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Culinary SOS

Here's How to Make Groom's Cake

June 02, 1988|ROSE DOSTI | Times Staff Writer

Dear SOS: As the wedding season comes upon us, I'll bet there are a number of people like me who would like help with this problem: The Groom's cake. The traditional groom's cake boxes are 3x4x1 1/2 inches deep, so I would like to use a rectangular pan so I could cut them nicely into pieces, but I have no baking instructions for such a size or pans. Surely there must be a better way.


Dear Lynn: Here comes the groom's cake recipe for baking the cake in a 10x15 inch pan, which you then cut into squares. According to tradition, the small cakes are wrapped and tied decoratively to give as wedding souvenirs to the guests as they leave. I have searched but cannot find any information about the origins of this tradition. SOS, anyone?


1/2 cup shortening

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups warm applesauce

2 teaspoons soda

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Mix applesauce with soda. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Add dry ingredients and applesauce alternately to creamed mixture. Beat well. Fold in raisins and nuts. Pour into greased and lightly floured 10x15-inch baking pan Bake at 350 degrees 30 minutes. Cool. Wrap in rum or brandy-soaked cheesecloth for 2 weeks. When ready to use, cut into desired squares, wrap in plastic and decorate with ribbon. Makes about 15 (3x4-inch) cakes.

Dear SOS: I'm looking for a recipe for Mexican style spaghetti I had a few years ago at a friend's house that was delicious, yet looked very simple. It had spaghetti with cheeses and olives. I would appreciate a recipe.


Dear Michelle: There are dozens of recipes that might fit the bill. Not knowing what your friend used, let's go with this terrific all-American basic spaghetti casserole that circulated during the '50s when canned mushroom soup was big, sassied up with Mexican seasonings.


1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1 1/2 soup cans milk

1 tablespoon chili powder

Pinch cumin

Pinch oregano

Seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pinch sugar

1 (12-ounce) package thin spaghetti

1 pint sour cream

1 1/2 pounds shredded sharp American cheese

1 onion, grated

1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives

1 cup round butter cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter or margarine

Blend soup, milk, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside.

Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water until almost, but not quite tender. Drain.

Place layer of spaghetti in 15x9-inch baking pan. Spread with thin layer of sour cream, sprinkle with thick layer of cheese and top with layer of onion and olives. Repeat layers until ingredients are used. Pour soup mixture over spaghetti mixture. Saute crumbs in butter until golden and sprinkle over casserole. Bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and spaghetti is done. Makes 10 servings.

Dear SOS: I would appreciate your printing before the peach season passes, a recipe for peach pie. A friend and her husband love peach pie.


Dear Diana: Here's a basic peach pie recipe in which you can substitute summer nectarines or plums for the peaches.


Pastry for 2-crust, 9-inch pie

6 cups peeled and sliced peaches, (about 2 pound), or half peaches and nectarines

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Dash salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup sour cream



Roll out 1/2 of pastry. Use to line bottom of 9-inch pie plate. Place peaches in pastry-lined pie plate or alternate layers of peaches and nectarines in pie plate. Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg and sour cream, mixing well. Pour over peaches or peaches and nectarines. roll out remaining pastry and make lattice top. Brush pastry with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking 45 to 50 minutes longer. Cool. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Dear SOS: I would like to have a recipe for homemade Worcestershire sauce. Is that possible?


Dear Reader: This rendition comes from the National Live Stock and Meat Board, obviously because Worcestershire is a natural accompaniment to meat. The original British version was prepared with tamarinds, anchovies, garlic and assorted spices.


1 teaspoon olive oil

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 small white onion, chopped

1 small clove garlic, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped

1 cup distilled white vinegar

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup molasses

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 whole cloves

1 anchovy fillet

Pinch black pepper

In saucepan heat oil. Add horseradish, onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper. Saute over medium heat until softened.

Add vinegar, water, molasses, lemon juice, salt, cloves, anchovy fillet and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer over low heat 25 minutes. Strain and serve warm or refrigerate in covered container to use as needed. Makes 2 cups.

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