Gramma Helen's Date and Nut Cake by Jennifer L. Wambach

Aurora, IL, US


When I was a little girl, we'd often go visit my Gramma Helen who was, according to family lore, one of the best cooks in the world. She had a plaque in her kitchen that read, "No matter where I serve my guests, they seem to like my kitchen best!" And fruit-shaped magnetic hooks. I loved those things.

I was an incredibly fussy eater who'd complain about anything put in front of me: lettuce was too bitter, hot dogs too salty, mac and cheese too slimy, potatoes too pasty, walnuts too sharp, oatmeal too gooey. But I'd always eat my Gramma's beef stew and zucchini bread, apple pie, date and nut cake, homemade bread, pretty much anything she served. She had the magic touch, that's for sure.

A few years ago when my brother was getting married, I asked relatives for favorite family recipes which I then compiled into a cookbook for the new bride and groom. My cousins sent me some recipes of our grandmother's, one of which is this twist on date and nut bread.

Baked in a tube pan and drizzled with icing, it's perfect to have as an afternoon snack before heading down the hall into the sitting room where the crocheted striped throw-covered davenport sits, to "help" Gramma play Lara's Theme on the electric organ.