The Coy of Cooking: Adventures with Bettina (Part 2)

June 21, 2017
What goes with a nice Dutch Apple Cake? A bit of knitting.

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32 Comments
  • I remember getting bicycle grease on my slacks back in the dark ages and my grandmother recommending naphtha to remove it. Betcha Bettina did that too.

    • Entirely possible! Or, being Bettina, perhaps she just looked at it disapprovingly and it ran away.

  • So happy this is a recurring feature!

    • Thank you! Considering that she gave us one thousand ways to please a husband, we couldn’t pick just one.

  • Boy, this sure beat starting my day by reading something like, say, the news. Hilarious.

    • I figure if she could get auto grease out of Bob’s suit, we can get the world spinning the right way again. The Spirit of Bettina dwells in me.

  • So, I could’ve used a comma after “spread one-half”. Without your note, I would’ve just patted all of the dough really thinly in the pan, half an inch thick.

    • Ok, that’s how it reads to me, too. Maybe that’s why Bettina didn’t say what to do with the other half of the dough….

      • Yep, that’s how I read it also. It does sound like an easy recipe to satisfy a sweet tooth.

    • That’s also how I read it. Not half the dough- all of the dough a half- inch thick. That would make for a very different cake, I imagine. Sounds yummy either way.
      Thants Franklin, for a glimpse at a time when women’s (and men’s) lives were very different- our values and our ideas about what constitutes marital bliss have changed considerably, and I am grateful.

    • She was a genius in the kitchen, but she was a washout as a copy editor.

  • Am I missing something or does the recipe leave out the amount of cinnamon?

    • Goodness. I’ll have that taken care of. Thank you for catching it! Bettina would not approve.

    • It’s 1/2 tsp, by the way.

  • My grandmother was married in 1922 and she made a cake like this but spread the entire dough in a 8 x 11 pan (estimating the size) and then had the sliced apple standing in rows sprinkle with cinnamon and baked until the bottom was almost burnt and the cake was dry. Not recommending it but that was my grandmother’s go to “apple cake” for picnics and such.

    • Oooh. I’m intrigued at baking it until the bottom was done to that extent – I think it might give the crust itself more character…

  • This is so much fun! Do you think for it’s time it was meant to be read completely straight, or was it even slightly tongue in cheek then?

    • That’s such a good question. Comparing it to other similar works from the time, I think it was written in earnest. Now – whether the target audience at the time *read* it earnestly and tried to imagine themselves as Bettina, or whether they at least occasionally rolled their eyes at her, that’s another matter…

  • I’m thinking a simple syrup sauce with Lemoncello. I’m thinking Bettina would need to hit the sauce after being so damn perfect!

    • You just *know* there were things under the surface we never hear about. You just know it.

  • I’m in the spread half an inch thick camp. Reasoning – cutting the butter in is more like a pastry crust, for cakes you usually cream the butter. It’s a sweet pastry crust/cake mashup. Also, thinking like the Edwardians, the Dutch were the epitome of thrifty, so make that dough stretch!
    If I had an apple I’d try it right now, but it’s a half hour to the grocery store, and I have linens to starch….

  • The Bettina posts are the stuff of greatness, Franklin!

    Pity we’ll only get three…(hint-hint, wink-wink, nudge-nudge).

  • I love this serial guide to life! Thank you – I enter my day smiling…

  • Bettina through your looking glass makes my day! What happens to her after she has five kids? I want to know all about her!

  • Love the daily trevails and joys of Bettinna! Franklin, your commentary is priceless.

  • I’m chuckling over the description of working “calmly but briskly” when cutting in the butter. I imagine Bettina was always the epitome of coolness under fire, but me? No, not quite. Picture a woman with wide eyes, fly away hair and a flour dusted shirt “briskly” cutting in butter while at the same time reading emails and checking her ever growing to-do list.

  • My farm wife grandmother had a jar of carbon tetrachloride (carbon tet) that she used to get grease out of Grandpa’s overalls from working on the tractor. I am never without a bar of Fels Naptha soap beside my washer for today’s greasy stains; just moisten the bar of soap and scrub it on the offending stain, wash with like-colored clothes. I’m sure Bettina used one or the other since it was so much easier to buy caustic chemicals in the “good old days.”

    I foresee a Dutch Apple Cake with lemon sauce in my near future. I’m with those thinking you’re to spread all the batter a half-inch thick in your pan so the lemon slices jut out and look pretty.

  • Lovely styling of the cake posed on pretty china, on a crochet tablecloth.

  • Thank you, Franklin. Always a pleasure!

  • Thanks so much for the second instalment, much more fun to read than the rather dry scientific report I’m currently editing….methinks an apple cake and lemon sauce might just be on the cards this weekend. Keep up the fine work Franklin!

    PS – would a Braeburn apple be a good choice, they seem to have that sweet/acid balance just right.

  • This sounds an awful lot like my Mom’s Dutch apple cake. I lost her recipe, so I will give this one a try! Thanks Franklin, I loved reading about Bettina.

  • I’ve had this cookbook for sometime and I just love these posts. I just ordered the second book from Amazon. Thank you Franklin !