Grandma’s Thunder Cake

Tomorrow is Grandparent day in my 1st graders class.  Can you tell we aren’t near a military base?  Clearly, this isn’t something I grew up with when I was in 1st grade, stationed at Sheppard AFB thousands of miles from either of my grandparents.

My first grader is fortunate.  His Grandpa and Grandma Kocsis live close enough that they are going to join him in his class for the morning.  I am filled with a sense of love.  Then at the same time I have a sense of some sadness.  My parents (his Grandpa and Grandma Kissinger) don’t live close.  They don’t get to see each other often enough in my book and this Thanksgiving does not involve a road trip for our family.

The holidays can be hard.  When we are apart from family, those that we love, our parents, our children, our own spouses, whatever the case may be, it can leave us feeling a bit stormy, filled with raging emotions of joy and sorrow all balled up in one.

Mrs. G had sent an email asking for parent volunteers who would be willing to bake for the special day, Grandparents Day.  I love volunteering for the class, in any way possible.  So I replied with a ‘Sure Thing!’  The next day a recipe for “Thunder Cake” came home.  I did a little research and learned it is from a book.

“In Thunder Cake, a grandmother helps her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder by baking a special cake while a storm threatens.”  I have not read the book but in a nutshell… Grandma distracts her granddaughter, afraid of the impending storm, by taking the time to bake cake together.

Wow, this resonates with me.  It is so much easier to wallow when we are thinking about what or who we are missing.  Instead of wallowing why not pull the kids into the kitchen and bake. Talk about great memories, memories they want to make.  Talk about your own childhood memories and memories you want to make with them.  Lick the beaters together.  Laugh. No matter what you are baking it is the recipe for joy. Before you know it you’ll be “living in the moment” not thinking about what you are missing.

Without further ado here is the recipe for Thunder Cake.  It is downright delicious! (We didn’t lick too much of the beater, I promise.)  If you aren’t sure what to cook up with your family try this one.  You won’t regret it.  You will be helping your family get past the storm.  What joy!

Thunder Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together one at a time:
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, separated
(Blend yolks in. Beat whites until they are stiff, then fold in.)
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup pureed tomatoes

Sift together:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup dry cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Mix dry mixture into creamy mixture. Bake in two greased and floured 8 1/2 inch pans at 350 degree for 35 to 40 minutes. Frost with chocolate butter frosting. Top with strawberries.

This cake is /delicious/ but what is even more delicious is the joy found in the kitchen spending time with those I love.  Distractions, the silver lining on a stormy day.

Wishing each of our military families a very Happy Thanksgiving.

– Leanne from

byLeanne KocsisonMonday, November 21, 2011Military Life:,,,,

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