In Dedication to Grammy Doyle, my Dad’s Mother
Irene Doyle, West Fairlee, Vermont
Every family has a staunch recipe that stands the test of time. It’s the go-to dish that always results in success. It’s passed down with pride and the unspoken agreement that future generations will do the same. My family has this recipe… it was my Grammy Doyle’s dessert recipe and you always could count on her making it at gatherings, whether it was my dad’s birthday or Christmas.
The word was that it was a secret, though I’m not sure of the origin. I’ll never know where my Grammy got it or if it was handed down to her. All I know is that it’s one of the few constants when going to her house and I will never stop associating Grammy with her Mystery Mocha dessert. Now that she is gone, this recipe means even more…a little reminder of what was.
When arriving in the small hamlet of West Fairlee, Vermont, one corner market stood. A traveler would see quaint simple houses. Next to the fire station stood my grandparent’s house on a little hill and when you rolled up the sloped gravel driveway, you spied a screened in porch. Amid dusty chairs sat an old forlorn piano, forgotten and well out of tune. All the grandchildren probably tinkered with the keys at one time or another.
This many years later I can still hear the rickety screen door, as if it was on the set of the television show, The Walton’s. Inside the house you entered in the dining room, where was a huge wooden table that had fed six children at one time and all the visiting relatives through the years. Another prized piano stood beyond, where my Grammy played church hymns on it. This treasure was played often and every once in awhile she played for us.
The living room had wooden exposed beams, a rustic living space with a few windows to let light in. A long old fashioned radio stood on one wall, which belted out many Red Sox games. My Grammy and Grampa would sit and listen to the radio and play by play well into the seventies. Then years later a television stood there as well, but I think it was never the same to them as the play by play. As kids, we would creep over to Gramps, who would be relaxing on the couch and he would grab us and tickle us. Wth a silly grin and rolled up tongue, he was the tickle master. There were squeals of delight because he was fun and loving.
Mystery Mocha cake was often baked for my dad, since it was his favorite. He was her first born, David, and was and still is a chocolate fan. (I think this is where I got my chocolate addiction!) When my parents were married, my mom made it and I’m sure my stepmom makes it as well. Now my sister and I make it from time to time. My sons aren’t used to the rich chocolate taste and since it has coffee in it, they don’t care for it, but my husband likes it well enough and I do too.
It’s as if Grammy’s kitchen comes to life when I make Mystery Mocha, for it’s a family recipe and a reminder of her and our visits to the Doyle house. It does taste the very same, with rich, dark chocolate with a complement of mocha flavor from the double strength coffee. I think it’s more than a recipe but a bit of Grammy’s legacy in every bite!
Grammy Doyle’s Mystery Mocha Cake
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 square unsweetened baker’s chocolate
2 Tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup cold double strength coffee
Mix dry ingredients. Melt the unsweetened chocolate with the butter. Add the milk and vanilla. Put mixture into greased cake pan and top with the following: brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cocoa. Pour cold coffee over the top. Bake at 375 F for 45 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
Serve for family or company. I recommend serving this rich dessert with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream!