Tag Archives: the last jar

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While flipping through the collection the other day I realized that I haven’t tested any of Lucie’s recipes in a while. That’s just not acceptable.

So today I bring you Mother’s Tip Top Cake.

Tip Top Cake with Blueberry Sauce“Mother” in this case (I believe) is Lucie’s mother Gertrude Hamilton, or Grandma Gertie.

No, I am not kidding.

Gertrude was an Irish immigrant that bore 11 children, half off whom she hauled all the way to California in 1910 by train so that her son could breathe easier. Lucie was 6 years old at the time, and her train ticket was half the fare. The family returned to Michigan four years later to help care for Gertie's ailing father-in-law.

We are a sturdy lot. But we are lovely too.

Tip Top Cake is just that. It is quick and uncomplicated and lovely and delicious, somewhat like angel food but more succulent. It’s perfect for heaping on fresh fruit or sauce or soaking with a little bit of rum. The day I made it I mashed up some canned peaches with juice and mixed with a diced up fresh peach from the farmer’s market. Today I served it for breakfast with a quick blueberry sauce. Enjoy.

Mother’s Tip Top Cake

1 ½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sweet milk (modern translation: regular milk)
1 ½ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, cream sugar and butter together. In a small bowl sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the milk and flour mixture alternately, and stir until well mixed. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold them and the vanilla in until mixed together.

Pour into a Bundt pan or 3 9” round pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan.

Blueberry Sauce



Blueberry Sauce: Toss a handful or two of fresh or frozen blueberries in a saucepan and sprinkle enough sugar to coat. Add just a little water (1/2 cup) to keep the blueberries from scalding. Heat to boiling for 5 minutes until everything is saucy. Remove from heat and cool. Congratulations. You just made jam.


Mmmm, honey. I could talk about my favorite sweetener all day, but let's just get to the point:

Honey Cookies2
Mary Dexter’s Honey Cookies, Sept. 1, 1949

Mary Dexter’s Honey Cookies,  Sept. 1, 1949

Best dipped in coffee. These reminded me of a miniature coffee cake, perfect for a quiet morning and a good book.


  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup shortening or softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • *Vanilla
  • *Flour to drop

Cream honey and butter together. Add the egg and vanilla. Sift the remaining ingredients together and add to the mixture. Drop onto cookie sheets and bake for 12 minutes at 350°.


*2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp vanilla

A Note About the Random

So here's where a 1940's housewife just winged it. She went by feel and didn't treat a recipe like a chemistry experiment.  I am not a 1940's housewife. I am an Instruction Follower, and if something doesn't tell me exactly what to do I get a little panicky.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like we need to be told how to do most things these days. We want exact directions and reassurance that we won’t fail.

Or maybe we just don’t spend as much time in the kitchen with our busy modern lives. Maybe we don’t have the experience to just know these things.
In any event, I went with it and guessed at 1 tsp. vanilla and 2½ cups of flour. It worked out fabulous. This little foray into Not Following Instructions reminded me that I can trust myself. A little bit.
Just the right consistency for drop cookies