Family Heirlooms


Things just aren’t meant to last forever.  There are not a lot of houses still standing after 100-150 years.  Very few cars are still around after several years.  Even family heirlooms fray and tatter and fall apart.  We had a house fire several years ago and the majority of the family heirlooms and material things that I held dear were destroyed.  My family was safe and that was the most important thing.  There’s nothing like a disaster such as fire or flood or tornado to remind you about what is important.

One thing that does last from generation to generation are recipes.  And if you are lucky enough to have someone teach you exactly how Great Grandma made a certain dish, you are a lucky person indeed!  There’s nothing like an old recipe or a familiar aroma to jerk you back to a favorite time in your life or to a time well before you were born.

I love caramel cake.  This frosting recipe has come down through my dad’s family for a lot of years.  I think I remember my mom telling me that my generation is the fifth generation of my family to make this recipe.  My grandparents are in the bottom right photo.  The other photos show all the way back to my great, great, great grand parents.


I am very excited to share this recipe with you.  It’s not hard, but it does take constant attention.  I tend to multitask when I’m in the kitchen and I have ruined this frosting several times because I don’t keep my mind on what I am doing.  So resist the urge to multitask!  It will burn in a heartbeat if it doesn’t have your full attention.

As far as the cake is concerned, make whatever cake you’d like.  I have baked a banana cake, a chocolate cake or just a plain yellow cake from a box.  My mom uses this frosting on her jam cakes.  The frosting is the star here, as far as I am concerned. It will make just about any cake you decide to make, incredible.


2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

pinch of salt


Mix the 2 cups of sugar and the 1/1/4 cup milk and boil.


Melt 3/4 cup sugar in a heavy cast iron skillet, stirring constantly, until honey colored.

Add melted sugar to the sugar/milk mixture.  Cook until mixture reaches soft ball stage (between 235 and 240 degrees) on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat


Add a pinch of salt.


Beat with a long-handled spoon until thick.


Quickly spread over cake.





And, that’s it!  So incredibly thick and delicious.

Cherish those family heirlooms, but, above all, cherish family.

Until next time –


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