In the early days of The Workbasket it was called “The Workbasket Home and Needlecraft For Pleasure and Profit” and had a section called Aunt Ellen’s Club Notes. These clubs got together and made crafts, sold recipe books, etc. The May 1949 issue devoted 4 pages to the club notes. There are suggestions for roll call, programs, recreational hour and a recipe for social hour.
The roll call suggestion was what I think of as an ice breaker along with introductions. There were two suggestions in these notes; “Name a family heirloom and tell something about it”, “Give a new household hint that you have recently learned.”
The program suggestion was a pretty detailed full page about how and why to do book reviews.
The recreational hour suggestions included two activities. The first is related to Mother’s Day and has members make a list of famous mothers. Whoever gets the most should get a spring bouquet. The second activity is called, “Thread the Needle”. This amusing game is described as a game for people with good eyesight. After dividing the members into two teams, the two teams line up and everyone is given a needle. The first person in line is given a strand of thread. The first team to get the thread through all of the needles on their team wins.
For social hour they suggest ice cream, banana cake and coffee and give a recipe for the banana cake. My husband and I made the cake on Friday night and here’s how that went.
Like many of the patterns in the magazines this one assumes you know things about baking or have a relative who can explain things to you. I know some things – other things…well…I won’t win any baking awards. When I bake, I bake quick breads, muffins, bars or something along those lines. I rarely bake an actual cake so this was sort of a process.
Step One – assemble ingredients:
Cake: Sugar, butter, eggs, sweet milk, baking powder, salt, walnuts, bananas, soda, vanilla
Filling: Butter, egg white, powdered sugar
We had all of those things except sweet milk. I wondered if sweet milk was different than regular milk but the internets tell me that it’s normal whole milk instead of buttermilk. We used almond milk.
Step Two – make the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar. I pulled out the hand mixer and blended the butter and sugar until it was creamy.
Add beaten eggs. I added them and mixed them in.
Sift flour several times. I skipped this step.
Add salt and baking powder to flour. Added that and whisked the flour, salt and baking powder together.
Add milk and flour alternately. Added some milk, mixed it in, added some flour, mixed it in – repeated until it was all mixed in.
Then vanilla, nut meats and bananas (that were mashed and have a tsp of soda added). Mixed all that in in one at a time.
Bake in layer cake pans at 325 -350 degree oven for 20 minutes. I do not have layer cake pans. I have 5 different muffin tins, some pie tins and a round silicone pan. After rummaging around in the cupboard I decided to use the round silicone pan and one Corelle pie pan. I buttered them. Filled the silicone one (it’s a lot taller than the pie pan) and the pie pan. Put them in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. They were very much not done. It took 30 minutes for the silicone one and 25 for the pie pan. The silicone one came right out of the pan and while it looked a little brown on the bottom, it held together pretty well. It think that in a normal layer cake pan there would have been less in this pan so 25 minutes probably would have been fine. The pie pan didn’t come out as well.
Step Three – make the filling:
Here’s where things went wrong. I don’t make frosting. I don’t really like it so my frosting is usually a sprinkle of powdered sugar or the traditional way of frosting brownies; a bag of chocolate chips melted on top. I’m sure that there is a process to this that is assumed – maybe you beat it longer or there’s an order to adding the ingredients.
The filling is 1 tablespoon of butter (melted), 1 egg white (beaten), 1 ½ cups powdered sugar. Mix together, if too stiff, add milk or cream.
It was too stiff so I added a little vanilla. It was less stiff but still not like filling or frosting. More like sticky glue. I added some almond milk…Oops!! I added too much almond milk. At this point the hand blender had been running on high for at least 10 minutes but it was way too runny. Joel came to help. We consulted the internet and decided to add cocoa powder in attempt to get it to thicken. A half cup of cocoa powder and a little bit of corn starch and 10 minutes later it was still runny. I declared it a drizzle. I managed to get the pie pan portion on top of the other cake round, drizzled the chocolate on top and called it done.
It’s actually a pretty tasty cake. Like a light and fluffy banana bread. The chocolate drizzle was also a nice addition.
Next week I'll have the carnation ready and a portion of the other pattern to show you.
I'm from Minnesota and have been crocheting since 2003. I inherited a box full of Workbasket Magazines from my mother-in-law and became obsessed with the vintage patterns.