Kewpie Cake

Okay, this is our family’s tried and true small cake recipe for impromptu dessert after dinner with friends or special birthdays. My daughter, Sarah Rose, has been known to whip one of these out in under 45 minutes when challenged by her high school buddies after Shabbat dinner. The recipe was made by my great grandmother and grandmother, “Nana,” Emily Griswold. My grandfather’s nickname for my beautiful Nana was “Kewpie” as in Kewpie doll, which he thought she resembled. Thus, the “Kewpie” cake. Welcome to heaven.


Listen: “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Sip: cold milk, hot coffee, or a big juicy cab such as Frog’s Leap Napa Valley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees while you’re dancing, chatting, and mixing. Ask one of the guests to grease and flour an 8×8″ pan and turn up the music.

1 c sugar
1/2 c shortening

Mix in
1 egg

Mix in
3/4 c warm water

Fold in
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking powder (We’re particularly fond of the metallic baking powder taste that comes through in this cake; we debate adding a pinch of salt; try it with and without and see what you think.)

Pour batter in prepped pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a pick poke in the middle comes out clean. The cake will come out whitish with a bit of golden tinge. 

While the cake is baking and the kitchen is starting to smell delicious, set up a double boiler and get the frosting rockin’. 

1 square unsweetened chocolate
2 T butter

Stir in, with vigor
1 1/2 to 2 c powdered sugar

Slather the warm cake with the frosting which will melt a bit. Gather everyone back around the table and enjoy.


One thought on “Kewpie Cake

  1. *NOTE: cake does not have to be cool to frost. Normally, we can’t wait. Also, keep in mind I think that the cake is even better the next day for bfast–so try to save some if you can! The flavor is stronger when everything has cooled 🙂

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