Grandma's Recipe Box: Waldorf-Astoria Red Cake

A made-from-scratch cake, this one is a 3-layer cake instead of Grandma's typical bundt or sheet choices.   If anyone successfully converts this recipe to a sheet cake, please let me know what you changed in cook time.

  • The recipe does not say if you flour and grease 8-inch round pans, but I am thinking you should if you want the layers to not stick. 
  • If you do not want to fuss with making a from scratch cake, you might try using a Red Velvet cake mix and then use the icing recipe below to make it like Waldorf-Astoria.

Waldorf-Astoria Red Cake


1 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
2 cups cake flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 oz. red food coloring
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa, heaping
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vinegar.

  1. Sift together 3 times mixture of: flour, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream sugar and Crisco in large bowl. Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add coloring.
  3. Add milk and flour mixture alternately.
  4. Fold in vinegar and soda. Add vanilla.
  5. Makes 3 layers pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. 

Waldorf-Astoria Red Cake Icing


1 cup milk
1 cup Crisco
1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1  can (3.8 oz) Bakers Angel Flake coconut (approx 1 & 1/3 NOT packed cups if using bagged)

  1. Cook together milk, flour, and salt until very thick.  Cool.
  2. Cream Crisco and sugar together.
  3. Add cooked mix and beat well.
  4. Spread on cake layers, stack, then frost and sprinkle coconut over it.

Grandma's Recipe Box: Creamy Baked Chicken

I personally do not remember eating this casserole at grandma's house.  However, it seems very familiar so I think my mom must have made this for us or something very similar.  My brothers loved almost anything made with noodles, spaghetti, or macaroni especially if cheese was included too.  My mom liked dishes made with pasta as they went further and often cost less for her large family.  Once she started working outside-the-home, for quick meals we had a lot of Hamburger Helper!

If you like chicken casseroles, you may also want to check out my Mom's Chicken Tortilla Casserole, my spouse's Chicken Rice Casserole, or rotisserie Chicken Chalupa Casserole recipes.

Creamy Baked Chicken


8 oz. package elbow macaroni, cooked
2 cups diced chicken
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
10 1/2 oz. can cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon mustard

1 cup soft bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons butter

  1. Combine all casserole ingredients.
  2. Put in buttered 2 quart casserole dish.
  3. Toss bread crumbs with melted butter.  Sprinkle over top.
  4. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 50 or 60 minutes. 

Grandma's Recipe Box: Pecan Cookies - Gluten Free

These cookies are not made with wheat flour instead using nut meal, so they should be gluten free but not okay for those with nut-allergies.    If you can not find pecan meal or do not wish to make your own, you might want to try another nut meal to see how the recipe turns out.

My grandma's recipe calls for pecan meal since she had plenty  with more than one pecan tree on her property.  When the pecans were ready to pick up off the ground, my grandfather would be the one to pick them up.  Grandma and great-grandma would help if none of their grandchildren or children were around at the time.   Any grandchild, on hand, got the fun of going under the shade and helping grandpa find perfect looking pecans while he told us stories and jokes.  If kids grew tired of the pecan hunt and they were under the tree by the creek (that was not near the street), we could climb the tree or play on the swing hanging from it until grandpa was ready to move on.

Pecan Cookies


2 cups ground pecans (or pecan meal)
2/3 cup sugar
2 unbeaten egg whites
1/3 cup strawberry preserves
18 candied or maraschino cherries, cut in half

  1. Combine pecans and sugar.
  2. Add egg whites and mix until mixture is completely damp.
  3. From into small balls (mixture will be moist),
  4. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Press a small hole (not all the way through)  in center of each ball ] with fingertip.
  6. Fill hole with strawberry preserves.
  7. Top preserves with cherry halves (out-side down).
  8. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) about 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from cookie sheet at once to prevent sticking.

Grandma's Recipe Box: Frozen Fruit Salad and Dressing

I remember one time when I was very young and visiting my grandma for lunch.  She told me to get ice for the glasses.  After I opened the freezer part of the refrigerator, I asked "What is in all these cool whip bowls in the freezer?"  She replied "Fruit salad."  I thought I must have misheard her and she meant fruit from the garden that she choose to freeze rather than can, so I did not press further.  Now I believe she was talking about having put the below recipe into portioned meal servings for her and Grandpa to share.  

Here is a great cold dessert from my Grandma's recipe box that you might want to try out for a family gathering on a hot day.  You may also want to check out Grandma's Orange Pineapple Salad if you like cottage cheese.  Or try other easy recipes from my family members that are cool summer desserts like Ambrosia Salad, Pink Stuff, or "ice box pies" of: Key Lime,  Millionaire, and Cheesecake .

Fruit Salad Dressing Recipe


1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoon flour
1 egg (well beaten)
2 Tablespoons vinegar
3/4 cup pineapple juice

  1. Mix ingredients in order given above, stirring well after each addition.
  2. Cook over low heat until thick and smooth, stirring constantly.
  3. Cool before adding to fruit salad.

