Some mothers are cookie makers. They always have fresh cookies in the cookie jar. Add a glass of milk and you’re in heaven. When I was growing up, my friend up the street had a mother like that. Boy, was his place ever popular with the neighborhood kids.
My mother’s regular sweet specialty was a cake she called “Standart”. (You’ll have to imagine the hard European pronunciation of the word.) I never knew where the name came from. Actually, I never thought about it. All I remember was that it was quick and easy to make, not too sweet, studded with raisins, and always baked in a bundt pan — So yummy with a big glass of cold milk.
It was a household staple that I missed until, one day, sorting through some old cookbooks, I came across an early 1950s Five Roses Flour Guide to Good Cooking. Inside, I found a marked up recipe for standard one-egg cake. Could this be it? (And is that where the name came from?)
I pulled out a mixing bowl, the ingredients, and a bundt pan. An hour or so later I knew I had found the lost secret recipe.
I’ve made it often since and it’s a real family favorite. It comes together quickly in a single bowl and by the time the oven’s reached temperature it’s ready to go in.
You can try it too. Here’s the recipe, right out of the book:
Standard One-egg Cake
1 3/4 cups Five Roses flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (scant)
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup sweet milk
I usually just whisk the ingredients together in a single bowl starting with the dry ingredients. (The texture is a little finer if you use an electric mixer, but I like the coarse crumb.) I use a little less sugar than the recipe calls for, and for shortening I use vegetable oil.
“Flavouring” can be almost anything. I usually throw in a handful of raisins and a little lemon zest (usually a squirt of Real Lemon). On occasion, I have grated in half an orange, substituted fruit juice for some of the milk, added nuts with the raisins — it seems happy with almost anything you care to toss in.
Out of tradition, I also use a bundt pan ( it just wouldn’t look right otherwise) and bake it for about 45 minutes to an hour at 375° (325° in our convection oven). If it’s not quite done, I let it go a few minutes longer.
The difficult part is letting it cool down so I don’t burn my fingers when I cut that first slice.