Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Aunt Emmy's Angel Food Cake

Thank G-d I had John's Mom's stoneware bundt cake pan!
We often associate a particular meal with a certain family member or friend. My friend sister Sheryl makes an awesome chicken and tzimmes dish. Tzimmes is a traditional Russian Jewish dish of sweet stewed vegetables including prunes, raisins, carrots and potatoes. She first made it several years ago for Passover dinner and it quickly became a family favorite. (Mental note made to make sure that recipe gets up on my blog as well sometime!)

I associate my Great Aunt Emmy with her angel food cake recipe. She would make it each time my family visited her and Great Uncle Chic at their home in the Millburn, New Jersey. Uncle Chic's first name was Henry but his nickname was always Chic. I never knew why and thought it perfectly normal to call him that. When visiting them, the family would always congregate into Aunt Emmy's small but inviting kitchen. Their home was a formal yet warm one with a deep backyard that Adam and I used to play in. It was one of those tree covered yards, always dewy and moist, with moss growing around the eaves of the house and in the crevasses of trees. It abutted the Maplewood Country Club. Mom would always preemptively yell at us not to go into the golf course. As my cousin Anne used to remind me, we used to hunt for golf balls!

At that time in the late 70's, Uncle Chic was a tall, elderly bespectacled scholarly man. Mom had told us that he was a lawyer. I remember him having shelves and shelves of books and I always thought he was the smartest man I knew. He was so contemplative and knowledgeable.  Aunt Emmy was a petite woman with perfectly coiffed hair. She as so kind and loving as favorite aunts should be. Her hugs were strong and inviting. Her gravelly voice beckoning me in, "Come here you! Lemme give you a hug." I would smile sheepishly and run into her arms, smelling that same perfume.

I'm pretty handy with the electric mixer.
Aunt Emmy's angel food cake was a special treat. My brother Adam always requested it. It was so light and airy. She topped the cake with confectioner's sugar. Its baked crunchy top offset by the sweet soft interior. As Adam and I got older and Emmy and Chic had passed on, we would find ourselves talking about family, how much we missed them, and often bringing up the angel food cake. "Remember how good it was?" I would ask. Adam would respond, "Oh my G-d, it was SO good."

YUM! Look at that crust!
I never thought about making it until this project, Cooking Through My Family.  When Sheryl and I got together last year with our cousins, Anne and Jennifer, Aunt Emmy and Uncle Chic's granddaughters, I began telling them about my project. Soon enough, Anne was running back into the house to make me copies of family recipes of which I am so grateful for. I brought up the angel food cake and everyone chimed in how much they loved it too, but alas, Emmy never kept a recipe or passed one down to our cousin Jean, Anne and Jennifer's mom. It had become one of those family recipes which has unfortunately been lost. We are lucky though to have so many others.

Recently one day, I was lamenting about this to Sheryl. She brought up how she had forgotten until just then that she once did ask Aunt Emmy about the recipe while both were sitting down at the table in her kitchen. Could she have it? Aunt Emmy laughed her hearty laugh and said that she hadn't used an original recipe in years and the angel food cake was from a boxed mix! Mystery solved!
The finished angel food cake.

So in honor of my Aunt Emmy, I have made an angel food cake, courtesy of Betty Crocker's box mix. And it came out so good but I gotta tell you, nothing will ever be as good as Aunt's Emmy's.


  1. That's because she added the secret ingredient "LOVE".

  2. LOVE reading your blog, Marc! Keep 'em coming! :)