Nancy Hannah from Baltimore was looking for a recipe for a quick and simple single-layer cake with a caramel icing. She thought the cake might have been called Caramel Frosted Picnic cake and was made with the one-bowl method. She said the cake was ideal for taking to picnics because it held up well and was easy to transport.
Gladys Wilt from Lothian sent in a recipe from her copy of "The Joy of Cooking," 1953 edition, for Hurry-Up Caramel Cake that she thought might be close to what Hannah was looking for.
The name of this cake speaks for itself. It is a cinch to make and is best as a flat cake, iced and cut into squares. Wilt did not include the recipe for the recommended caramel icing, but I found a very tasty and quick caramel frosting in "The Cake Mix Doctor" cookbook by Anne Byrn that worked perfectly with this cake. I decided to test the recipe without any of the optional ingredients. The result was not fancy but simple and surprisingly good, and a cake almost everyone is likely to enjoy whether it's served at home or packed up and taken along on the next picnic.
Jareene Bardoll from Baltimore recently had a Southwestern-style quiche that was topped with black beans and an avocado salsa at the Severn Inn in Annapolis. She would love to have the recipe or something similar.
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Hurry-Up Caramel Cake
Makes: 12-15 servings
1 3/4 cups cake flour (sifted before measuring)
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
3/4 cup chopped dates (optional)
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoon double acting baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Be sure to have all ingredients at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk sifted cake flour and brown sugar together. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat vigorously with a wire whisk or rotary beater for 2 to 3 minutes. Bake in a greased and floured 9-by-13-inch pan for about half an hour. Cool.
To make frosting: Place butter and brown sugars in a medium sized heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir and bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon or wire whisk until the frosting is smooth (it will be thin). Pour frosting, while still warm, over the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.