This is the cake of your childhood. This is the cake the sweet cafeteria ladies served you in grade school. I went to East Side School, as did all my childhood friends, and I positively loved it. Five minutes away from our house, East Side was our neighborhood public school. Mint green in color, the stucco two-storied building was connected by open air hallways so, although we didn’t have air conditioning, we could always enjoy our tropical breezes. Our playground was carpeted by thick, emerald-green grass and seemed immense to us. Dotted through the campus were mammoth ficus and banyan trees, perfect for shady rests after rousing games of “dodge ball” and “red rover”. The cafeteria was set away from the school connected by a lengthy open-air breezeway. I remember walking single-file in the heat of the day for lunch. Everyone bought. I don’t think I know of one child who brought his lunch. And we ALL had our favorite lunches. My older sister, Cynthia, loved fish sticks, always served on Fridays. I enjoyed them as well except the cafeteria ladies only gave you two and I was always left hungry. She also mentioned, as all the food was made from scratch and hand-made, they made a mean meatloaf and their mashed potatoes were the stuff dreams are made of. I called my best friends, Dana and Andrea, to find out what their best-loved meals were at East Side. Dana and Andrea both called me right back and it turns out we all have the same fave…spaghetti! It had such flavor; something we never, ever had at home. Dana’s little sister, Dawn, LOVED the tater tots. She also reminded me the absolute worst to eat was the spinach and pointed out we always seemed to have it after the grass was cut. To quote her, “Yuck!” But what we all agreed was the best was the selection of desserts, again all made from scratch and by hand. Thick, creamy chocolate pudding was scooped out of enormous bowls. Generous wedges of apple pie were cut. But the best had to be the chocolate cake squares with peanut butter on top. Oh man. The icing and peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth while the cake melted in your mouth, all washed down with a healthy gulp of cold milk. Heaven on earth and all for a whopping 35¢!
This is the Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake of your childhood. It is beyond sublime and puts all those fancy-dancy, beet for color, salted, chocolate with ancho chile, corn flake and beer creations to shame! This cake is simple, straightforward and ain’t nothin’ hoity-toity about it. I suggest using only regular, store-bought peanut butter like Skippy or Jiffy. A more “natural” or organic, grind your own butter is flat and bland tasting. The only change I made is I added two teaspoons of vanilla extract to the cake instead of one and also to the chocolate icing but only because I love vanilla. This recipe comes directly from a pulled out page of an old Southern Living magazine. The paper is stained and water marked. The article is titled “Make Mine Chocolate” and I treasure this recipe in the short collection. So thanks, Marian T. Talley from Huntsville, Alabama who contributed the recipe for this cake. You have a fan in Fort Lauderdale.
Peanut Butter-Fudge Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
- Chocolate Frosting
- Combine first three ingredients in a large bowl; set aside.
- Melt butter in a heavy saucepan, stir in cocoa. Add water, buttermilk and eggs, stirring well.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils. Remove from heat; add to flour mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13X9-inch baking pan.
- Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Carefully spread peanut butter over warm cake. Cool completely.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Bring first three ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Pour over powdered sugar in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Yield: 2 1/2 cups