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Having her cake - anywhere

Keedysville woman loves to bake confections, even on vacation

Keedysville woman loves to bake confections, even on vacation

May 20, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

KEEDYSVILLE, Md. - Not much can stop Becky Hein, 55, from whipping out a cake.

Not even a vacation or mission trip overseas.

"Yes, even on vacation," Hein said, in the dining room of her Keedysville home, where a slice of Ugly Duckling Cake sat on the table awaiting an eager nibbler.

Hein, a special education teacher at Eastern Elementary School, likes to bake cakes, particularly rather moist cakes that involve unique ingredients such as fruit cocktail or grated zucchini.

Hein's Ugly Duckling Cake - which Hein had prepared for the sake of this story - is not made from scratch, as it does involve a box of yellow cake mix. But fruit cocktail also is on the ingredient list, taking it out of the generic "box cake" category.

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It also takes less than an hour to make.

For the record, Hein said she does do cakes from scratch. She pointed to a rather involved recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake, which calls for grated zucchini, sour milk and cocoa, among other ingredients. It also is one she'll bake when she's away on vacation.

For those reluctant to eat something that weds fruit cocktail with yellow cake, know that Ugly Duckling Cake doesn't result in some sort of fruitcake mutant.

Ugly Duckling Cake tastes more like a less-dense, more-moist version of poundcake, with shavings of coconut sprinkled on top of it. It can be served hot or cold.

More specifically: It's the kind of cake that disappears quickly once it's placed on the dining room table, Hein said.

"The fruit cocktail makes it really moist. The fruit just kind of dissolves," Hein said.

Hein makes Ugly Duckling Cake for functions at her church, Benevola United Methodist Church in Boonsboro, at social gatherings and for the people she encounters on her trips overseas.

Missionary work has taken her to Europe, Africa and South America. Hein, who is married with two grown children, said she's planning to go to Nicaragua in July. An Ugly Duckling Cake, or some other confection, might make an appearance on the trip, Hein said.

Hein sat down with The Herald-Mail, over a slice of Ugly Duckling Cake, to talk food and travel.

Q&A with Becky Hein

Q: Not many people can say they've done missionary work, let alone that they lived in Africa. You mentioned that both your parents were missionaries. And you met your husband in Africa? And he's German? How did that happen?

A: I tell people, "I met my German husband (Klaus) in Africa." I met him at a boarding school in Nigeria. His parents were missionaries, too. We met in 1967 and were married in 1974. We were engaged for all of 17 days before we got married. It will be 33 years June 9.

Q: What are you doing for the anniversary?

A: I'm preparing for an upcoming dance and dinner party at church that day.

Q: On your anniversary?

A: Yeah, on the anniversary.

Q: You strike me as someone who really enjoys cooking for others. What do you find gratifying about preparing a meal for someone else?

A: I figure, we all have to eat. Part of it was that my mom was a really good cook and my dad always said eating is a social experience, you don't just rush through your food.

Ugly Duckling Cake

1 box yellow cake mix

1 (16-ounce) can of fruit cocktail

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup sugar

5 ounces evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the cake mix, fruit cocktail, eggs and 1 cup of coconut and then beat well. Pour into a greased, 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar across the top of the batter in the pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, performing the toothpick test to determine doneness.

In a saucepan, mix together the margarine, sugar and milk and bring to a boil. Add 1 1/2 cups coconut to the saucepan. Pour the mixture over the cake, while the cake is still hot.

Cake can be served hot or cold.

Serves 15 to 20.

- Recipe courtesy of Becky Hein

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