Weary Willow Cake

I really couldn’t tell you why it has this name.

I wish I could. I’ve looked, I really have. There’s no indication that there’s a standard recipe for weary willow cake, or willow cake, or chocolate willow cake. If a weary willow is even a thing, it’s news to me. If you’ve got any information feel free to pass it along.

At any rate, a cake with similar instructions appeared under a less fanciful name in the January 13, 1934 edition of The Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald:

Chocolate Cake

Two squares unsweetened chocolate, two Tablespoons butter, one cup sugar, two eggs, one-half cup milk, one cup flour, two teaspoons baking powder, a pinch of salt, one teaspoon vanilla. Melt chocolate and butter together in a double boiler. When melted add sugar, then flour, salt and baking powder, sifted together, lastly vanilla. Beat well about three minutes. Bake in a moderate oven thirty minutes, and ice with an icing made by melting one square of chocolate, adding one cup of icing sugar, one teaspoon melted butter, one-half teaspoon vanilla and enough cream to make it of smooth consistency to spread.

From a notebook originally from somewhere in the general area of Sterling, Colorado from the 1930s.

This recipe is from the 11th page of the notebook; here’s the page in full (click to enlarge).

Click to expand a longer explanation...
In the words of the seller:
I acquired this book from the great granddaughter of the woman who wrote this book back in a small Nebraska town in the 30’s. She belonged to that generation of rural housewives who worked tirelessly to make ends meet and “keep body and soul together” for their families working the farms.

Later addendum:

[A]fter a conversation I had with a friend’s sister who used to live in North Eastern Colorado, given the type of recipes listed we decided it might be from a small town there, i.e., Sterling or Fort Morgan. Also North Platte or Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Even Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you Google a map of Sterling, Colorado and pull back, you will see all these little towns in that tri-state area.

Weary Willow Cake

2 squares chocolate
3 Tbsp. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. cake flour
2 eggs
salt
2 tsp. baking powder
vanilla
[milk]

Melt chocolate and butter together.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder together. Break eggs in cup. Fill remaining cup with milk; add vanilla. Mix egg, milk.

Add vanilla, milk, and egg into flour and sugar mixture. Lastly, add cooled chocolate and butter. Beat well.

Marg Pfeifer (spelling)



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