My time spent in Labrador as a cook/baker in a mining camp was both a triumph and in many ways an ordeal. I learned a bit too much at once about the potential drawbacks of the industry but also improved my skills so quickly through necessity that it’s worthy of an ‘80s style video montage to the music of ‘Eye of the Tiger’. (I’m just going to imagine that for a couple minutes... awesome.)
At times I think I worked a lot harder than I should have in my never-ending desire to please everyone at once despite any catch twenty-twos, but the satisfaction that came from overcoming many of the challenges left me walking with my back just a little bit straighter. One such occurrence is cemented in my memory because it led to the invention of one of my favourite picnic desserts.
One worker in particular at the mining camp (whom I’ll call Frank, because it’s a fun name) had a thing for cake. At the camp I was instructed to make a large main dessert (most often a variation of cake) for supper and Frank lamented to me one evening that he wished there was a way that he could take some cake with him for his lunch in the morning without having the icing or whipped topping making a mess in his lunch container.
Frank was one of the friendlier camp residents and as such I felt like he should be accommodated. The thought struck me almost immediately that if the cake was inside out, he wouldn’t have the problem of a messy lunch box and I could have it ready in the mornings for the workers to take to lunch. “I got you, Fam.” I told Frank, and thus I created:
Marble Cake Buttercream Sandwiches
½ box chocolate cake mix
½ box of white cake mix
½ ingredients listed for both cakes on box
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 cup margarine or unsalted butter
3 tbsp heavy cream or condensed milk
1 tbsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In two medium bowls, prepare each cake batter as instructed being sure to half the ingredients. Using three greased bread pans pour roughly ¼ of each cake type into the pans at a time until ¾ full or until all batter is used. Fold the cake batter just slightly with a fork to marble it and bake for approx. 12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool, and cut into slices. Mix all remaining ingredients together at high speed using a mixer. Spread buttercream on one slice of cake and top with another, repeating until all is used.
Frank was grateful when the next morning upon seeing the platter of cake sandwiches and his ear-to-ear smile was well worth the extra effort. If your family is craving something sweet this picnic season but want to avoid a mess, I highly recommend you heed the immortal words of Marie Antoinette and “let them eat cake.”