I have a bad habit of going to yoga class hungry and instead of craving things like green tea and acai, I fantasize about sweets. Recently I got fixated on this lost recipe my mother used to make with cake mix and lots of sherry. Amazingly, my friend Margaret from class knew just what I was talking about and even had the recipe. She sent it to me with this note scribbled across the top: “ Yum. I can smell it now.” That sums up why this classic from the past sticks in your mind no matter how much you try to live in the present.
1 package Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
1 package Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding (see note)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sherry (any kind)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds or 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
powdered sugar or frosting (below)
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
1 package powdered sugar
1/4 cup sherry
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease a Bundt pan or tube pan. With an electric mixer, beat cake ingredients for 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then turn out cake while still warm (or it will stick to pan). Dust with powdered sugar or coat with frosting.
To make the frosting, beat the ingredients together until smooth. As Margaret wrote: “we never did the frosting, but it does give a reason to bring the sherry bottle back out.”
note: you can make the cake without the pudding mix; it will be lighter and less rich, but it will also have fewer processed ingredients.