Column & Photos by Ali Carter, WPVGA Auxiliary Member
The other day I found myself searching through our home while on the hunt for a recipe my grandmother had given me years ago.
I never did find the recipe and am still quite heartbroken over that. What I did stumble upon, however, tucked away at the back of a cupboard above the refrigerator, was a pile of cookbooks that I had long forgotten about.
In this technical age, it is easy to log onto a blog, website or Pinterest and find a recipe for practically anything. Unfortunately, that ease has caused me to no longer turn to my favorite cookbooks for ideas as often as I used to do.
Seeing this stack of forgotten books inspired me to sit down in my favorite chair and wile away the rest of that afternoon perusing the recipes.
I am sure it will not surprise you to learn that many of the cookbooks in this stack were about potatoes. One book in particular caught my attention. The All-American Potato Cookbook published in 1982, which was the second cookbook published by the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary (WPGA). I was particularly interested in the cake and bread recipes.
My first pick from this cookbook was a spice cake with caramel frosting. It turned out fabulously! The cake itself was dense and extremely moist; I cannot wait to share this with you!
I made some changes to accommodate my family’s preferences and to make use of what I had on hand. Isn’t that the beauty of a recipe? You have the freedom to be as creative as you want to be and simply enjoy the process.
Potato Spice Cake
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable shortening or butter
- 1-cup basic mashed potatoes
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups flour
- ½-teaspoon cinnamon
- ½-teaspoon salt
- ½-teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-teaspoon baking powder
- 1-cup milk
- ¾-cup raisins or pecans
-used butter in place of shortening
-increased nutmeg to ¾ teaspoon (don’t you just LOVE nutmeg?)
-eliminated raisins (my children are not crazy about them in a cake)
-added ½ cup chopped pecans and a ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
Cream sugar and butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add potatoes and eggs; blend well. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and baking powder in a small bowl; mix lightly. Alternately beat dry ingredients and milk into the creamed mixture until well blended. Stir in raisins (or pecans).
Cool completely before frosting.
- ¼ cup butter
- 3 ½ Tablespoons milk
- 1-cup light brown sugar
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Melt butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan on low heat. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk; bring to full boil on medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Beat in sugar with an electric mixer until consistency is easily spreadable.
This frosting recipe makes more than I personally think you need for the cake and is quite sweet so make adjustments to your taste.
Oh, and a little tip….the frosting sets up quite quickly as it cools so do not wait too long to frost your cake.
This is a perfect treat to be savored with a cup of coffee on a chilly evening with a loved one. Enjoy!