Grandma’s Lost Recipes, Found: The Best of Her Baked Goods

It's like having Nana in the kitchen with her treasured recipe box of time-tested recipes that bake up the most delicious classic desserts.

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Basic Butter Cake

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

• 14 tablespoons butter, softened
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup milk

ICING
• 155g confectioner's sugar
• finely grated zest of 1 orange
• 1½ tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 tablespoon orange juice or milk, as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a deep 8-inch round cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the beaten eggs gradually, beating well after each addition. Sift the flours together. Fold the flour and the milk alternately into the butter mixture.
3.Spoon the cake mixture into the cake tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4.To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the orange zest and butter and mix gently. Gradually add enough orange juice or milk so that the mixture becomes a thick but spreadable consistency. When the cake has cooled, spread the icing over the top.

Devil's Food Cake

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

• 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
• 3/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 3/4 cup sugar
• 3/4 cup butter
• 2 teaspoons McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract

CHOCOLATE GANACHE ICING
• 3/4 cup double cream
• 1 1/2 cup dark chocolate, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9-inch round cake tin with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar until well combined.
3. Combine the butter, vanilla and 1 cup water in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted, then add to the flour mixture and whisk until well combined. Add the eggs and whisk until blended.
4. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a cake skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. To make the icing, heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium-low heat. When bubbles begin to form around the edge of the saucepan, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the icing is of a spreadable consistency.
6. When the cake is cold, spread the icing over the top.

Grandma's Never Fail Sponge

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

• melted butter, for brushing
• 3/4 cup (110 g) self-rising flour
• 1/2 cup (50 g) cornstarch 
• 4 eggs, at room temperature
• 3/4 cup (170 g) sugar
• 1 teaspoon McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract
• raspberry jam, to serve
• whipped cream, to serve
• sifted confectioner's sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush two shallow 8-inch round cake tins with melted butter and line the bases with baking paper.
2. Sift the flour and cornstarch three times. Using electric beaters, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl for 8–10 minutes, or until thick and pale.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the flour mixture.
4. Pour the mixture into the cake tins and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and beginning to shrink from the side of the tins. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. When the cakes are cold, place one sponge on a serving plate. Spread generously with the jam and cream. Place the remaining sponge cake on top and dust with confectioner's sugar.

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Chocolate Pudding

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

• melted butter, for brushing, plus 3 tablespoons extra
• 1 cup (150 g) self-rising flour
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 1/2 cup (115 g) sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
• 1 teaspoon McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract
• 1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts, roughly chopped
• sifted confectioner's sugar, for dusting
• thick cream, to serve

CHOCOLATE SAUCE
• 3/4 cup (170 g) sugar
• 1/4 cup (30 g) cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the base and side of six 1-cup (330 ml) ramekins or heatproof dishes with melted butter.
2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, then stir in the sugar. Whisk together the extra 3 tablespoons melted butter, egg, milk and vanilla, then pour into the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Add the walnuts and mix lightly. Carefully spoon or pour the mixture into the ramekins.
3. To make the chocolate sauce, put the sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl, add 2 cups (500 ml) boiling water and stir well to dissolve the sugar.
4. Slowly pour the chocolate sauce over each pudding, then bake for 25 minutes. Dust the puddings with confectioner's sugar and spoon into serving dishes. Serve with a dollop of thick cream.

Chilled Berry Cheesecake

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling

• 5 ounces plain cookies (such as digestive biscuits)
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
• 2 teaspoons powdered gelatin 
• 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, chopped
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract
• 1 1/4 heavy cream
• 2 cups fresh blueberries or raspberries, or a combination
• sifted confectioner's sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Lightly grease a 8-inch spring-form cake tin and line the base with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
2. Place the cookies in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the butter and process until combined. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and use the back of a spoon to press it over the base of the tin. Refrigerate while making the filling.
3. Pour 2 tablespoons boiling water into a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over. When it has softened, whisk with a fork until dissolved. Allow to cool.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until smooth. Add the cream and the gelatin mixture and beat briefly to combine. Pour the mixture over the base and top with the berries. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until firm. Serve sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, if desired.

Honey Cake

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup (95 g) soft brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
• 1/2 cup (175 g) honey
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups (225 g) self-rising flour
• 1/2 cup (75 g) all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon McCormick's Cinnamon, Ground
• 1 cup (250 g) light sour cream

TOPPING
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 3/4 cup (260 g) honey
• 1 cup (90 g) flaked almonds, toasted

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and line a 9-inch spring-form cake tin with baking paper.
2. Using electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the honey and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and sift the flours and cinnamon over the top. Gently stir in the sour cream using a large metal spoon until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, smooth the surface and bake for 1 hour, or until a cake skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
4. Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. To make the topping, combine the butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture comes to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the almonds.
6. When the cake has cooled, spread the topping over.

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Pavlova

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

• 4 egg whites
• 1 cup (230 g) sugar
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 teaspoon McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract
• 1 teaspoon white vinegar
• 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped
• fruit, to decorate, such as sliced bananas (brushed with lemon juice to stop them browning), kiwi fruit and strawberries
• passionfruit pulp, for drizzling (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Using a 8-inch cake tin or plate as a guide, draw a circle on a sheet of baking paper with a pencil. Lightly oil a baking tray (so the baking paper doesn't slip), and place the paper on it pencil side down.
2. Using very clean electric beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, about 1 tablespoon at a time at first, beating after each addition until dissolved.
3. Sift the cornflour over, then add the vanilla and vinegar. Beat just to combine. Spread the mixture out on the baking tray to a 8-inch circle. Using a small non-serrated knife, make vertical ridges around the side of the meringue
4. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly (prop the door if necessary so it remains open). Leave the pavlova shell to cool completely.
5. Slide a large knife under the cooled pavlova shell to loosen it from the baking paper. Carefully slide the pavlova shell onto a serving plate. Spread the whipped cream over, then top with the sliced fruit and drizzle with passionfruit pulp, if using. Serve within 30 minutes of topping.

Fruity Pudding Cake

Reader's Digest Association, Inc.

Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

• 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature, chopped
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon or orange zest
• 2 eggs
• 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 teaspoon McCormick's Pure Lemon Extract
• 1/2 cup golden raisins 
• 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins 
• custard, cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve

1. Grease and flour a 7-cup pudding mold. Cut a sheet of foil and a sheet of baking parchment or greaseproof paper about 16 inches long. Lay the paper onto the foil, then fold to create a 2 inch pleat down the center.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and citrus zest until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Using a large metal spoon, fold in half the flour, all the milk and extract and then the remaining flour. Fold in the fruit.
3. Spoon the mixture into the pudding mold. Place the paper and foil, paper side down, over the mold. Tie kitchen string securely around the side of the mold to seal the paper and foil (just under the lip if it has one). Place a trivet or upturned saucer in a large stockpot, sit the pudding mold on the trivet and pour enough boiling water into the pot to come two-thirds up the side of the mold. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for 2 1/4 hours, topping up with boiling water as needed.
4. Carefully remove the pudding mold from the pot, then remove the foil and paper. Place a serving plate over the mold and invert to turn out the pudding. Serve with custard, cream or vanilla ice cream.


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