It’s easy to take for granted what great mothers we have and not realize what challenges other parents face all around the world. My mom raised me in two relatively small Kansas towns, pretty insulated from poverty, crime and life-threatening diseases. My daughter is having an even better childhood. She’s living in a safe and nurturing environment, with regular healthcare, top-notch schools and she’s already earning her own money. Don’t tune out when you realize I’m going to make a plea for your emotions and consideration. There will be cake too!
Read through some of my other posts and you’ll know that I support charities that raise funds and awareness for cancer research. I’m also devoted to organizations that help families and children, so I’m proud to post this recipe to draw attention to Make Time For Change. Frigidaire and actress Jennifer Garner have joined with Save the Children to promote healthier lifestyles for children living in poverty and they asked food bloggers to help spread the word. Through June 8, 2011, when you go to www.maketimeforchange.com, take a virtual swing and Frigidaire will donate up to $1 for your swing.
When I checked out Save the Children’s report on State of the World’s Mothers, I was astounded at some of the facts related to the 10 lowest-ranking countries for mothers:
- Over half of all births are not attended by skilled health personnel.
- 1 child in 6 dies before his or her fifth birthday.
- 1 child in 7 is not enrolled in primary school.
- 9 out of 10 women are likely to suffer the loss of a child in their lifetime.
Maybe the most surprising thing I learned was the United States is not ranked in the top 10 countries for mothers. In fact, we’re number 31. Doesn’t that make you sad, and I hope it also makes you want to do something about it. My mom taught me to give money or my time whenever possible and I encourage you to do the same. You can also take a swing, be an advocate, look around at your community and make changes that help children rise above poverty.
Okay, I promised you cake. Mom’s Wacky Cake was one of the earliest things I learned to bake. It was years later that I found out this recipe actually came about from mothers who didn’t have access to fresh eggs and milk. In fact, I’ve seen a version that is egg-less, milk-less and butter-less (substituting oil for butter). So in many ways, during bad times, it allowed moms to still give their children a little treat. What I’ve always loved about it was that you could mix and bake in the same pan. Today, I decided to mix in a bowl and bake mini cupcakes. The recipe card I have is actually in my writing, not mom’s. As I looked back through emails from mom, there was one dated May 11, 2008 saying:
I just baked a wacky cake for tonight, and the recipe card was handwritten by you. It was fun to remember when you sent it to me because I had lost mine. Love, Mom
Wacky Cake, makes 1 small square cake or 40 mini cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cocoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup cold water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a square (8” or 9”) baking pan with cooking spray or fill mini cupcake tins with paper liners.
- Toss together five dry ingredients and whisk to combine. If you’re baking a square cake, this can be done right in the prepared baking pan. Otherwise, use a mixing bowl.
- Add vinegar, vanilla and butter. Pour cold water over mixture and stir well.
- For square cake, bake for 30 minutes in 350 degree oven. For mini cupcakes, bake 15-18 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. These are so moist they don’t need frosting, but they go great with fresh berries.
Follow the step-by-step photos in this video: