My Grandmother, Frances Ruth Bryan, known to me as Grandmother, was a baker.  She was raised on a farm, lived on a farm during the depression (until they lost it and moved to town), and knew how to bake just about everything.  One of her most delicious desserts was Bob’s Layer Cake (named after my dad), or Grandmother’s Cake.  She made this cake for everyone’s birthday – if you were having a birthday and Grandmother was close by, she made the cake.

I have passed down the tradition, as I have made quite a few for my family.  I even made one and mailed it to my father – it arrived in great condition!  That should tell you a little about the kind of cake this is – a heavy made-from-scratch cake.

Originally, no one except for Grandmother knew how to make the cake – she used a tea cup for all of the measuring.  One day, my sister was at Grandmother’s when she was making the cake, and sis decided to measure all of the ingredients.  Thanks to her, I have a recipe that I can follow!  Enjoy!

Grandmother’s Cake

Cake:                                                                                                                           Icing:

½ cup shortening (not butter or margarine – Crisco)                           2 cups sugar

2 cups sugar                                                                                                ¾ cup cream

4 eggs                                                                                                             1 Tablespoon butter

1 cup cold water                                                                                         1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups flour (cake flour best, but all-purpose will do)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 teaspoon salt (yes, that’s right)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cake:  Beat shortening and sugar until creamy.  Add the yellow of the eggs, well beaten.   Then, add the water and vanilla.  Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together.  Add to mixture.  Beat the whites of the eggs to a stiff froth, and add them last.  Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes according to pan.

Icing:  Mix together all except vanilla, and stir until boils.  Continue cooking until soft ball.  Remove from heat and beat until consistency to spread. Add vanilla while beating.  If it gets too thick, add a little cream or butter.

Note:  If using all-purpose flour, sift flour 3 times, and then measure.  Then sift flour, baking powder, and salt together.  Bake in 3 9-inch round pans (greased and floured) about 25 minutes.  Use marshmallows to fill in gaps around edge of cake if need be before icing (sometimes the cake will sag on edges –prop up sides with marshmallows).