Saturday, March 14, 2009

Grammie Burrill's TV Chocolate Cake

My sister married a Burrill. How scandalous. Not and Italian. In Northern Maine, you could probably count on one hand the number of Italians that you would meet in a year. But Italian or not, the Burrills are family. I loved Mrs. Burrill. She was a second in a series of three "MOTHERS" that I feel a right to claim. as I said before she was a companion and fellow adventurer when I was quite young. She grabbed me once when I went to her house on High Street in Houlton, Maine. (Now an empty lot) She turned me around and out we went. She fired up the black Ford Falcon and whisked me off to a professional photographer. She combed my hair with the part on the wrong side. It was the side she liked. She had me photographed in my rattiest old plaid play shirt with my hair sticking straight up(Curly hair was always my cross)and with my typically goofy expression. I have not seen that photo for years. Thank heavens for small blessings. She also set me on my road to art by giving me Art lessons for a number of years under the direction of Nell Chadwick. She was not a GREAT artist, but the talent she had was wasted in Houlton. She was quite talented. Anyway, Alberta Burrill was a plain cook. Plain meat and potatoes to please her plain meat and potatoes men, Richard O., Fred and Charles. Alberta always had a red tin on the sideboard filled with Brownies. I think I went there only once in all those years that I was not offered Brownies. It was a source of pride for her to care for her men by giving them a constant supply of chocolate. Here is a recipe that my sister rescued that could be made quickly and easily. It seems to have been a recipe that Alberta saw on TV or was just named TV Chocolate Cake. It is easy, Easy, EASY.

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 teaspoon of salt
3 Tablespoons of cocoa


3 tablespoons of shortening


1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cold water or coffee

Mix into the dry ingredients till all moistened.

Pour into an UN greased 8 inch square pan.

Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until a pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

The original intention was to mix the entire cake in the baking pan from beginning to end.

***Of course, there is nothing stopping you from greasing and flouring a pan to make this cake.  I also make a dozen cupcakes in the paper liners with this recipe.


I use a butter-cream, and I like it with a bit of orange zest in it.  That is the Italian in me I suppose,
but here is the original:

1/2 box of confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 or 3 tablespoons of milk.

Blend with an electric mixer and spread on the COMPLETELY COOLED cake while still in the pan. Cut and serve from the pan.

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