Friday, December 3, 2010

Amalgamation Cake and Boiled Custard

Here are a couple of requested recipes for my Lake County, Tennessee friends.   You see, where I come from this is a Christmas tradition.   My Grandmother, Mrs. Otie Ligon, made her cakes the week after Thanksgiving to allow time for them to "set".  She would wrap them in a clean tea towel that was sometime soaked in Grandaddy's Tennessee Jack Daniel's whiskey.  The cotton gin always gave them a big magnum of the whiskey for Christmas - that was the only time I ever saw liquor in their home. 

Back to the see the women in Lake County always made these cakes for the holidays - and no two women made them the same...each trying to "outdo" the other with the best cake!   Some added apples, put an apple beside them in the cooler to keep them moist, cinnamon, no cinnamon, salt or no salt, the differences are as many as there were women in Lake County....

Once the cakes were made and wrapped tightly in "foil paper"...they were set on the back porch or somewhere to keep them cool.   The fresh coconut will spoil if not kept cool! 

Grandmother always shipped her brothers a cake...or usually 1/2 of a cake.   I remember that she sent one to my Uncle Sonny who was stationed in Italy during WWII.

When I was young I did not like them at is an acquired taste. 

Paul's Mother, like my Grandmother and later on with help from my Mother, would make several two or three layer cakes....a HUGE job!

Don't even try to make one in a takes a day of prep just to get ready for baking day!

Amalgamation Cake (Lake County Style)

4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon ground Nutmeg

1 tablespoon ground Allspice

1 tablespoon ground Cloves

½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups “real” butter (room temperature)

2 cups buttermilk

6 large eggs

1 pint seedless blackberry jam

1 cup ground dark raisins ( I use the blade in my Cuisinart to do this – process until raisins make a ball in bowl in the food processor)


8 egg yolks

4 cups sugar

2 heaping tablespoons all purpose flour

1 cup “real” butter

2 ½ cups evaporated milk

4 cups ground raisins

4 cups freshly grated coconut (this is the hard part – if you must you may use frozen shredded)

2 cups chopped pecans

Cake Directions:

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs. Mix all dry ingredients, then add alternately with buttermilk. Add jam and raisins, beat until well mixed.

Divide equally between (3) 9” square baking pans that have been treated with “Pam”..(you may use round pans)

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes until springs back in center.

Let cool for 30 minutes before icing!


Icing Directions:

In an extra large saucepan – combine flour and sugar. Add evaporated milk, slightly beaten egg yolks, and butter. Stirring constantly over low heat…bring to boil. Add raisins, pecans, and coconut to mixture. Remove from heat and beat until thick and creamy.

Allow icing to cool for several minutes before putting on cake.

After icing – wrap cake in waxed paper and then foil…refrigerate.



Homemade Boiled Custard

1 gallon sweet milk

8 eggs separate

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups sugar

dash salt

Beat egg whites and add ½ cup sugar.

Beat 1 ½ cup sugar in to egg yolks.

Bring milk to heat just before boiling (coats a spoon)

Add ¼ cup of hot milk to egg yolks then add egg yolks to milk

Add egg whites, vanilla and salt

Beat with wooden spoon until thick and creamy.


*add Bourbon Whiskey if desired to each serving


Rosemaryandthegoat said...

This cake sounds almost exactly like the one my mother use to make back in the 50's. I was writing a blog about it for upcoming holidays and ran across your post. Stop by my blog. Anyway I googled the re pie to see if I could find the origin and your recipe was the only one I found similar to my recipe. Others had cake mix and no blackberry jam. I remember my mother wrapping hers in plastic wrap and sitting in closet floor. This was in southeast Missouri.

Rosemaryandthegoat said...

One other thing. My parents moved to Reelfoot Lakeabout 28 years ago. They both passed away in 2008 and I have such fond memories of things we would cook together.

fultonflyer said...

I did a search on "Amalgamation cake" and the first thing I clicked on was your blog. Very interesting for I was born right across the road from your Grandmother Otie Ligon in 1936. My Grandmother Craven owned the farm across the road from the Ligons and I remember your family well. In fact a group of my family and Miss Otie attended a dinner at Boyette's at Reelfoot some years back which was before my Mother Georgia Craven and Miss Otie died. I also remember your Mother and her sister. Anyway, with the exception of my family made the cakes with a round tin and yours being square, the rest of the cake looks just like I remember. Mother always made two around Thanksgiving and put them in a tin cake box usually with apples or sometimes wine and let them age until Christmas. Boy those cakes were great. Write if you have time.

Bob Craven
261 Craven Road
Fulton, KY 42041

Son of Virgil and Georgia Craven.

Cheryl in Dallas said...

My 84 year old mother and I were just discussing the difficulty of making THE CAKE when we decided to get online and see if anyone else had an easier icing recipe. We found your site and EUREKA! My mom moved from Lake County (Ridgely) to Missouri when she was eight. My grandmother, Clara Faucett, was born in Mount Vernon, Missouri, but then moved to Lake County where she married Jack Hayes and began her family. The Amalgamation Cake has been a Christmas standard as long as my mother can remember. It's my dad's absolute favorite and she labors to make it each year. This year I'm going to make it with her and learn the ropes. We had such fun reading about the women of Lake County and the cake tradition. Bake on!

Gardengrrl said...

Hi Martha,

This looks like a great cake with which to start a tradition! Could you please tell me what 'sweet milk' is? Being a born-and-bred Pennsylvanian, I have never heard of this mystery ingredient....LOL!

Thank you!

Martha said...

Sweet milk is whole milk.