Rich’s mom was in town for a long weekend and we almost literally ate our way through St. Louis. She stayed for 5½ days and I think we gained about ten pounds while she was here. Quick run-down of her stay:
-Homemade cheese-stuffed shells, very buttery garlic bread (thanks Calvin!), and then out for frozen yogurt
-Out for burgers, fries and ice cream for lunch the next day
-Homemade pizza for dinner (probably the healthiest meal of the week)
-Homemade angel food cake with caramel icing/sauce and peaches for my mom’s birthday
-Doughnuts from World’s Fair Donuts before touring the Botanical Gardens
-Deep dish pizza at Pi for lunch, including garlic bread and shakes for dessert
-Homemade (baked) vanilla doughnuts for breakfast
-Cheese and chocolate fondue for dinner at The Melting Pot to celebrate Calvin’s good grades
-Our own cheese plate, with four cheeses, pita chips (home crisped from store pitas – post on those next week), spiced nuts from a recipe on The Sweets Life blog, dried fruit and apple slices
-Homemade Black Devil’s Food cupcakes, with double icing (post coming soon)
After all that I was tempted to post a recipe for plain oatmeal, no milk, no butter, no cream, no brown sugar. But I took pity on everyone and am doing the caramel icing. This was my maternal grandmother’s topping for angel food cake. She never put any other icing on angel food cake – it was either plain, or had this icing on it. And she never put this icing on any other cake. I don’t recall that it even had a name; it was just “that icing that Grandma puts on angel food cake.”
My brother and I always hoped Grandma would make this icing when she said she was making angel food cake, though I don’t know that we ever requested it. It was always a surprise. And it wasn’t always in the same form. Sometimes the icing glazed the cake, drizzling down the sides like it was supposed to. Sometimes it all sat on top in a thick layer. And sometimes it all ran off the cake and made a puddle in the hole in the middle and around the edges. Not sure if it was the weather, or if Grandma sometimes cooked it longer than others. We always ate it – no matter what form it takes, the icing is good.
My mother and grandmother hardly ever used cake mixes, but angel food cake was the exception. When you have the time and want to try it, make an angel food cake from scratch (I’ll do a post sometime). But one from a mix is perfectly tasty and almost foolproof.
Grandma’s Caramel Icing
When I asked for the recipe, Grandma’s directions were to cook until thick. That’s all. I expanded on the directions just a bit here.
2/3 cup (5 oz. can) evaporated milk*
2/3 cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine milk, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring almost constantly, about 8 minutes. Icing will begin to turn a light tan. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Stir until slightly thicker, about 5 minutes. Pour over cake and let icing drizzle down the sides. Or, if you prefer, pour into a bowl to serve as a sauce. You might have to rewarm the sauce for a few seconds in the microwave if you are serving it later.
Let icing cool and set up before slicing cake. The icing tastes even better the next day.
*If you can’t find the small cans of evaporated milk, measure out the 2/3 cup from a larger can and store the rest in the fridge for a later use. Maybe another batch of icing…