A copper-tinted recipe box sitting on a ladder bookshelf in my house holds treasures given to me 17 years ago at a bridal shower my precious grandma hosted for me. Grandma invited all her friends to the party, and each of these sweet ladies shared their favorite recipes with me on index cards and cute recipe cards. In the box, I find:
- Greek Cake from Ginny Knauf.
- Rum Cake from F. Davison.
- Chicken Crescent Almondine from Marian Moore.
- Ambrosia Gelatin Mold from Mary Stanley.
- Provincetown Portugese Soup from Millie Carrier.
- Saucepan Cocoa Brownies from Agnes Woodford.
- Italian Chicken from Kitty.
- Texas Sheet Cake from my own Grandma Marge plus many more recipes.
And then I spot a couple of recipes from Myra Brown. At the bottom of her Porcupine Cookies recipe, she wrote:
“I have known your Grandmother Marge for 20 years. We both came to Florida the same year. I go back to Petrosky, Mich. every summer. We have a summer home there and a condo here (Wellington). Marge and I are bridge partners in two marathons.”
On Myra’s Breakfast Casserole recipe, she shares this advice:
I remember sharing what Myra wrote with my grandma. Grandma giggled with delight. “Myra was a schoolteacher,” she told me. “I’ve known her for 35 years, and we used to play bridge together. She’s in her 90s and living in a nursing home in Michigan.”
I realize that my little recipe box holds one of the precious legacies passed down from my grandma’s generation to the younger generations—the love of cooking and baking.
As a 23-year-old receiving these recipes more than a decade and a half ago, I don’t think I understood at that time what a treasure they were. But I suppose one of the beauties of aging is we begin to see these seemingly simple gifts as more valuable than most possessions we own.
These recipes can be shared with our family and friends at the dinner table, giving us a chance to grow closer to our loved ones. And these recipes will last longer than most of the possessions I hold. My child and his children and even their children can enjoy them in their kitchens and even share stories about the earlier generations who introduced the recipes to the family. Yes, this is a legacy worth passing down.
Ginny Knauf’s Greek Cake Recipe
With nearly two dozen recipes from my grandma’s generation tucked away in my recipe box, I’m looking forward to donning my apron and whipping them up in my kitchen. In fact, I’ve already tried a few of them, and I’d love to share one with you today—Greek Cake from Ginny Knauf.
Ginny was a longtime friend of my grandma’s, and I remember spending time with her as kid on my visits to Grandma’s house in Florida. As I read through the recipe she shared with me, I knew this one would be one of the first I’d try.
Why? Because I have fond memories of Ginny from my childhood, and the cake contains coconut. Yep, I LOVE coconut! I would be okay if I were stranded on a deserted island as long as the island had plenty of coconut trees. Of course, I’d probably want a hammer to crack open the coconuts. :0)
Living a mile above sea level presents challenges in baking cakes. More times than not, cakes made at this high altitude tend to be dry. So I don’t make cakes often. But when I saw this recipe from Ginny, I thought I’d give this cake a try. With a can of crushed pineapple as one of the ingredients, I thought this cake might be moister than most I’ve tried. So I was hopeful it would turn out.
And oh my, did this one turn out! Definitely my new favorite cake. This coconut, pineapple, and nut-flavored cake topped with a cream cheese frosting reminded me of carrot cake, with pineapples in lieu of carrots. Moist and flavorful, you can’t go wrong in making this scrumptious cake.
As Myra wisely said:
“Try everything . . . and don’t be afraid to cook!!!”
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A treasured recipe given to me by Ginny Knauf (a precious friend of my grandma’s) at my bridal shower.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 ½ cups coconut
- 1 cup finely chopped nuts
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 – 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1- 8 ounce package cream cheese
- ½ cup butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients in bowl and beat with mixer until smooth.
(1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a bundt pan or a 9″ x 13″ pan.
(3) In another bowl, mix vanilla, eggs, and crushed pineapple.
(4) Add wet ingredients to bowl with dry ingredients and mix together, using as minimum strokes as possible.
(5) Pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
(6) Combine ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe above) in bowl and beat with mixer until smooth.
(6) Ice cake with frosting while cake is warm.