I like chocolate as much as the next person, but it is not the only thing I like. Oddly enough, I'm not that crazy about most chocolate cakes, or chocolate ice cream. There's something about those vehicles that dilutes the effect of the chocolate for me. A good vanilla ice cream is dense, thick and rich to me. With chocolate ice cream, the cream and the chocolate balance out too well. It's the same thing with cake. The other ingredients balance out the chocolate, so it is not rich enough by itself and the other flavors don't have a chance to compete. There is one exception, I do have a killer chocolate cake recipe that has also been in the family for as long as I can remember. It's a secret for now and it's not my recipe, so I can't share it.
I do not know from where my mother got the recipe for Jack Robinson Cake. I do have a vague memory of it being called that because you can make it faster than you can say "Jack Robinson." I did not find much when I went looking on the internet, but one other person who posted the recipe said it was named for this reason, so I did not totally pull that out of thin air. I will say that it is not that fast a recipe to put together, and I could definitely not make it faster than anyone can say "Jack Robinson."
Another person who posted the recipe said it was given to her when she got married in the mid '50s, so the recipe is as old as I remember it being. It's posted on foodnetwork.com.uk, and I even found someone who posted in French. But none of the postings have attributes, so I didn't uncover any other hints as to its origin.
Wherever it came from, it's delicious. It's basically a white cake that's covered with a brown-sugar meringue and baked for about half an hour. The meringue forms a sweet, nutty, slightly chewy crust on top of the cake. The brown sugar gives the meringue a toasty, caramelly warmth. It's a little on the light side, which makes it the perfect ending to a rich, heavy meal. I made it for my Thanksgiving dinner, and it hit the perfect end note.
You might not be able to whip it up faster than anyone can say "Jack Robinson," but don't let that stop you from trying. While it's not fast, it is easy, and it's a crowd pleaser.
Home Cookin Chapter: Cakes and PiesJACK ROBINSON CAKE
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/2 butter, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add butter, milk and vanilla. Beat on low for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and beat for one more minute. Pour into 8-1/2 x 13-1/2 x 2" pan.
2 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add brown sugar gradually and beat well. Spread mixture on top of the cake batter, then sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.
Bake at 350 deg. F for 35 minutes.
Exported from Home Cookin 5.9 (www.mountain-software.com)