Aunt Lil – A Maine Adventure

Yes, I’ve been mighty quiet, but for good reason. On November 13, I began a new job in Castine, Maine! And with great luck our house in New Hampshire sold in two days resulting in a flurry of activity as we bought a home and moved the household and animals four hours northeast.

Castine Common

For those of you not familiar with Castine, just suffice to say as a historian I have dropped down the rabbit hole and appeared back in time. This coastal village is on the National Register – not just a house here and there – the whole village! My office as Director of the Castine Historical Society overlooks the Town Common (1817). It’s magical!

We are a bit more settled in our house, so last Friday when we were invited to a potluck “Cabin Fever” dinner, I was able to actually bake. I chose what looked like a yummy and portable Butterscotch Spice Cake from the Betty Crocker’s Hostess Cookbook (1967). I figured I couldn’t go wrong with a Betty Crocker recipe. The book’s cover touts “featuring more than 400 guest-tested recipes” as well as this alluring cover showing the beginning of a perfect 1960s party.

Vintage photo of the Pink Palace in Castine

Now please don’t think that our first soiree in Castine was to some quaint 18th c. New England house. Surprisingly, we arrived at what the locals still call The Pink Palace. Built for a wealthy heiress as her summer retreat in 1924, this house is right out of Sunset Boulevard. Totally impractical for this coastal climate, The Pink Palace has survived thanks to the owners who have lovely restored this decadent and fascinating home. Here’s an excellent article  (scroll down when you click on the link) about the house with many gorgeous photos. We were entranced!

And yes, the cake was scrumptious and easy to make. It would have been way easier if I’d found my mix master to help cream the butter, but I managed to cream butter by hand. Go figure.

The finished cake ready to take to the party

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 c. brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. shortening (I used butter)
  • 1 c. water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs. dark molasses

Heat over to 350 degrees

Grease and flour an oblong pan, 13 x 9 x 2″

Cream the butter and sugars (dark and regular)

Measure and mix all other dry ingredients

Add the water, eggs and molasses and mix all together in a mixer

Pour into the prepared pan

Bake 35-40 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean

Let cool slightly while you make the topping

Coconut Topping

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2/3 c. brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 c. flaked coconut
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 3 tbs. light cream (I didn’t have any and used milk which worked fine)

Melt the butter

Stir into melted butter the brown sugar, coconut, pecans and cream

Spread over top of cake

Broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes until golden brown (I forgot to do this!)

This is a super easy cake to whip together and has a pleasant taste. The cake tastes even better the next day. A definite hit!




One Response to “Aunt Lil – A Maine Adventure”

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  1. Beverly Duell-Moore says:

    So, glad to see you back, Aunt Lil!

    Boy, that sounds great! I wonder if it would work if I left the nuts out. This would be something different when we get together with a few friends to scrapbook.

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