“Duck and Cover” Russian Tea Loaf

Connie Boersma Hinga

Here is a recipe from my mom. Mom inspired me to not aspire to be a house wife. She couldn’t hide how bored she was. Although she was loving and nurturing, I found myself weaving tales of school that went well beyond what actually happened because I felt the need to entertain her. I was finally busted when I told an elaborate story about having speech therapy. Not only did I not need speech therapy, I claimed that the therapist gave me a Payday Candy bar.

Mom made this cake for my dad’s birthday.  I’m not sure why it’s called a Russian Tea Loaf although I once had a Russian tell me that if you have blue eyes, you are part Russian. In the 1950s-80s, the U.S. and Russia were locked in a  Cold War which made Russia glamorous. My family lived in Washington D.C. during the Bay of Pigs incident and learned early in life to duck and cover. I  practiced running home from school to die with my mom in ten minutes or less. I even had a sleeping bag at school in case the Big One was launched and not detected in time and the school was used as a bomb shelter. If you see older citizens of the U.S. with no savings and their health shot through from bad living don’t judge. They were taught from an early age that they were going to die young. Now we have school lock down drills and terrorist threats so only those who grew up in the 90s escaped that sense of doom and dread that is part of our culture.

As with most mid-century cooking, this uses a pre-made item, the angel food cake, an American invention. It also contains an unspecified package size. Sorry about that. There wasn’t the vast array of choice back then. Cut the cake with a serrated knife.

Russian Tea Loaf

Buy an angel food cake.

Custard filling:

5 eggs–remove yolks and set aside

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups half and half

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup cold water

1 pt whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

Beat yolks until light and add sugar. Heat cream in double boiler. Add egg yolks mixture and cook until thick.While custard is hot, add gelatin which has been dissolved in cold water. Let cool and add stiffly beaten whipping cream and vanilla. Cut cake in 3 layers and put custard between layers and over entire cake.

Enjoy and bombs away!

4 thoughts on ““Duck and Cover” Russian Tea Loaf

  1. Beth

    I feel the part about the serrated knife is especially important. But that’s probably because I don’t cook/bake much.
    Pretty sure my mom didn’t enjoy cooking either. She cooked two meals, Sunday roast beef and chicken/dumplings on a different day. But she was a great Head Librarian at a Community College!

    Liked by 1 person

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