Growing Up Trixie: Chocolate Cake and Spiced Grape Juice

Every time I read this book in the Trixie Belden series, when Mrs. Smith serves up any of her delicious food, it made me hungry.  But when she serves the girls her chocolate cake and spiced grape juice, I thought  it sounded like the best dessert ever.

From Trixie Belden and the Red Trailer Mystery.  Mrs. Smith speaking to Trixie:

“I must get to my baking before it gets any hotter.  You and your honey-haired friend come back for tea.  Grape juice and chocolate layer cake.  Spiced juice from my own grapes and I bottled it myself last year.  You must help us drink it up.”

[later] 

“It’s not the best cake I’ve ever baked,” she apologized, although Trixie and Honey had never tasted anything like it.  “Somehow my baking reflects my moods.  I was so depressed this morning all four layers fell and I couldn’t do a thing with the icing.  But this is grape juice is the best in the county, if I do say so myself.”

I must confess I’ve never been able to bake a decent layer cake.  I’d blame it on living at high altitude, as I do now,  but I’ve lived from coast to coast and altitude is the least of my cake baking problems.  But Spiced Grape Juice, that I can handle:

Spiced Grape Juice

  • 64 oz unsweetened concord grape juice
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 cup sugar – most recipes call for this, I’ve never added it myself. 

large sauce pan

Add all ingredients and heat over low heat for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  Strain spices from juice before serving.  Or if you like, you can put the spices in cheesecloth, tied with string and let steep that way.  I’ve also used a tea infuser for steeping.

Can be served hot or cold, though I prefer mine over ice.  You can serve with lemon slices.  Chocolate layer cake is optional.

Refrigerate any leftover.