Editor’s note: This reader recipe is an online addition to our September 2017 cover story, “Recipes from the heart.”

Virginia’s famous hot milk cake

From Carol Burhenn

My mom was a faithful and positive presence in her church. She didn’t teach Sunday School, serve on the church council or sing in the choir, but she served Christ in the way that she knew best. Mom baked cakes, jelly rolls and cupcakes for everyone. These were made with a heavy dose of faith and love. Her friends, acquaintances and family referred to her recipe as Virginia’s cake.

I have no idea how many of these cakes and the multiple variations she baked over the course of her 94 years, but every church bake sale, new baby, sick or mourning friend could be sure that they would be the recipient of some version of Virginia’s cake. She shipped the cake throughout the U.S. to family members who were in college or the military. When at age 84 mom and dad planned their move to a retirement village, her first question was “Does the apartment have a good oven?”

As my sisters and I planned the Celebration of Life service for our parents, we agreed that Virginia’s cake had to be part of the remembrance. The recipe represented her commitment of love for God’s children. For the meal following the service, a friend baked small cupcakes using the recipe. We gave copies of the recipe to all who attended.

I bake Virginia’s cake, specifically the cinnamon cake version, for church members and friends. As the parish nurse at my church, I am blessed to visit with members in their homes. I like to bring a cake with me to the visit. The recipe easily makes three 6″ layer cakes, just right for a single person or couple. When I deliver the cakes, I have the opportunity to share with people the story of my mom’s love for others.

Recipe (makes 1 cake)

3 eggs at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 stick margarine or butter
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon flavoring

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. heat margarine and milk together—do not boil—set aside. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside. In a large bowl beat eggs until fluffy. Slowly add sugar while continuing to beat mixture. Add half of the milk mixture, then add half of the milk mixture then flour mixture. Batter will be thin. Add flavoring last but beat only until all ingredients are blended well. Bake in a greased and floured pan until top is golden and springs back after light touch or cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Cinnamon cake variation: Bake 9×13-inch rectangular pan or two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans. Before backing, sprinkle on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, then dot top with small bits of butter.

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