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. 


1 comments:

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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