Whether this recipe becomes a loaf, a layer cake, or a cupcake you will find it versatile, moist, and delicious. Make it the day ahead if you plan to cube or slice the cake. Once cut, feel free to freeze it. It has been served in my family since the 1950s. This one recipe can provide the start for a dozen different desserts. The boy, from Get a Bigger Wagon, has enjoyed it smothered in maple syrup, frequently, since 1970.
½ cup of oil (canola or corn oil)
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of almond extract
½ teaspoon of salt
2 cups of all-purpose flour (oat or spelt flour works too)
¾ of a cup of milk
3 teaspoons of baking powder
Add sugar to oil in a medium-size bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer. Beat the eggs into the sugar and oil. Then add vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Set this batter aside. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder with the flour. Add portions of the flour mixture to the batter, alternating with portions of milk, ending with flour.
Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes at 325° F.
Spoon batter into well-greased or paper-lined muffin tins (makes 14) and bake at 375° F for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pour batter into two well-greased eight-inch layer cake pans and bake cakes at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes.
Chameleon loaf is delicious served with fruit and whipped cream, covered in maple syrup, or glazed with a caramel icing. It can be sliced into fingers to serve plain with tea or cubed for dipping into a chocolate fondue. Freeze it in slices for a quick dessert at a later time.
For a fun family dessert, serve a platter of cake slices and a tray of sauces, fruit, ice cream, and sprinkles. Tell the children it is “make your own dessert” night. To follow a special grown-ups' dinner, splash a little rum over the cake then top with whipped cream and pineapple. Yum!
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