Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Old Witch

It's Halloween!! Witches, ghosts, goblins, things that go "bump" in the night. And no, I don't believe in any of that "fooky" stuff ("fooky" is how my grandson, Radley used to say spooky when he was learning to talk). However, to me Halloween is just a fun day to dress up, be silly, and get lots of candy. It's also a time to drag out old books and read, which is what I try to do each year with one certain book in particular.

When I was little, my mother bought me a book titled, Old Witch and the Polka Dot Ribbon by Wende and Harry Devlin. It quickly became one of my favorite books for her to read to me. As I got older, of course, I read the book myself. In fact, I still read the book! Every fall right around Halloween.

Old Witch is a cantankerous, moody, grumpy little old witch that lives in the attic of the old Jug and Muffin Tearoom. She was awakened from a very long sleep in the chimney when a little boy named Nicky, and his mother, bought and moved into the Tearoom. 

Actually, Old Witch is very nosy and sometimes causes a lot of trouble. What witch doesn't? But in this book, Nicky and his mother are baking and preparing for a cake baking contest the town of Oldwick is having at their carnival. 

The contest is to raise money to build a new bandstand. They invite Old Witch to enter as well, but warn her that Mrs. Butterbean always wins first prize. Sounds like a challenge to me... it does to Old Witch, too. 

The book, written and published in 1970, is a lively little book. The story line is fun and hints at helping the community as well as being fair and not cheating. I have always enjoyed Old Witch. She may be mischievous at times, but she's funny, and deep down wants to do the right thing.

At the end of the book is a recipe for Old Witch's Magic Nut Cake. A perfect recipe for the Halloween spirit, I think...even if it is from an Old Witch. [Recipe taken from the book, Old Witch and the Polka Dot Ribbon]

Old Witch's Magic Nut Cake
(Get Mother to help)

     3 eggs
     1 pound can of pumpkin
     3/4 cup vegetable oil
     1/2 cup water

Beat together and then add:
     2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
     2 1/4 cups sugar
     1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
     1 1/4 teaspoons salt
     3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
     3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
     1 cup yellow raisins
     1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pour the batter into three buttered one-pound coffee cans and place in oven standing up. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes or until a straw from a witch's broom, inserted in the cake, comes out clean.

Cool the cakes, turn them on their sides and frost with:
     4 oz. cream cheese
     3 tablespoons butter
     1 teaspoon lemon juice or vanilla
     1/2 box confectioners' sugar

Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

(Recipe tested by the Food Department of Parent's Magazine)

Hope you enjoy this nutty Halloween cake! You may try making it into cupcakes. 


Anonymous said...

This cake has been a holiday tradition since I was a kid. My mom started out making the cakes off the back of the book, in the coffee cans but has upgraded to bunt pans and making in a shape of a turkey for Thanksgiving.

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