Thursday, January 10, 2013

Are You a Recipe Hoarder?

Chocolate Cake
       I am not a big cake eater, my wife on the other hand is a huge cake eater.  It is her favorite food.  She especially loves chocolate cake.  My problem with cake is all the white flour, and most cakes although they look great, are dry and tasteless.  My standard for a chocolate cake came years ago in a family owned restaurant chain in Arizona called Guggy's. They were really popular in the 80's.  It was a coffee shop style restaurant.  I was a waiter there for a couple of years and I tell you they had the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten.  It was four or more layer with a chocolate frosting and almonds.  The cake was so moist and tender.  When I bake a cake that is my standard.
      I tried to get the recipe from them years after the restaurant closed, but they would not part with the recipe.   I have thought a lot about that over the years and wondered why.  I have come up with a couple of reasons why they would not share the recipe.

     #1  It was a box recipe and they were to embarrassed to tell me that.
     #2  They lost the recipe and didn't want to tell me.
     #3  They used a frozen cake made by another company and didn't want to tell me.
     #4   Or they are just heartless stingy people that don't understand the importance of sharing recipes.

     I understand when someone has a recipe that they use to make a living on.  Such as a speciality shop or cafe, etc.  But to just not share a recipe is downright wrong.  I don't believe in recipe hoarders.  Life is to short to keep cooking secrets.

     Our family learned that lesson the hard way.  My grandmother was a wonderful cook and a recipe hoarder.  She never would share her recipes with anyone.  They were guarded secrets never to be revealed.  She told us that we would get them after she died,  that was her legacy to her family.  We all anxiously waited for her to die.  JUST KIDDING.  But when she did die I approached her husband, my evil (not kidding) step grandfather for her recipes.  He for a few dollars had sold them to a neighbor of theirs.  I was shocked.  How could he do that?  Anyway, I approached the neighbor lady and asked her for the recipes.  She informed me that she had bought them fair and square and they belonged to her.  She even refused to give me copies.

      I have long since forgiven her and my grandfather picturing in my mind my Grandmother beating them up on the other side.  That has given me great comfort over the years.  But the lesson was learned, share now the recipes you have with those you love and whoever asks.  What a great complement when someone asks you for a recipe for food you prepared.

     When I eat food prepared from a recipe from a friend or family member I think of them.  We did have some recipes of my Grandmothers and each time I eat or taste food made from those recipes I think of my Grandmother.  Nothing like food has the power to bring up cherished memories.

     That is why I feel so strongly about sharing recipes. They are like strands of love that connect us to each other. It can build and strengthen family ties and friendships like nothing else can.

Wheat Free Chocolate Cake with Almond Frosting


         I hope you are not a  recipe hoarder.  Remember that when you share a recipe you are sharing part of your heart with someone.  Sharing a recipe is like saying "I love you".

Spelt Chocolate Layer Cake 
(Wheat Free)

This recipe is wonderful, it dates back 40 years or more. It was found in a collection of recipes from a man who had died, but spent his youth working in a bakery. This recipe had "good" written across the bottom of the page. It really is good, and also makes great cupcakes.

Step one: Cream following ingredients together until light.

4 oz. WonderFlour or fresh ground spelt flour
4 oz. sugar
3/4 pounds white sugar
9 oz. butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soda, baking
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of cinnamon

Step two: Whip following ingredient into step one.

6 large eggs

Step three: whip in 1 1/2 cups of butter milk into step one and two.

Step four: Whisk together following ingredients and add to step one, two, and three. Beat until smooth.

12 oz. WonderFlour or fresh ground spelt flour
4 oz. powdered sugar
2 oz. cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder

Fill three round 9in cake pans 3/4 full and bake in a 350 degree oven for 22-26 minutes (Poke a toothpick in the center to see if it's done) This recipe could also be used for cupcakes.

Top with buttercream frosting and enjoy.


  1. That story about your grandmother is heart breaking. I agree that sharing recipes or any good ideas for that matter is the right thing to do. Great things happen when everyone shares.

  2. Just tell yourself that the more you share your recipes with your friends and neighbors, the more likely you are to like the food when you eat at their houses ;)

  3. I love your thoughts Greg and Rachel. Perfect.

  4. I have recently converted to being a vegetarian and many of my friends are asking me to share some of the wonderful receipes I have either gotten out of cook books or adapted from receipes but more so the ones I have come up with all on my own. I freely share these. If it can bring pleasure to them and thier family them why not?! Don't be stingy people...share! Thanks for a great post.

  5. I remember everyone asking my grandmother for her recipes, but she couldn't tell them because she would just make it from memory with no set amount. It was all done by taste. It was till my mom started watching her and started writing down everything that we have all her recipes. Thanks for the story.

  6. Your posts are so delightful. It has been a few days since I've read your blog, and it's now 2am and I can't stop! Keep going. It's so fun to see your personality and life experiences shine through. You are so great!

  7. YES! Share the recipes. That is what I hope to do on a blog I just started using pressure cookers.