Posted by: mchleen | November 4, 2009

Cookin’ it old skool

It’s been a while since I did a food-related post, so today I thought I’d take a trip back in time a share a couple recipes from my grandmother’s recipe tin.

Geraldine was born in the 1910’s so most of these are classic 40’s/50’s style dishes and I just love flipping through them and giggling at the frequency with which canned fruit/vegetables/meat(!) pops up.  But I will spare you these and instead share something sweet with my sweeties.

So today we have (1) my absolute favorite cake recipe of all time – which was her’s.  Ugly Duckling Cake is so named because the finished product takes its name from the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale, resembling a scraggly baby swan.  And (2) peanut brittle, for which my grandmother was much appreciated.


1 box yellow cake mix

1 can (16 oz.) canned fruit cocktail in juice, undrained

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut

2 eggs

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • Combine cake mix, fruit cocktail, 1 cups coconut and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Blend at medium speed 2 minutes.  Pour into greased 13×9 in. pan and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  • Bake at 325° for 45 minutes.
  • Bring butter, granulated sugar and milk to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Boil 2 minutes then remove from heat.  Add the rest of the coconut then spoon sauce over the hot, finished cake.
  • Cool and serve!


1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup white Karo syrup

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups raw Spanish peanuts

1 teaspoon soda

  • Cook sugar, Karo and water together to 238°.
  • Add peanuts and salt.  Cook to 300°.
  • Remove from heat.  Add soda and butter and mix.
  • Pour on a well-greased cookie sheet.  Once cool, break into pieces and enjoy!

[Tip:  You’ll need a candy thermometer for this or you’ll have trouble achieving the “brittle” aspect of the candy.]


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