“Christmas! ‘Tis the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial fire of charity in the heart.” ~ Washington Irving
Mom’s Gumdrop Cake recipe is one of my family’s favourite desserts that I make each Christmas season. In fact, my family would eat it any time of the year; if I would break down and bake it on a late spring day or in the middle of a summer heat wave they would line up in the kitchen doorway with plates in hand. But to me, Gumdrop Cake is synonymous with Christmas, with falling snow and twinkling lights and with relatives and friends dropping in to share best wishes.
Mom’s recipe calls for lots of eggs, a cup of warm milk, and one and a half pounds (POUNDS!) of gumdrops. She would snip the gumdrops into three pieces with a pair of sterilized kitchen scissors—what a smart way to speed up a potentially tedious task.
I use the same method when I prepare the gumdrops to be drenched in flour. The ones that I don’t use in the recipe—mostly plain white but sometimes black liquorice ones that happen to be mixed in with the brightly coloured red and green and orange and pink, are set aside to be enjoyed by any child or adult who happens to hover near the kitchen during this preparation stage . Is it any wonder mom’s Gumdrop Cake recipe is a family favourite?
One creative finish that mom often did after the cake was cooked and cooled was to ice it and decorate it for Christmas; I remember a perky little Santa sticking his head out of the cake’s centre opening, and this Santa was usually surrounded by tiny reindeer prancing around the cake’s circumference. I confess that I don’t take the time to decorate my Gumdrop cakes, but one year, who knows, maybe I will. I think I still have the Santa and tiny plastic reindeer that mom used for her cakes; they’re much older now and look a bit worse-for-wear, but I’m sure they would still be pleased to assume their place of honour once again on a Gumdrop cake.
Is it customary for you to decorate your Holiday cakes? I’d love to hear from you; drop me a note or post a comment on my site; thanks so much for visiting.
Mom’s Gumdrop Cake
1 cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs (drop one at a time and beat well before adding the next one)
1 cup warm milk
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon
1 ½ lbs. gumdrops cut into chunks and floured with ½ cup flour.
Cream shortening and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well each time. Add liquid and dry ingredients alternately. Add floured gumdrops last. Spoon the batter into a greased and lined tube pan. Bake 1 ½ – 2 hours at 350°F oven; cover with foil for first ½ hour. When cake is done, remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes in pan before turning out onto wired rack to cool completely. Wrap cake in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to retain moisture. Decorate if desired.