Sunday, December 31, 2006

Harvey Wallbanger and His Cake

Last week at my parent's house I happened upon my mother's very old cookbook binder, this is the one where she kept her prize recipes. The binder cover is tattered and shows off a very nice 1970's pink and yellow floral design. She painstakingly entered each one of these recipes by hand or rocky typewriter courier font.

As I am usually in a cooking rut, I decided to pull up a chair and away I went flipping page by page. The rest of the family soon lost interest and left me with my mother's old book. It was an hour and a half tour through my childhood. Stuffed cabbages, eggplant Parmesan, pork chops and scalloped corn all those family dinners at 6pm sharp. Not only were there recipes but there were notes on some of the dishes explaining what year she cooked them. Some even displayed notes saying things like "took to Kitty Winke's New Year's Eve Party 1980, excellent." Each note was carefully written in my mother's lovely distinctive careful penmanship. Why couldn't I have perfect elegant penmanship like that?

Midway through I happened upon a Harvey Wallbanger Cake. With a name like that how could you not stop to pay reverence? Hmmmm....Harvey Wallbanger.

1pkg. yellow cake mix
1pkg. vanilla instant pudding
1 cup cooking oil (crisco)
4 eggs
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup Galliano
3/4 cup OJ

mix all ingredients and beat for 4 min. Pour batter in floured BUNDT pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes

Glaze cake when still warm:
1 cup powdered sugar
1T Galliano
1t Vodka
Drizzle over the cake when on the serving dish.

My father explained that a Harvey Wallbanger is a drink and was popular in the 1950's. Well golly gee willikers, if I am going to be a caricature of cul-de-sac suburban living then how could I pass up the Harvey Wallbanger Cake to take to the New Year's Eve party 2006? There I would be with my two lovely children, my muffin man walking all of 6 feet to the neighbor's party with my glass cake dish displaying the Harvey Wallbanger Cake molded in bundt pan form with orange vodka icing dripping down all sides evenly. Of course my darling children would disappear to play with their wholesome looking friends once we arrived and I would be free to tout my domestic prowess among adoring friends and neighbors. The spinach ball debacle of 2001 would be long forgotten and I would be free to enter myself as a cooking judge on the Iron Chef early in 2007.

Yes, we would be bringing Harvey Wallbanger Cake to the party. I quickly stole the recipe. (Then told my dad I took a copy since there were no less than three copies of Harvey Wallbanger cake in the pink floral book.) Three copies, I've struck gold I thought. This must be one winner of a cake.

Back at home the muffin man and I took the girls to the grocery. We needed Harvey Wallbanger ingredients. I carefully looked at the list and found a rather old looking tub of shortening labeled Crisco. I must admit I have no idea how old it was but Crisco doesn't exactly go bad does it? I pulled it out of the recesses of the cupboard patting myself on the back for using something just taking up space for so long. At the store we mosey over to the liquor aisle with our two small children looking for Galliano. We had some of the vodka in the cupboard but Galliano was a mystery. Apparently Meijer thinks Galliano is a mystery too. No Galliano. I ask the muffin man if he thinks it is anise flavored like my dad suggested. Perhaps we could get some anise flavored liquored instead? Oh no, the Muffin Man bellows if we are going to get a $30 liquor let's get something that tastes good, like Grand Marnier. (aka, tastes good and could be used in lieu of real date night at our house.) Hmmm, substitute Grand Marnier for Galliano? And then take the recipe that we've never made to a big party where all of our friends can mock me for being the biggest baking ditz in the world? Surely nothing could top the spinach ball debacle of 2001, why not? Sign me up. Galliano is out and Grand Marnier is in. And thus our family trip to the liquor aisle has concluded. But not before the lady in front of us rammed her cart into a six foot tall display of blue bottled liquors shouting, "Oh Shit!" Ava giggles and my man and I stare open jawed. She laughs nervously and looks at us apologizing profusely. I calmly tell her not to worry since we are a family of 4 who has recently spent 20 minutes educating our 4 year old on the difference between Hot Damn and Cinnamon Schnapps. A little profanity is to be expected.

Fast forward to today. I pull out all my ingredients and my shiny new bundt pan. (No, in 15 years of wedded bliss I have never once owned a bundt pan, it was a red badge of courage.) I use all the ingredients carefully. But then the batter is a little thick. Really thick. I re-evaluate my recipe card with 1960's goop stuck to the left side. Damn, crisco as in oil...not Crisco shortening should be used. Who ever heard of Crisco oil? What the hell? Isn't Crisco always the white disgusting stuff that looks like something out of the fat can?

Crap, no avoiding my mistake. In a moment of panic stricken pure genius I up the orange juice and toss in a dash more Grand Marnier to thin the batter. If it tastes gross at least everyone will be drunk as skunks before they notice.

It is in the oven now. Crisco shortening not oil and no Galliano, Grand Marnier all its glory.

In a moment of looking at the bright side the liquor laced icing made up quite nicely thank you very much.

Here he is. Harvey Wallbanger. I have no idea how it tastes. It's a cake right? I can't exactly dive in and THEN take it to a party.

I'm putting my money on It's a Winner! A little vodka, Grand Marnier, and a nice glass dish (lovely cover not shown) can take a girl pretty far in this cul-de-sac.


Johnny said...

Shoulda gotten a picture of you in a dress, wearing heels, and wearing a white apron as you "danced" through the kitchen making the cake.

That woulda been the 50's!

Koli's Mom said...

I am dying over here. My mother has that same recipe. When she made it the kids were never allowed to have the cake, we always had to settle for finger jello.

atomic mama said...

Yep, Johnny's idea would have, well, taken the cake, so to speak.


Sherry said...

One of my college roommates recently made Harvey Wallbanger cake for a reunion. Her biggest difficulty was located a box of orange supreme cake mix that HER recipe called for. Now when she finds it she buys out the store and puts the mixes in the freezer. Anyway, she substitutes Neopolitan liqueur for the expensive Galliano, and it tasted pretty darned good.