Monday, October 24, 2016

Sorghum cakes?

Sorghum Cakes (not Gladys' recipe),
background is a
Rag rug by Gladys Potter circa 1960

The previous two letters from Grandparents Gladys and George Potter mentioned sorghum production on the Sargent, MO farm and the desired end product, sorghum cakes.  That got me doing some research.  I don't have the Potters' recipe, but the following one is contemporary (from "A Taste of the Past" compiled by author Phyllis Connor in the 1990s from old-time cookbooks.)

The method is demented, but it produces a very good cake without milk or eggs.  The cinnamon also could be optional, since the sorghum flavor is rather strong.  If Betty the cow did not provide butter, I suppose any available shortening would work.

There are many more elaborate versions of Sorghum Cake with milk, eggs, additional spices, dried fruit and so on available from "Mr. Google," but this one is both minimalist and surprisingly good.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sorghum syrup

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (Not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking soda (Not baking powder)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup water, boiling(!)

Preheat oven to 325F
Grease 9x9 inch cake pan

Cream butter and sugar
Add Sorghum syrup to butter and sugar

Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon)

Mix the dry ingredient mixture
into butter/sugar/sorghum cream...gently.

Add boiling water, stir until mixed well.  The batter will foam up somewhat.

Pour into pan, bake 45 minutes or until the top springs back and/or a toothpick comes out dry.

Let rest on a rack for 20 minutes then turn the cake out and let it cool completely.

Tech note:  The soda is reacting with acids in the sorghum syrup to provide leavening, the boiling water helps speed the reaction.

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