This isn’t really a “Cakeover” story per se (where I take a vintage recipe from the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s and update it). No, this recipe is the original, as submitted to me by my old home-state friend (and peer reviewer* for my upcoming book) Valerie Andrews. Valerie was reminded of this recipe from her grandmother Josephine, when she read my post on Watergate Cake this summer.
Accompanying the recipe in the Andrews’ Family Cookbook is a note that reads, “Josephine Gonzales Andrews (Mom) got this recipe from Anne Gautreaux, one of her United Methodist Women at Gonzales Methodist Church. Mom used it for all occasions. There is no actual Tabasco in this cake, and you don’t have to make a roux.” Hilarious! (although a splash of Tobacco might be an interesting twist on this dessert! – okay – don’t do that.)
This simple-to-make recipe yields a very moist and truly delicious cake. Since Aubyn and I are both cake-hounds, I don’t expect it to last but a couple days in our house (I may sneekretly freeze some so we don’t make cochons of ourselves.)
Josephine Gonzales Andrews’ Cajun Cake
For the Cake
2 cups flour
1, No. 2 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple
1-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
For the Icing
1 stick oleo (for you young-uns, that’s vintage-speak for margarine – I used Parkay)
1 small can (5 oz) evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix all ingredients together and beat by hand for one minute.
Pour in a greased 11” x 14” pan.
Bake for 40 minutes at 300º.
Mix oleo, milk and sugar. Boil for 5 minutes. Add vanilla, nuts, and coconut. Spread on hot cake.
C’est tout! If you have a favorite recipe from your family and wouldn’t mind me splashing it across all the world’s ether, lemme know – I’d love to share it!
*Since my book, Stone Motel: Memoirs of a Cajun Boy, is being published by an academic press – University Press of Mississippi – a “peer review” process was required. They asked me to put them in touch with professionals who had either worked in academia and/or book publishing, and were knowledgeable about Cajun Louisiana, and the time period of the book. I gave them a couple of names and Valerie’s was one of the ones they picked. Valerie, who teaches at Loyola University in New Orleans, graciously provided very thoughtful, constructive, and, most important, useful feedback that I believe helped me make my book stronger and more enjoyable to read.
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4 thoughts on “Cakeover: Josephine Gonzales Andrews’ Church Lady Cajun Cake”
Oohhh I should send you my Maw-Maw’s Orange Glazed Cake recipe… just thinking about it takes me back to being about 8 years old, impatiently peering in her oven, while it baked.
I’m enjoying these posts so much! Hugs from Prague.
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Brgds, Richard L. Bond
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Thank’s Richard! Send that recipe!!
Morris, thank you so much for all those glowing words and for sharing Mom’s recipe. (She would be so proud that others were enjoying the recipe, which she always make in traditional round cake pans, but I like the idea of a sheet cake!) Josephine was a minister’s wife, and she was always prepared for that “drop by” company that was part of the ministerial life. She almost always had a cake to serve with her famous coffee (Community, of course). She sometimes had to put on a last-minute wedding in the parsonage as well; in addition to playing the piano, cutting flowers for a bouquet and serving as a witness, she provided the “reception,” which was coffee and cake. She was truly a (Cajun) Steel Magnolia! To all who make the recipe, bon appetit!
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THANK YOU, Valerie! I’m eating more of the cake as I write this! Love that your grandmother was such a good Cajun Steel Magnolia! I wanted to make this in round pans as well, but I first wanted to follow her recipe as closely as possible, so I went with the sheet cake. It works beautifully!