Growing up I always knew that I’d leave home and move far away to have a new adventure. I first left for university when I was 17, naive, ready to take on the world. I had known that I was leaving since the previous November, which means I had a lot of time to prepare myself for the big change. I spent lots of time with friends, family, and my then boyfriend, tried to really enjoy my last year of high school and what I had thought was my last full year in Winnipeg.
Then suddenly it was a few weeks before it was time for me to fly away and I cried. I cried everyday for three weeks straight, then I cried even harder the day I left, and for the three days before I moved in my residence on campus.
Low and behold, I was totally fine. I had a fantastic 4 1/2 years there that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Of course, growing up in Winnipeg it’s hard to see it for what it is, a legitimately great city to be a part of (except for the winters). I couldn’t wait to leave after high school because I longed for something more. The funny thing is though, while I was away I always craved home. It sometimes felt that I was just trying to make it through the school days, through the weekends, to make it to Christmas/Spring/Summer break. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved going to school on the east coast, I was a just young and home sick. And on the days that I felt myself reaching for the end it was always a taste of home that kept me satisfied and comforted.
Now, with my impending move, I’m feeling those pangs of sadness and of home sickness and all I want to do is crawl up in bed and settle into something yummy and known. So I made a cake.
This cake is a family recipe, passed down, generation to generation, via a family cookbook created by my late grandmother on my father’s side of the family. She passed away when I was just three, so I actually don’t remember her at all. Luckily though, my siblings and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her through her favourite recipes, some her own and others contributed by friends and family.
The recipe book was given to the family and friends that were close with my grandmother after she passed away. The book itself is actually very important to me because my parents were instructed to finish the book when she wasn’t able to. My Mom did the illustrations and my Dad wrote out some of the recipes.
This particular cake is called Hot Milk Cake and gets its name simply from the fact that the milk is heated before it’s added to the batter. It’s not terribly sweet, so it makes a great vehicle for jam or glaze.
For one 8×8 cake you’ll need:
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
4 Tsp Butter
1 Cup Milk
Optional: 1 Cup Golden Raisins
Set your oven to 375ºF and grease an 8×8 square cake pan.
In your mixer or by hand, whichever you prefer, beat eggs and sugar until fully combined. Mix in vanilla and salt. Add in flour and baking powder gradually to the eggs and sugar.
Heat your milk and butter together, making sure you watch it so it doesn’t boil over. I learned this the hard way!
Add the milk in slowly to make sure that it is thoroughly mixed.
Next, fold in your raisins. You can use whatever dried fruit you like, or no fruit, or peel, or even fresh fruit. It’s all delicious, so whatever you like, mix it in. The cake can also be made plain, but I like to have a little bit of surprise in there.
Pour the batter into your cake tin and knock it a couple of times on your counter to release any pesky air bubbles.
Slide it into the oven and bake for ~25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When it is ready, let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove it from the pan.
Oops. Must remember to use a bigger plate next time.
I love this cake straight out of the oven with raspberry jam and a cup of tea. Makes me feel right at home and just generally better about life.
I mean, how could you not?