My grandmother believed that cake mixes were a cook's best friend.
Mimi grew up in rural Mississippi, and she spent her girlhood sifting flour, then carefully spooning it into a cup and running a knife over the top. Baking soda was kept in a tin box, and it was measured with the same reverence and precision. Mimi had lived through epidemics, two World Wars, and sugar rationing. Once, a tornado lifted her mama's farmhouse of the foundation and whisked it away. "To Oz," her sisters said.
Years later, the world had become snappy and modern, but of all the ingredients in Mimi's kitchen (she was right fond of recipes that used Jell-O), she loved cake mixes best. Every week she made an apricot lemon pound cake, and we never longed for something different. She would set it on a round Fostoria cake pedestal, and as she carried it into the dining room, we'd applaud.
Mimi's Apricot-Lemon Pound Cake
1 box cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme )
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cooking oil (Wesson or Crisco)
1 cup bottled apricot nectar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Grease a round tube (or Bundt) pan and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl (I used a mixer), blend the cake mix, oil, nectar, sugar, lemon juice, eggs, and oil. Pour into the cake pan.
Bake 1 hour. If the top cracks, your cake will be magnificent. Cool a little--not too long or
your cake might stick in the pan. Tap sides of pan with a wooden spoon.
Invert cake and place
on a wire rack. (If your cake refuses to budge, place it--pan and all--in the freezer. Remove and it should pop out.) Place the rack on a shallow baking pan that's been lined with waxed paper. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes all over the top and sides of your cake.
1 bag powdered sugar
1/4 cup apricot nectar
lemon juice (start with 1/2 teaspoon and adjust to your liking)
Place ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and blend. When the icing thickens a bit,
spoon it over your cake. Spoon the "dregs" over your cake. Over and over. Use the skewer to poke more holes, if necessary. When the glaze hardens, serve the cake on your prettiest platter and garnish with old fashioned roses.
Another thing Mimi taught me:
Don't forget to have fun in the kitchen.