The Days of Smocking and Spanish Bar Cake

Standard

17309111_604512906404242_360187449588545468_n.jpg

Photo-This was Murray Dover when he was 2 on Albert Street in Cowansville, Quebec. He was about my size and his Mother had made me a dress for my birthday- so he became the fitting model. Photo from the Dover family Collection

 

Every single day I worshipped the 3 Musketeers sing-along commercial on the Howdy Doody Show. Gentle hands would pick up the candy bar and snap it carefully in half with dark chocolate on the outside and wonderful soft nougat on the inside. It was marketed as the candy bar that was so big it could be enjoyed by two friends. In my mind there would be no sharing and come the weekend that candy bar (not available in Canada) would be mine, as we were taking a day-trip to Richford, Vermont to buy school supplies.

Saturday finally came and I was told to put on a brand new pink dress my mother had worked on all week. Clutching my ten sweaty American pennies we headed across the border and my heart did a flip flop when I told the American customs agent what I was going to buy. That Saturday it was a hot summer day my friends and it was the kind of heat that would allow your body to stick to your grandmother’s couch covered in clear plastic.

I sat at the Rexall Drugstore counter with my father and slowly sipped an icy root beer float while my mother went to the A & P across the street. My Dad, like his daughter was obsessive about food and needed his fix of A& P Spice Bars at least once a month. The Spice Bar was an oblong cake made of “the most delicate spices from the Orient” and covered in a buttercream frosting. For my father, 29 cents would buy him a piece of heaven.

My mother suddenly waved her hands and that was my signal to run to the candy counter and purchase the 3 Musketeers bar as my father yelled at her to hurry up before the Spice Bars melted. As my Mum and Dad loaded up the trunk I wasted not one second getting into the back of the car.

 

17264949_10154737117946886_8202566489093783699_n.jpg

Age 5 or 6 on Albert Street..Notice how we basically all have the same dress on that carried on for years?
Front row: the late Russell Rychard, Murray Dover Danny Dover..
Back row- France, Janet Sandstead, Sheila Wallet Needham, me and Judy Clough

 

As I got in I continued the summer ritual of fanning the hot vinyl seats quickly so I wouldn’t burn my legs and as soon as the seat was bearable I ripped the wrapper off the candy bar like a maniac. One does not need to tell you what that thing looked like after sitting on the Rexall shelves for a few days in the heat.

 

A huge puddle of liquid chocolate with a nougat filling proceeded to run down the dress that my mother had spent days hand smocking. As I attempted to stop the chocolate river with my hands it only seemed to get worse, so I quickly shoved what was left of it into my mouth.

The trunk slam shut, the car doors opened and a huge scream came out of my mother’s mouth as she looked at me. There I was sitting in the back seat with a huge chocolate face smile, and the cherished pink dress was now covered with brown hand prints and I was singing:

“1-2-3  big big big
1-2-3 big big big
It’s the candy treat that can’t be beat
Let’s give three big cheers
For the 3 big Musketeers!”

 

My parents never said another word on the way home, nor did the Canadian customs agent as he looked at me in shock while my father handed him an A & P Spice Bar. Today I realize that my father hoped that “the delicate spices of the Orient” would forever banish whatever story the custom agent was going to tell his colleagues after we left.

Forced back to reality I sighed as I remembered.  The innocence of childhood is now only in my dreams.

 

amed.jpg

A&P’s SPANISH BAR CAKE

Ingredients

2 c flour
1-1/2 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice, ground
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 c applesauce
2 medium eggs…slightly beaten
1 c raisins…..plump them in warm water,drain and use. .(add these last, after everything else is mixed)
………..frosting…….
8 oz cream cheese …softened
4 Tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 c confections sugar
1/3 c milk

1 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh

walnuts are an option…your choice

1 Gather your spices and the other ingredients together.
In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking soda.
Then add the cocoa,cinnamon,salt,nutmeg and allspice.
Mix well.

2 Next add the vegetable oil,applesauce,and the beaten eggs.
When all of the above is mixed,
Add the plumped raisins.
Put in a greased and floured 9×13 cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30to35 minutes
In a pre-heated oven.

3 FROSTING:
Mix the cream cheese,butter,vanilla,
confectioners sugar, milk and
lemon juice together.
Spread on the cake.

****YOUR OPTION: To make a layer cake, just like the original Spanish Bar Cake (see main foto) cut the cake into 2 pieces, then spread the frosting between the layers and on the top. Step back in time and enjoy this great cake

 

comments

Bonny Dover Burton–Did you notice they always made the hem bigger so you could wear it longer and was able to fill it out?

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Advertisements

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

4 responses »

  1. Thank’s for the recipe, was my favourite cake as a kid we bought it at the A &P in Cowansville also.

  2. Brought back memories, weekend drives to Plattsburgh from Montreal for those wonderful candies, you mention and other items, that were not available in Canada, including great LP’s at what were bargain prices to us.
    Bob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s