A Big Birthday Cake

By Jessica Pratt

Ava M. Owens, who was born in 1893, worked at the local grain elevator in Studley. She and her husband lived next door to my granny, Virginia Kraus.

Granny said they visited her almost weekly and she always liked to laugh and a good clean fun.  She was rather sickly as Granny recalls and didn’t get out of her house very much.  Granny said Mrs. Owings, a friend of her mother, gave the recipe to her as kind of a joke. She loved to make people laugh and this recipe certainly would put a smile on the face of anyone who reads it.

Growing up in Kansas, we always celebrated our birthdays with our families and friends present have a big dinner and a fancy birthday cake.  But the recipe still circulates in my family day.

This is the recipe she gave to Granny.

Birthday Cake, Ava M. Owings, Studley, Kansas

750 lbs butter

1000 lbs sugar

1500 lbs sifted cake flour

13 2/3 lbs baking powder

10 lbs 10 oz salt

62 ½ gal. water

62 ½ gal. milk

333 1/3 tbsp vanilla

Bake in 3,000 9 in. layers for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool, and ice with favorite frosting.

Jessica Pratt wrote about the birthday cake joke for Development of American Cuisine class, fall 2008 at KSU.