This is an old recipe brought up to date (minimally) by me. Miz Gibson was my grandparent’s cook in the 1940s when I was a child.
Miz Lily Belle Gibson’s Hickory Nut Cake
2 cups white sugar (can use half brown sugar if desired – use a bit less milk as it will be more moist)
1 cup butter – soft
6 egg yolks – (large)
4 cups flour – use half cake flour if you have it.
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon soda (bicarb)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup bourbon
3/4 cup sweet milk
2 cups chopped hickory nuts dredged in 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sultanas also can use chopped dried apples, toss with nuts and flour.
the egg whites from the 6 eggs beaten to soft peaks
more bourbon for brushing on the baked cake
Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
Line the bottom of three greased 9 inch cake pans with wax paper
In a large mixing bowl put sugar and soft butter and cream until fluffy.
Add egg yolks, 2, 2 and 2, beating well after each addition.
In another bowl sift together the flour, spices, soda and salt.
Combine the bourbon and milk.
To the creamed mixture add the dry and wet ingredients alternately, blending well.
Stir nuts and sultanas into the batter and blend until distributed evenly.
Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.
Carefully ladle the batter into the prepared pans no more than 2/3ds full.
Bake on center rack in oven for 50 minutes.
Open oven door gently and test cake with a straw. If not done, continue baking for 10 more minutes and test again.
When done remove from oven, cool in pans for 20 minutes then turn out onto wire rack.
Cool for at least three hours.
Brush cakes with bourbon, wrap in wax paper and set in ice box overnight.
Burnt sugar frosting
Make some burnt sugar syrup.
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
In a heavy pan melt the sugar until just golden – use a light colored pan so it won’t get too brown.
reduce heat to low
pour the boiling water down the side of the pan, stirring to dissolve the melted sugar
add the butter and stir well to blend completely.
Set aside to cool.
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup burnt sugar syrup
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons light cream
3/4 cup hickory nuts (can omit if short of nuts)
Combine the sugar, the cooled burnt sugar syrup, butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl (or mixer bowl)
Beat until well blended (medium speed in a mixer).
Add the cream and continue beating until thick and soft. If too stiff add a bit more cream.
Put one cake layer on a plate, bottom up, spread with half a cup or so of frosting and sprinkle with 1/3 remaining nuts.
Add the second layer and repeat with frosting and nuts.
Add the third layer, cover the sides thinly, pile the remainder of the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly over the top and down the sides.
Sprinkle the top evenly with the rest of the hickory nuts.