My mom has been talking about this freaking cake for years. See, she worked for a lovely woman named Sue, sometime around 1995, and for Christmas, Sue gave my mom a delicious, homemade cake.
Although my mom moved onto another job, she never forgot this cake. I think she was embarrassed to call Sue and ask for the recipe, especially after years had passed. Plus I feel like there’s a strange, generational Italian code that says: It’s rude to ask another cook for their secrets!
I have heard about this cake many times over the years, especially since my mom got a Cuisinart mixer and has been baking more.
“It has alcohol and nuts — and it was the best cake I’ve ever had!”
Well, this year, my mom mentioned the cake again.
“Didn’t you graduate high school with Sue’s nephew, Matt?” she asked.
I did. I don’t remember us being friends, but I remember Matt being a nice guy. So, I found his contact info — and after major pause (for being a stalker weirdo) — I messaged him, asking about the cake.
He thought it was a “fun request” and was excited to do some sleuthing. Unfortunately Sue passed away a few years ago, but after talking with his mother, and his Uncle John (Sue’s husband), Matt solved the mystery.
The most delicious cake my mom has ever had?
A 1970s-era Redbook recipe, filled with bourbon, candied cherries and pecans.
Here is Sue’s Boozy Bourbon Pecan Cake.
Me, Matt from high school, and my mom will all be baking it this year, and I thought you might want to as well.
One more thing … If there’s someone you feel weird about reaching out to this holiday season — maybe give it a shot anyway. The results could be sweeter than you think.
Here’s to candied-cherry cake and Christmassy-connections,