Madison Thibodeau ’21, Editor in Chief

The knife slides in.

Pkkkhht… Pkkkhht… Pkkkhht…

The seconds before the delicious piece of chocolate cake slides out of the busted cake pan is a moment of anticipation. The building of drool. The swipe of the tongue across the lips. The training eyes of hunger watching the slice move toward the plate.

Yes, it is that good.

This highly desired chocolate cake is a generational recipe that has a special relationship to a woman know as Grammy Churchill. Every generation of the family has heard the story of how Grammy Churchill would make this chocolate cake every morning for the farm hands. The Churchill family owned a small potato farm in Northern Maine (a farm that is still within the family today) where family, friends, and neighbors would join together to pick the harvest. Perhaps, a yummy gift of thanks.

However, what makes it so good? Probably because the famous cake is only made at random occasions and far in between. Grammy Churchill’s chocolate cake is a difficult recipe with few who have mastered it in the family. There are numerous old-timers tricks that require special training from the master herself. One particular difficulty is the frosting which must be dropped into ice water to discover if it is “ready” or “not ready.” These old-timer tricks have made the recipe a sort of mystery. Only a select few members of the family have mastered the baking logistics required to successfully mold the cake into its fudgy goodness. A secret that everyone is begging to know just for that opportunity to taste it again.

But this gift of deliciousness traveled throughout generations after generations and has become a memorial for a beloved woman. Grammy Churchill died in 2011. At the age of 92, Grammy Churchill suffered from a stroke and passed surrounded by her family and friends. A tragic and unexpected day for it was assumed, and sometimes joked, that she would live to see 100. An end that no one saw coming.

            However, this mystifying chocolate cake which is believed to be an award-winning bite of dessert is indescribable in taste. But here it is: A dense but spongy cake that is rich in chocolate flavor and has a moist (pardon this unpopular word) texture of softness. The frosting has the thickness of melted chocolate and the taste of cocoa and peanut butter. However, it can quickly change when it becomes cold in which it has the texture and flavor of fudge.  

Is your mouth watering, yet?

This is what Grammy Churchill did with her baking – make your mouth water. Walking into her farmhouse was an adventure of smells that brought a sense of warmth and comfort. The entrance of the farmhouse had an endless roaring fire and a welcome embrace from the arms of a loved one. It had a beautiful kitchen with great big windows that displays the towering apple trees outside. A garden of apple trees that possessed the carved names of all the grandchildren.

Her life memories are transferred onto the recipe of her delicious chocolate cake as it continues to be passed on throughout the generations. Grammy Churchill gave her family the gift of crinkled and stained recipe notes under the title of Farmhouse Cooking. A recipe that contains the last piece of paper with her considerably awful cursive handwriting.

Grammy Churchill’s chocolate cake is one to be remembered, as well as her other fantastic bakery treats. But let’s not get started on her chewy molasses cookies. That’s a recipe for another time.

In loving memory

Madeline Grace Churchill