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Butter Ball Cake

-----Original Message----- 
From: Kiyoko
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2012 3:30 AM
Subject: Re: Request a Recipe for Old Southern Cake

Dear Mr. Phaedrus:

My neighbor is 90-year old lady from South.  One day she told me about her
grandma's delicious cake called "Butter Ball".   She was about 5 or 6 years
old at that time and only she remembers were as follows:

"Grandma made small balls of dough and placed sweetened butter pieces
inside of each dough balls and placed them in a baking pan.  Then poured
cream over them and baked it till golden brown."

She said they were so good.

If you find any old southern baked cakes or puddings closer to her
description, please reply this e-mail.  I would be ecstatic if you could
find recipe for this.  So is she!

Thanking you in advance for your taking time to find the "cake?"!!!

Best Regards,

Hello Kiyoko,

Wish I could help, but I could not find anything quite like your description. I could not find anything called "butter ball cake". I found "butter balls", but those are cookies, not cake. They are round, but crispy like a cookie, not soft like cake. They usually have a nut in the center, such as a pecan. They are not baked in cream. See:

Frosted Fingers

"Cake balls" are currently very popular, but they are simply balls of cake, baked and then frosted. They are not baked in cream. See:

Dallas News

Kiyoko, I grew up in the South. My family has lived in the Southern U.S. since before 1800, and I never heard of anything quite like your description. What you describe doesn't sound like a cake, but more like sweet dumplings. Searching for sweet dumplings, I found "damfbuchteln", but those are generally served with a vanilla sauce, and are not baked in cream. See:

Delicious Days

I'll post this request on my site. Maybe one of my readers will recognize this dish. It may have been local to only part of the South.


In response to Kiyoko’s butter ball cake.  I lived in Mississippi some 20 years ago, and experienced the dessert which Kiyoko described.  
It was called a Butter Roll.  It was made similar to the description, the milk eventually making a custard.  It was delicious.  
I hope someone can help on the recipe


I think the recipe she is wanting is for old fashioned butter roll you take the dough (can Use biscuits) 
place with butter on them and then pour milk over and bake . very good. Several recipes on line.

Hello Phaedrus,

This recipe has a story accompanying it and mentions that such things were rarely written in stone. In this one the butter and 
sugar are spread on dough which is rolled and sliced and the sauce uses milk rather than cream but I think that the principle 
sounds like what your reader is seeking.


Thanks to all who responded . I have recipes for butter roll on my site at: 11/20/01

Butter roll didn’t ring a bell with me for this request. A butter roll is usually an elongated roll of dough or slices of such a roll, rather than individual balls of dough, and milk is used in all of the recipes that I've seen rather than cream. However, a "butter roll" is similar, so I sent a recipe for it to Kiyoko.

Wyatt's Cafeteria Chocolate Pudding

From: Jackie 
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2012 2:22 PM
Subject: Recipe Search Request

I am looking for the recipe for the chocolate pudding that was served in the Wyatt’s Cafeterias back in the 70s. 
My family and I went to the one that was located in Austin Texas at that time (it is no longer there).
It was served in a pudding cup dish with a little bit of whip cream and I believe a cherry on top. 
It had a thick texture and some bits in it that were like tapioca, but it was chocolate flavored.
I would be so appreciative if this recipe could be found.

Thank you,


Hello Jackie,

Sorry, I had no success in locating this recipe.


Walnut Topped Coffee Cake

From: katherin
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:38 PM
Subject: walnut topped coffee cake

hello uncle phaedrus,

thanks for your efforts!

i am looking for a coffee cake that is notable for its walnut topping, which is NOT crumbly but more butterscotchy/caramel-y in character, 
that is somewhat wet. the cake itself is chemically leavened, and fairly light (not too heavy on fat i think). rather firm, too, 
like a pineapple upside down cake dough. the walnut topping is definitely put on the wet batter because when it's baked it's a bit craggy, 
with pockets where the topping has sunk into the batter somewhat.

my mother used to make this cake and unfortunately i am at present unable to locate the small stock of recipes she left us. 

i have spent a few hours googling every possible permutation of walnut+gooey+coffeecake with no luck. this recipe was either taken from 
a magazine or maybe a pamphlet cookbook (like carnation), or passed along from a friend who made it at a bakesale and my mother liked it 
(and who probably also got it from a similar source, since we're talking late 1950s early 1960s).

any help would be most welcome!

many thanks,

Hello Katherin,

Well, I had no luck.

The information you give about the cake is descriptive, but it’s not the sort of things that people usually put into written recipes. “Not crumbly”, “gooey”, “butterscotchy/caramel-y”, “somewhat wet”, “fairly light”, “rather firm”, and “a bit craggy, with pockets where the topping has sunk into the batter somewhat” are all things that you remember about the cake, but they aren’t words that would usually be included in a recipe, so they are not helpful in searching for that particular recipe.

Things about the recipe that would help to search for it would be: the exact name of the recipe, more ingredients (did it have cinnamon? sour cream? what else besides walnuts and baking powder/baking soda?) If you knew exactly which magazine or pamphlet it was from, that could help a bit, but just knowing that it was from a magazine or pamphlet is not helpful in itself. You may say that you would know it if you saw it, but how would you know it if you saw it? The recipe is not going to include those descriptive terms you give, so how would you identify the correct recipe? There are a couple of walnut cake recipes below that I found while looking. They both have walnuts in the topping and they both use chemical leavening – baking powder. If they are not the correct recipe, then what about them indicates that they are not the correct recipe? The keys to searching are the things in a written recipe that identify it as being the correct recipe.

I’ll post your request on my site in the hopes that it might strike a note of familiarity in one of my readers. That’s the only idea that I have regarding the possibility of finding it.


Walnut  Coffee  Cake

1 1/2 c. flour (unbleached white)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. shortening, butter or margarine
1/2 c. milk
2 unbeaten eggs

Sift flour with baking powder and salt and blend in sugar.  Add shortening and milk and beat 300 strokes.  Add eggs and beat 2 minutes. 


2 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. walnuts, cut up
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine butter and sugar and add walnuts, flour and cinnamon; mix well. Spread 1/2 of batter on bottom of greased pan and cover with 1/2 of topping mixture then repeat. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  9" square pan, serves 4 to 6.   
Walnut  Cinnamon  Coffee  Cake

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. brown sugar

Mix topping first; set aside.  Mix butter and sugar together; add eggs, then sour cream and vanilla.  Mix.  
Add dry ingredients and mix.  Pour 1/2 half the batter into a greased and floured pan.  Sprinkle on some topping, 
then pour the rest of the batter on top and sprinkle the remaining of the topping on.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes.  
If baked in glass, 325 degrees.  Cool before removing.

Bursch's Restaurant BBQ ribs

-----Original Message----- 
From: Judy
Sent: Saturday, May 19, 2012 3:21 PM
Subject: Rib recipe

I am looking for a recipe for barbequed ribs from a restaurant that was in 
Hopkins, Minnesota quite a few years ago.  The name of the restaurant was 
Bursch's and they went out of business years ago.


Hello Judy,

Sorry, I can find nothing except some old photos of Burch's. I'm afraid it's been too long a time since Bursch's closed to expect a recipe to be on the Internet.

I'll post the request in case a reader can help, but I'm not optimistic.


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