Frozen Fruit Salad Recipe


3 ripe bananas
1 cup diced canned diced pineapple
1 cup diced can pears
1 dozen halved maraschino cherries
1 cup fruit salad dressing (recipe above)
1 cup cool whip

  1. Mash bananas to a smooth pulp.
  2. Add pineapples, pears, and cherries.
  3. Then add fruit salad dressing dressing and cool whip.
  4. Freeze until hard.

Easy Three Ingredient Cake or Cobbler Recipes

Did you know you can easily make a custom cake using a standard cake mix and just two additional ingredients?  You simply use any flavor of cake mix with any desired fruit combination to create your own special dish.  The basic recipes for cake or cobbler are below, along with some  flavor ideas and tips for changing it up.

3-Ingredient Cake Recipe


1 box of cake mix
1 (21 oz.) can of fruit pie filling
3 eggs

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Pour into greased 9x13 pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Remove from oven when toothpick comes out clean.
  • If you want chunks of fruit in the cake, mix by hand.  Use a beater if you want a more traditional cake.
  • Make it seem like a fancy dessert by serve each slice with cool whip on top or drizzled with a flavored ice cream syrup.
  • You can also make this as a layer cake in two 8-inch pans a put  whipped cream or frosting on top and between the layers.    
  • You may also put it into a bundt pan or make two-dozen cupcakes if preferred .  For cupcakes bake for 25-20 minutes.  Use a sifter to sprinkle powdered sugar on top of cundt or cupcakes after removing from pan.
Blend Ideas:

Spice cake with apple pie filling
Chocolate cake with cherry pie filling
Lemon cake with blueberry pie filling
Carrot cake with pineapple pie filling
Strawberry cake with strawberry pie filling

3-Ingredient Cobbler Recipe (aka dump cake)


1 box of yellow (or white) cake mix
2 (15 oz) cans of fruit in syrup (or pie filling)
1/2 cup butter, melted

  1. Pour canned fruit in bottom of greased 9x13 pan.  Do not drain of syrup or juice.
  2. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over fruit.
  3. Drizzle melted butter over top of cake mix.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until golden brown on top.

  • You can use fruit in syrup, pie filling, or thawed frozen fruit to get the flavor you desire.  You may want to test low sugar and no sugar added options too.
  • Serve hot topped with ice cream.  Or allow to cool and serve with whipped cream on top.
  • Similar recipes called "dump cake" substitute 12 oz. can lemon-lime soda instead of the butter.  If you want to try that you will get more of a cake topper than cobbler crust.  Other "dump cake" recipes use 1 can of cola instead of lemon-lime and a chocolate cake mix or a fruit-flavored cake mix.   If using soda or cola, reduce bake time to 30-35 minutes.
Fruit Ideas:

Mixed berries
2 different kinds of fruit


Grandma's Recipe Box: Apricot Nectar Cake

I thought I would post another family favorite recipe from my grandmother.  This is a cake that she always seemed to have on hand when someone came to visit.  If she did not have this cake made, she probably had a plate of her famous apricot fried pies or a version of her teacake cookies instead.  The pies were not in this recipe box, so I'm hoping someone has that recipe.

Apricot Nectar Cake


4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup apricot nectar
3 oz. box orange Jello
1 box yellow cake mix
3/4 cup Wesson vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lemon extract

  1. Mix all this well, until creamy.
  2. Pour into greased and floured tube pan (or bundt pan).
  3. Bake a 325 degrees about an hour.
  • Cake stays fresh and moist for days.  Better after 2 days.

Apricot Icing/Glaze


1 cup apricot juice
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or lemon extract)

  1. Mix well.
  2. Pour over cake after removing it from pan.
  • Try same recipe only using a box of white cake mix and lemon jello instead.

Grandma's Recipe Box: Bacon and Beans

Here is another recipe from my Grandma's recipe box.  Try this recipe for your next barbecue as a smaller serving (makes 4-5) replacement for a big pot of baked beans.

Bacon and Beans 

1 (15 oz) can pork and beans
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 (9 oz) can sliced pineapple, drained
8 slices bacon

  1. Combine beans with onion and dry mustard into baking dish.
  2. Cut pineapple slices in half and overlap bacon and pineapple on top of bean mixture.
  3. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Grandma's Recipe Box: Orange Slice Candy Cake

My grandpa loved to eat orange candy slices and also loved this kinda fruitcake-sh dessert my grandmother made from them.  Since he loved the candy and the cake (recipe below), he often got bags of the orange slices for Christmas and his birthday from his children and grandchildren.  After all his gifts were open, Grandpa would count the candy bags and be laughing the whole time.  Later on, he would open one of the candy bags and share it with whatever kid wanted a slice.

At certain times of the year, you may find the candy in grocery stores or at old-fashioned candy shops.  However, your best bet year-round is to buy orange slices from Amazon.

