As many of you may have figured out by now, I’m all about finding new recipes to try, so of course I wanted to add hers to my collection.
Marie Rutledge and I met several years ago through our volunteer work with the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Walker County. I hadn’t spoken with Marie in a while, so it was really great to hear from her. She just sweetened the call by asking me if I would like a copy of her recipe for Poke Sallet Cake.
My first reaction was, “‘Poke Sallet Cake,’ really?”
She said she thought I might like to try it since I liked Hummingbird cake, as the two of them are similar and in the spice cake family.
Marie stopped in at the Daily Mountain Eagle office a couple of days later with a copy of the recipe. She said she usually makes the cake to take to church functions and family gatherings.
“I love watching everyone’s reaction when they learn the name of the cake and its ingredients,” she said. “They either say, ‘Well, it was really good,’ or they head to the bathroom to throw up,’” she said.
I’m not a fan of poke sallet myself. I can remember when my grandmother used to fix it and my dad liked it too, but I’m not a fan. But I promised her I would give the recipe a try.
After Marie left, I looked over the recipe and discovered it had a couple of strange ingredients in it but still wouldn’t be that hard to make. As I continued to read the instructions, I got an even bigger surprise.
In the very last paragraph of the recipe was a funny little note from Jo Dickson Ziegler.
Jo wrote a column for the Daily Mountain Eagle many years ago that appeared in the paper each Wednesday.
Reading the note brought back a lot of memories for me. I loved Jo’s column and had the honor and privilege of working with her at the paper before she passed away.
The recipe Marie brought to me was actually a copy of a recipe which ran in Jo’s column at one point. Well, that just made me want to try the recipe even more because if Jo liked it, then it had to be good.
Before I could make the cake myself, Marie had another surprise in store for me.
When I got to the office Tuesday afternoon, our assistant circulation manager, Tia Jones, and newsroom secretary, Melanie Rickles, informed me someone had stopped and left a package for me.
That was a little scary at first with all the crazy things going on these days, but Melanie assured me everything was okay.
She said she had already checked out the contents of the package and had even thought about taking a bite of it before I got to the office.
“It’s two big ol’ pieces of cake and they look really good,” she said. “We put it in the refrigerator.”
I dropped my briefcase on my desk and headed for the kitchen. When I took the package out, I laughed, because Marie had put her name on a Post-it note and stuck it to the top of the container.
I said, “Oh my gosh, I know what this is!”
Inside the container were two humongous slices of Poke Sallet Cake and I grabbed a fork and took a big bite.
It was delicious! Before I knew it, I had eaten over half of one of the two slices Marie had put in the container.
I shared the cake with the folks in the office and got pretty much the same reaction as Marie said she did when she bakes it for church functions and family gatherings.
But I made one small mistake. When I offered someone a bite, some of them wanted to know what it was first and when I’d tell them they wouldn’t even give the cake a try.
But those who were brave enough to take that leap of faith were just as surprised as I was at how delicious the cake really was, so thanks Marie!
It was scrumptious and I will definitely be making it for our next family gathering.
For those of you who are not familiar with poke sallet, it is actually a North American plant which grows wild all around Walker County and is considered a delicacy by many.
Poke sallet, or pokeweed as it better known by, has red stems, spikes of cream flowers and purple berries, and is also called poke inkberry.
Many folks like it cooked with onions or scrambled eggs, but I had never heard of it used in a cake.
This was a first for me, but I promised that I would pass the recipe along in my column, just as Jo had done in hers years ago.
Poke Sallet Cake
Ingredients for the cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup corn oil
2 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh shredded beets
1 cup cooked, chopped poke sallet
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Ingredients for the icing
8 ounces of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp nuts
2 tbsp vanilla
Beat eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add other ingredients and stir well. Pour into 9x13 baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool.
For icing, whip the 8 ounces of cream-cheese with the 1/2 cup of sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of milk, nuts, and vanilla. Spread over cake after it has cooled.
And, just as Jo said in her column year’s ago.
Here’s the most important part of the instructions. When the cake is ready to cut and serve, call Elane Jones at 221-2840. I’m not the least bit selfish. Play the game right and I can be talked into sharing....
If you have a recipe you would like to share with Elane, you can reach her by calling the DME office Monday through Friday at 205-221-2850 Ext. 238; or by mail at Elane Jones, c/o Daily Mountain Eagle, 1301 Viking Drive, Jasper, AL 35501; or by email at email@example.com.