Editor’s note — In the kitchen with Sharon this week we have two very special guests, Megan (Wait) Roades and her daughter, Hallie Sue, the great-granddaughter of late Hillsboro resident Becky Gotherman, who passed away on Jan. 14 this year. I am going to share what Megan sent to me and you can see what a loving granddaughter he is. The love Megan shows is remarkable and I so much enjoyed the letter and the recipe. The following was written by Megan Roades.
If anything deserves a comeback, it’s the vintage cakes grandma used to make. This rich and decadent cake makes a memorable dessert for any celebration and will become a family favorite in your house after just one bite!
A couple of months ago, my family lost the glue that held us all together. My sweet grandmother made every holiday extra special. She enjoyed seasonal decorating and always set her table beautifully. I believe she had a set of dishes (or two or three) for every festivity and beautiful linens to match.
Easter will be our first holiday without her and it was her favorite one of all. To celebrate her, I wanted to share one of her signature desserts, Milky Way Cake. My cousin rummaged through her kitchen recently and found her recipe in one of the church cookbooks she contributed to. I had to google a few things and it made me love this vintage recipe all that much more. Don’t worry, I’ll translate it for you.
Oleo is margarine. I knew that because she always called it “oleo” and my cousins and I would always chuckle. However, I wasn’t sure what sweet milk was. I thought it was sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk. Wrong! The story behind this is quite interesting. My grandmother always talked about the Great Depression and although she was born five years after it ended, her parents lived through it and were not keen on wasting things. Grandma would always say “waste not, want not” and now it all makes sense. Sweet milk actually means regular whole milk. In the great depression era, when milk went bad, they would save it to make buttermilk or use it in other things. Therefore, when they wrote out their recipes, they would specify whether or not you could use buttermilk or if it needed to be fresh milk or “sweet milk,” as they called it.
MILKY WAY CAKE RECIPE
For the cake, you will need:
4 regular Milky Way bars or 13 fun size bars
1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, I did not use nuts in mine)
Step 1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Use a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan or two 8-inch cake pans. If you plan on serving this cake out of the pan and layered as I did, use a stick of butter to grease your pans and then lightly coat them with flour. Cooking spray most likely will not work as well because this batter is extra sticky. You’ll understand when you get it all mixed up. If you plan on serving this in a casual setting in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, you can use cooking spray.
Step 2. Melt candy bars and butter in a small saucepan at low to medium heat. You want to keep a close eye and stir it often to avoid scorching.
Step 3. Mix together sugar, eggs and flour. After thoroughly mixed, add buttermilk and baking soda. A mixer works well because this batter is extremely hard to stir in this step.
Step 4. Add the melted candy and melted butter mixture to the batter. Keep your saucepan out for the icing portion. Stir well and add vanilla.
Step 5: The recipe says to bake for one hour. I ended up only needing to bake my two 8-inch cake pans for 45 minutes. Just poke it with a toothpick after 45 minutes and see if it comes out clean. If so, you can take it out and let it cool.
Step 6: If your cake is finished baking and is setting out to cool, put a plate over your baking pan or cover the 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish in foil to help hold in all the moisture while you begin making the icing.
For the icing, you will need:
1 1/2 regular Milky Way bars or five fun size bars
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons of milk
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Step 1. Melt candy bars and butter in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Add milk and stir.
Step 2. Pour melted mixture into a small mixing bowl and add powdered sugar.
Step 3. You can go ahead and pour the icing over your cake or let it cool to room temperature and then spread it over your cake.
Now let’s be honest, this cake isn’t pretty. However, it’s fun to decorate for Easter. I bought milk chocolate eggs and edible grass and let my daughter decorate it. She had a great time and couldn’t wait to serve it to everyone.
If you want to try this recipe out and it isn’t Easter, you can always cut up a milky way bar and place the pieces on top.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has over the years and I would love your feedback and reviews. Thank you for stopping by. Megan Roades can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In loving memory of Rebecca Raye Gotherman 1938-2021.
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Please send your recipes to email@example.com. Happy Easter!
Sharon Hughes is the advertising manager at The Times-Gazette. She is also a mother, grandmother and chef.