 tsp salt, 4 C flour, 1 egg, 5 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 C raisins and citron. Cream the S and S, then egg, milk, sift dry ingredients together and add rasins and citron. Bake 350 in loaf pans.
That’s all it says on the card. I use all butter and add it melted (but I do that for any recipe). I use a little cream or half and half in the milk, because I assume Grandma Miller wasn’t using skim. Instead of raisins and citron I use currants plumped in hot water and a little Grand Marnier.This makes a big batter, so I add half the flour, all the milk, then the other half of the flour, in a nod to “alternative” mixing. My load pans are ancient Pyrex and on the small side and it’s always a toss up if I can divide the batter perfectly evenly so that neither pan runs over as it bakes. Someday I should pick up some normal loaf pans and not risk a messy oven cleanup every time I bake this, right? Right.
This is a wonderful, slightly dense white cake that travels well and packs nicely in a bag lunch. My grandmother made it in round pans and topped it with confectioner’s sugar frosting and maraschino cherries for Christmas. (One year when I was away at college, Grandma sent a loaf up to me in Vermont. Aunt Bernice’s dog Sarah found it on the back stairs and ate the whole thing, including the wax paper. Sarah was the fattest German Shepard I have ever seen, then or since.)