Orange Slice Candy Cake 


1 cup margarine or shortening (or butter), softened
2 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 pound orange candy slices, cut-up
2 cups pecans
1 cup coconut
8 ounces dates, cut-up
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 cups flour (reserving 1/4 cup for candy mixture)

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Cream together shortening and sugar well.  Add vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time blending well with each addition.
  3. Combine candy, nuts, coconut, and dates.  Sprinkle over with 1/4 cup flour.  Mix well and set aside.
  4. Sift together remaining 3 & 3/4 cups flour and baking soda in large bowl.
  5. Add alternating with buttermilk to shortening/sugar mixture, mixing well.
  6. Add candy mixture last.
  7. Spoon cake mixture into greased (or sprayed) 10-inch tube pan (or bundt pan).
  8. Bake 2 & 1/2 hours at 300 degrees.
  9. Remove cake from pan and pour glaze (recipe below) over hot cake.
  10. Allow to set and cool so cake absorbs glaze.
  • Make glaze as soon as you remove cake from oven.  Let cake stand for about 5 minutes before removing it from pan and pouring on laze.
  • Instead of putting glaze over cake after it is removed from pan, you can poke holes in cake while in pan and pour glaze into baked cake for a more moist cake. 
  • If cake seems too dry, you might try baking at 250 degrees next time for 2 & 1/2 hours or at 300 for only 2 hours, as this is the recommendations for stoves now, which circulate heat much better than the old gas ovens like my Grandma had.  
  • Many websites say the cake is best made a day or two ahead so it is really moist when served.
  • Use loaf pans if you want to give away multiple cakes, but watch them as they may take less cooking time.  Use a toothpick to test readiness to remove from oven and note the actual time if you wish to repeat the process in the future.

Orange Juice Glaze


1 cup orange juice (fresh or made from thawed frozen)
2 cups powdered/confectioner sugar.

  1. Mix ingredients together in saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil and stir well until blended and clear.
  3. Pour over warm cake.
  • I could find the recipe card for Grandma's glaze, but I am sure she said it had orange juice in it.  So use the recipe above which appeared on similar recipes on the web. 
  • If you prefer a less sugary glaze, try 1 small can of frozen orange juice with 1/2 cup of light brown sugar.  Cook it the same as steps above.

Grandma's Recipe Box: Strawberry Pie

My grandmother and my mother were both known as excellent cooks and avid recipe collectors.  Before my grandmother passed away in 2006, my mom and her sisters cleaned out her house.  Different ones wanted various memorabilia of the parents.  My mom wanted her mother's (my grandma) recipes and some of her Guardian Service cookware to add to her own.  One of the items she took home was a small metal treasure chest containing handwritten recipes.

When I was going through my mom's things after her death in 2015, I found the recipe box (pictured here).  I promised my cousins and my nieces I would some day compile the recipes on this blog.  I also promised, if possible, to publish a few of the recipes in her handwriting.  If you follow the blog, you will notice how her handwriting changes a little as grandma got older.  However, some recipes in the recipe box are in the handwriting of daughters, sisters, and friends who gave grandma the recipe.

I have already published some of the recipes my mother and grandmother have given me on this blog in the past.  I am still looking for some of their recipes I remember from old church cookbooks and my relatives.  So if you are reading this blog and have a recipe you do not see here, please send me a copy.  Thanks in advance.

Since I am starting the recipe series in the summer, I thought it made sense to start with something easy, cool, and short.  So I am sharing her recipe for the Strawberry Pie I used to enjoy when my family went to Furr's Cafeteria when I was young.

Strawberry Pie Recipe


1 baked pie shell (cooled)
1 quart fresh strawberries (washed & green removed)
  1 cup sugar
  3 Tablespoons corn starch
  3 Tablespoons strawberry jello
  1 cup hot water

  1. Mix together and cook filling ingredients until clear.
  2. Place cleaned strawberries in cooked crust and pour cooked filling over them.
  3. Refrigerate and add whipped topping (Cool Whip or real whipping cream) just before serving.

Low-calorie Green Ham Soup Recipe

Below is my own version of spinach (or verde) soup made more flavorful with ham, while remaining low calorie.  Do not let the title fool you, the ham is not green.  Since the spinach turns the broth from yellow to pale green, I call it green ham soup.

Green Ham Soup Recipe

9 or 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach
4 cups chicken (or beef) broth
3 medium (or 6 small) potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
4 thick slices of ham, cut into small slivers
2 teaspoons paprika

  1. Cut potatoes and ham
  2. Place broth, spinach, and potatoes in pot and cook over medium heat until spinach thaws and separates.
  3. After pot begins to boil,  and add ham and paprika.  Cook for 15 minutes more or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Allow to cool a little before serving warm.
This low-calorie green ham soup recipe soup makes approximately 4 servings of less than 300 calories each.

  • If desired, a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese may be sprinkled on top of each serving for added flavor.  This adds 10 more calories per serving.
  • Alternatively, soup can be made creamy-tasting by stirring in 2 wedges of Laughing Cow soft cheese before serving,  This adds at least 8 more calories per serving.
  • Leftover soup may be refrigerated for a future meal.  However, do not freeze portions as potatoes will turn to mush during thawing/reheating.