How I Learned to Make Aunt Ruby’s Cake

Post by community member:

When I was a child, my mother worked full-time. She also loved to cook and taught me early on. I spent a pretty fair amount of time standing on a stool next to her following her directions. Her love for cooking was passed down to me, and to this day, I love to try new recipes and prepare the tried and true family favorites as well.


One day when I was about 10, Mom called me from her office and told me that we were going to have company for supper. Since it was unexpected, there wasn’t any dessert on hand–things like dessert were not an everyday thing in our home–and she asked me to make Aunt Ruby’s cake. Devil’s Food with chocolate frosting is among my favorite things, so I readily agreed. I got out the recipe card (one that my grandma had typed on her portable Royal typewriter) from the box, uncovered the Sunbeam mixer, and got to work. After I’d added the last of the ingredients, I stood and proudly watched the batter swirling around the beaters and that was when I realized something wasn’t quite right. The batter was SO shiny……

I agonized over it for some time and then finally broke down and called Mom at work–something you were only allowed to do in an emergency. When I told her the batter looked funny she had me tell her what I’d put into it. I said , “Two cups of sugar, and then it says two or three cups of Crisco, so I put in two and a half.” There was a beat of silence and then I heard a groan that turned into a chuckle. “That’s supposed to be two-thirds of a cup of Crisco, not two or three. Call Grandma to come help you.” Seems my Grandma’s typewriter had a key for a quarter and a key for a half but not one for two-thirds so she’d used the normal sized numbers and a slash. In my inexperience I didn’t realize that was waaaay too much Crisco.

Today, I’d probably see if the chickens like cake batter and start over, but we couldn’t really afford to do that at the time so Grandma came over and we did the math and produced a whole lot of extra cake that was frozen for future reference. We had cake that night, and a few other nights too!

Here’s the recipe in case you’d like to try it out for yourself.

How to make Aunt Ruby’s Devil’s Food Cake:

1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup Crisco
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 cup hot water

Combine cocoa with either the sugar or the flour, then mix the ingredients in the order given.

Bake in greased and floured 8″ round pans at 300 degrees for 35-50 minutes.


Get the handy print page and save this to your recipe box here:
Aunt Ruby’s Devil’s Food Cake.

Do you have a recipe post or kitchen-related story to share on the Farm Bell blog? See Farm Bell Blog Submissions for information and to submit a post.

Want to subscribe to the Farm Bell blog? Go here.

Ads will not print