A note from DivaGlinda:
I don't know where my mother-in-law got this recipe for HENRICI CAKE, but it was a favorite in my husband's family, supposedly passed along from someone connected to Henrici's Restaurant. The original restaurant had been a fixture in downtown Chicago, founded in the mid-1800's. I don't remember that location, but do remember when Henrici's Restaurant was at Oak Brook Center.
My mother-in-law passed the recipe along to me. My husband says that when his mom first made it she used a tube pan - the kind used for angel food cake. But by the time she gave me the recipe everyone had a bundt pan and that's what I used. Here's the recipe as I received it:
Beat together until fluffy:
3/4 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
Beat in 3 eggs one at a time
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract to 1 cup milk
Sift 3 cups flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt
Add flour to butter/egg mixture in three parts, alternating with milk. (End with flour.)
Heavily butter a tube pan. Line pan with ½ cup chopped nuts mixed with 2 Tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
Pour batter into pan
Bake at 375°F for 50 minutes
Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert pan onto plate leaving pan loosely on cake or cover until cake is completely cooled.
I've changed this old-fashioned recipe a little over the years - usually I double the vanilla, reduce the sugar to a rounded cup, and I use the crunchier turbinado or demerara sugar instead of white sugar for the nut topping. If the nuts are almonds I use almond extract instead of vanilla.
You can make the cake richer by adding a package of cream cheese to the butter & sugar and really beat it well. For another twist, use a microplane to zest a lime and add the zest to the cream cheese.
Double the vanilla and throw in some mini chocolate chips.
You can grate in orange rind & add a couple of tablespoons of Southern Comfort for a different flavor.
Add cocoa or melted chocolate to 1/3 of batter and swirl into the white part to make marble cake
Add dark cocoa to batter and make chocolate pound cake… it will need a few more tablespoons of milk. I made the chocolate version last fall as the dessert for my Divas of the Dirt garden project day, covering it in chocolate fudge frosting and adding pecans.
Once upon a time in the midwest, people made doll cakes for girls' birthdays and they also made Bride doll cakes for wedding showers.
Commercial doll-cake molds are available now, but back then a bundt pan and a glass bowl were combined to make a doll with a Scarlet O'Hara silhouette.
I don't know if anyone still does this - bridal gowns looked more like cakes in those days, but modern brides go strapless & slinky!
[This post was inspired by a twitter conversation with @shytowngirl https://twitter.com/shytowngirl and @ChuckHenrici https://twitter.com/ChuckHenrici about Henrici's Restaurant and the frequently shared recipe.]