Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Animal Wednesday - Yeast!

I know that yeast is not really an "animal" but in my book it's worthy of a post. I have spent my evening tending yeast - not an easy chore, but an interesting one. Now I look at this circle painting differently, it's bunch's and colonies of different yeasts.

Another potential yeast drawing - this is fun - reinterpreting artwork!

Here is the story.

Shown below is one of the recipes that I brought back from Florida last week, it's for Grandma's famous Yeast Cake - one that the whole family drools about. No one has tried to make it in years and if you look at the recipe closely you can see why. What is a "glass" of water? What is "1/2 glass" of sour cream. My mom's generation cooked casseroles of string beans and fried onions with a sauce of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup. The recipe shown below requires too much thought, too much measuring and feel. It calls for handmade, and hand mixing, lot's of mess around the kitchen and just plain too much work.

But I always loved doing things the old fashioned way. At least trying it once in a while when time is on my side. So when I got these recipes I wanted to plow thru a few of them and I decided to start with this one.

First I decided that a "glass" was 1 cup; then decided it was 2 cups (about). As I was putting the ingredients together, it just felt right to use 2 cups; so I went with that. The directions were awful, but fun. Basically the recipe says "here are the things you should put into this cake, and you can figure out the rest". So I did. I mixed and added more flour until it felt like a cake that should be kneaded. ( I do remember that Grandma would call one of her son in laws or son to come up to the apartment to knead this cake - they were stronger than she was)

Here is a picture of the cake just before being set aside to rise.

It rose beautifully, filling the bowl and pushing up the protective plastic I had wrapped it in.

Then the recipe called for "walnuts - ground up" and "2 cups of washed, drained raisins" mixed with sugar and cinnamon.

How many walnuts Grandma? No answer from above, so I just used the same amount as the raisins - and there was alot of filling for this cake. Note Great-Grandma's rolling pin. Solid maple. Probably from when she was first married in 1898!

I have to admit that I did not use anything like "Splenda" in this cake, and there is about 3/4 lb of butter - between the batter, and cutting up pieces of butter while you roll out the cake, and drizzling melted butter across the top. Of course it's good - the ingredients alone will do you in - all butter and sour cream. Yum.

It made a hell of a cresent shaped thing - very organic and heavy and fluid looking. I don't know if I was supposed to make two cakes from this recipe or just one. I went with one this time but I think it's going to be the mother of all cresent shaped cakes when it comes out of the oven.

It's in the oven now..... all yeasty and sweet smelling.

Next unknown - how long to bake the monster. It's been in there for about 45 mins and the top is getting pretty brown, but I want to make sure that it's cooked all the way thru. So I'm giving it another few minutes then I'll do the first cut to see if it's done inside...or raw.

I'll let you know tomorrow how it tastes - but whether it's the perfect cake or not - it was fun, and a challenge and I already know what I'll do differently next time.

So HAW to all you animal and cake lovers!!!


Teri said...

Yesss, it is yeasty, animally looking. If you look at pine pollen under the microscope, it looks like Mickey Mouse's head! And yum, what a nice tasty sight to wake up to...I can almost smell the baking, and yeast.

Fern said...

I am drooling..

Mim said...

This cake is massive, and powerful. Almost too much to eat - our digestive systems have evolved to be more "delicate" these days.'s one GOOD cake.

ksklein said...

I can almost smell the good scent of the yeast cake here. It looks delicious.

Teri C said...

This was an awesome post!! I felt like I was in the kitchen with you smelling that wonderful smell. I bet it tastes WONDERFUL!!

My DH has a recipe book of his mothers and some recipes call for 2 cents of yeast! Those old recipes are fun.

marianne said...

Priceless this handwritten recipe!
The cake looks mouthwatering!

Debra Kay said...

MMMMMM-what a wonderful big buttery creation-LUSH, Sensual.....real food! Soul food. Honestly, I would rather have two bites of that than an entire "diet" something.

Yeastie Beasties Rock!

soulbrush said...

i adore the look of that recipe, fabulous. and it came out so well, so did the art piece. it works for an animal in my book...happy haw and thanks for the thoughts mim, i think i am having a 'newly sixties' crisis! i can't retire and sit at home, but had enough of rude obnoxious kids!hugs

Lynn said...

I sure hope you wrote down YOUR choices of How much each thing is and how long, etc. for the next generation to find it in your hand writing! Perhaps with a photo attached! I love that you are doing it. I love that these things are passed down generation to generation. What a lovely gift to a new bride, that rolling pen, and all the generations of recipes to go with it.
My daughter has my mother's recipes and she makes some of it at times too. And yes, that is a killer to eat! But enjoy a taste anyway. ;-) I can smell it in the oven.

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi mim!
oh i love this post! your grandma is smiling and feeling very loved. :) your whole post made me happy and i love the photos! your yeast cake is amazing! a true work of art.

kj said...

what a fantastic post! i loved the recipe itself because i have a few that look exactly like that.

i love love love breads. i hope it tastes everybit as wonderful as it looks.


MuseSwings said...

M-m-m can't wait to hear how your yeast cake tastes! I love your "yeasty" drawings!

studio lolo said...

This looks sooo familiar! Maybe the recipe was in my family too. I'd kill for a bite! And it warmed my heart to see the original recipe. Wonderful!

Mim said...

This cake is so rich and delicious but next time I would make 4 cakes from the recipe. I do love the look of the actual written recipe and am trying to come up with a way to keep the original recipe; the copy that I made and this story together. I'll think of something creative I'm sure!

Bibi said...

You've taught me, the yeast-challenged, a lesson. I'm going to give yeast another try over the holidays...I'm usually too impatient with it. Not good!

Cestandrea said...

Oh Yeast Cake, your's look absolutely perfect! I have only once or twice endeavoured to make a yeast cake, and it became stone. I fear yeast cakes:)(well baking in general) My mother always baked (now she stopped cause she says it is too heavy?) yeast cake and says it's the easiest thing... which I do not believe. You have my admiration!:)
PS:I tried to become a follower of your blog but couln't find the button "follow"?

artist Mike said...

mim I shall certainly try making your grandmothers cake, hope to have some slices of it ready for Elizabeth, on her next visit to do printmaking, we usually give her a cheese sandwich of my home baked bread and a slice of my cold tea cake!I love cooking

Michele said...

What a fun cake. I can't wait to hear how it turned out.

Anonymous said...

This post was magnificent. You are brave for taking on the recipe. My daughter and I were enjoying perusing old recipes over Thanksgiving. We laughed at the descriptions and direction, and enjoyed the beautiful handwritten notecards with all the stains from cooking past.