It seems as though the celebration of Kwanzaa, which is a celebration of Black culture, never caught on. No kidding! We just experienced the ultimate celebration that lasted for a month and included much drinking and eating; people are tired of it by Dec. 26 and need a break.
One Kwanzaa, many years ago, I decided to check into the foods associated with the day. I found a delicious chocolate cake recipe that contained several kinds of fruit and a light vanilla glaze. I thought I’d share that today, but I’ve looked through my recipes and can’t find it.
So I began an internet search that yielded not the recipe I wanted, but a food scandal I was unaware of.
There was a cooking show host named Sandra Lee who prided herself on offering easy, quick recipes for just about anything, many based on mixes.
She made a Kwanzaa cake that has been described as nasty and gross.
Worse, many found it insulting because Lee is a white woman offering a recipe for a dish associated with a Black cultural event.
Not that your color determines what you’re allowed to eat, but you might not be an expert enough cook to come up with recipes to celebrate another culture’s holiday.
In fact, when you read the recipe, you might think it’s meant to celebrate cooks who don’t know what they’re doing.
Lee recommends buying an angel food cake, splitting it, making a questionable mixture that includes prepared icing and apple pie filling to use to put the layers back together and icing it with more of the same. Garnish with corn nuts.
I’m not a food snob, but this recipe left me speechless, too. As a cook, I feel insulted. Not only does it sound terrible, but it’s not even a cooking process.
Lee’s show, called "Semi-Homemade," was meant to help you find easier ways to get things done in the kitchen, but even I know, in the end, the food has to be edible. I’m not sure this was.
Meanwhile, I still haven’t found my old Kwanzaa cake, but I did stumble onto one from Hershey’s. You know that has to be good.
CoCoa Kwanzaa Cake
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or sour milk
Halved pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons hot water
Butter Rum Glaze (optional)
2 tablespoons light rum or 1 teaspoon rum flavoring
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan, 10-inch tub pan.
In large mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla on medium speed of electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; add alternately with buttermilk to butter mixture, beating well just until blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or glaze with Vanilla Glaze or Butter Rum Glaze. Garnish with pecans or walnut halves, if desired.
Vanilla Glaze: In small saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat; blend in powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is of desired consistency. Spoon onto cake, allowing some to drizzle down sides.
Butter Rum Glaze: Omit vanilla. Substitute 2 tablespoons light rum or 1 teaspoon rum flavoring. Stir in hot water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is of desired consistency.
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