Our family favorite is blackberry, but peaches are in season. Use the link above to find the recipe. Best eaten warm a la mode.
The picture at right is just before baking — the last instruction is dot with butter and cover with very hot/boiling water. You might think it is too much water but this is important! This is what makes the bottom of the cake like a pudding – which is THE PRECIOUS – most irresistible!
I had to tweek the recipe, of course. Now that I’m more comfortable with the flavor of ginger I added a sprinkle of the spice all over the top – maybe a teaspoon all told. I also always grate fresh nutmeg over the top, about 10 swipes of the nut as you move across the dish if using a double recipe. This one was doubled in a 9 x 13 glass dish. I bake at a slightly lower temp than the posted recipe – 375 F- and check it at 30 minutes. The double recipe took a total of 40 minutes for the result pictured at right. Light brown is all you want on the cake or you will lose the moisture and that is what creates THE PRECIOUS. It can bubble over the sides and make a mess in the oven, so be sure to use a baking dish large enough to allow for about an inch and a half from the top.
I am certain that Rumble or Mrs. Rumble takes the blue ribbon at the Shire Folk Fair every year with this entry, barely edging out Rosie Gamgee’s Eldarberry tarts.
They must have stolen this recipe from my mother’s personal recipe box! Mom’s memory and organizational skills are a little challenged at age 89, so she cannot confirm nor deny the source! But I baked this at home since I was a little kid, and one day I lost that recipe. So I thought maybe I could google it.
To my amazement, there it was, almost exactly the way she had written it down in her book (we call it Somersault Cake) in the Middle-earth Recipes at The Fellowship of Middle-earth (formerly the Official LOTR Fan Club). Since there was barely color TV back in my mom’s day when she obtained this recipe, let alone a WWW, we’ll let you do the numbers as to who has the rights to this one! I believe it came from the Wallowa Oregon Grange Cookbook back in the 1940s. But come to think of it, if this recipe originated in Middle-earth, then it is quite ancient and far older than the internet or the modern age of men! (See the note on this coincidence on the “About” page!)
Suffice to say it is one of those “best things I ever ate” treats that will be gone in one sitting, even it you’re the only one at the dining table!