Although she never had much money, she was always the classiest, most elegant, sharp-dressed woman at the party. Her lipstick and nail polish always matched. Her colorful jewelry and shoes and handbag were always perfectly coordinated. And every time I saw her, from as early as I can remember to the very last time I ever saw her, she was always sneaking a couple of dollars in my hand and saying in my ear, "It's not much, but go get yourself a little something, honey." I was in my 30s, married and she was on her deathbed, but she still went into her purse, took out a dollar (may have been her last one) and shoved it in my hand and said "I wish it could be more, honey." I still have that dollar on a shelf in my room.
And the chocolate cake!! She called it "Dump Cake" because you just dump all the ingredients in a bowl --no sifting, separating wet from dry, and all that jazz. It's an easy cake to make, but tastes like it took hours to put together. It is also one of the moistest cakes around. It is a nice, dense, almost wet crumb, and it melts in your mouth. I always enjoy this cake cold out of the ice box, probably because that is the way she served it when she transported it to the July 4th shindig. This is a fool proof cake, and everytime I make it, I am amazed at how awesome it is. That said, no one's dump cake can compare to Aunt Toot's dump cake. I wish you could have had a piece.
But if you make this recipe, you will come close. :)
|Aunt Toot's actual handwritten recipe|
AUNT TOOT'S CHOCOLATE "DUMP CAKE"
3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla
2 cups warm water
Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk first 6 ingredients in a big mixing bowl. Then add the last 4 wet ingredients and stir a lot more till smooth.
Pour into a Bundt pan or a 13x9 inch cake pan, or two 8-inch cake pans.
Bake for 40-60 minutes. Check with a wooden toothpick around the 30 minute mark to be safe.
Cool cake(s) COMPLETELY and then frost with chocolate frosting. MMMM!
By the way, Aunt Toot's chocolate frosting recipe is lost to the universe, but I use Hershey's classic chocolate buttercream recipe. It reminds me of Aunt Toots' frosting.
HERSHEY'S "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.