A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 09, 2006
Texas Tornado Cake

Texas tornado cake contains fruit and nuts, with coconut icing. It’s not clear when this cake was invented, or where it’s from. Some insist that “Texas tornado cake” is another name for an “earthquake cake.”
15 February 1990, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, pg. F4:
Thelma Bryant of Waynesboro asked for the recipe for Texas Tornado sheet cake from Duff’s Restaurant. This recipe is not Duff’s, but I hope it will do.
—Laura Baldwin, Chesterfield

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups fruit cocktail with liquid
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped nuts

Cream together sugar, eggs, fruit cocktail, baking soda and flour. Pour into lightly greased and floured 13x9x2-inch cake pan. Mix brown sugar and nuts together and sprinkle onto unbaked batter in the pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Ice cake while hot.
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk 1 cup flaked coconut

Boil margarine, sugar and milk 2 minutes. Stir in coconut. Spoon over cake as soon as cake is taken from the oven.
8 November 1990, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, “Here’s a trio of favorite sweet treats” by Anne Long, City, pg. 7D:
Texas tornado cake is the recipe Shirley Campbell of Clearwater is looking for.

Alice Green of Largo tasted white Texas sheet cake at a luncheon in Ohio and wants to know how to make it.

Chocolate sheet cake was on the Hershey’s cocoa can for years. Cinnamon was one of the ingredients. Martha Wheeler of Gulfport is eager to have the recipe along with its fudge frosting. Martha also wants the recipe for creamy marshmallow and pineapple salad.
21 June 1992, Peoria (IL) Journal Star, “Texas Tarnato’ Cake got lost in twister” by Sharon Oberholtzer, pg. B10:
Remember the game “Operator” from your childhood? What was whispered at the beginning of the line was nothing like what the last child in line repeated.

While we aren’t quite that bad, it seems the requested Texas Tarnato cake is actually Texas Tornado. Betty Haney of Vermont shares this original clipped recipe:

TEXAS TORNADO CAKE 1 1/2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 cups fruit cocktail, including liquid 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 cups flour TOPPING: 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 cup nuts ICING: 1 stick margarine 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 cup evaporated milk 1 cup coconut

Use a spoon to combine all ingredients, except topping and icing, to avoid breaking up the fruit; mix well. Pour into lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.

In a saucepan combine all icing ingredients except coconut; boil for 2 minutes. Add coconut and pour over cake while cake is still hot. Let cake cool before cutting.
1 September 1993, Toronto Star, “Mixed fruit swirled in Tornado Cake” by Barb Holland, pg. E2:
It’s easy to whip up a Tornado Cake on short notice for family or friends.

Texas Tornado Cake
Mima Kapches of Toronto sent in the recipe for Cherie Bertin of Scarborough.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups fruit cocktail , including syrup
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flaked coconut

In large bowl, combine sugar, eggs and fruit cocktail.

Combine flour and baking soda . Stir into fruit mixture until smooth.

Spread batter into greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Combine brown sugar and nuts. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake in preheated 325F oven 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

While cake is baking, combine icing ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to boil and boil 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon over warm cake to allow cake to absorb most of icing. Cool and cut into squares.

Makes 16 servings.
16 September 1996, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, pg. D2:
From Mrs. R.S. of Oneida: “At Stacy’s Buffet in New Hartford, one of the desserts on the menu is a “Texas Tornado Cake.” Does anyone have the recipe? It is made with peaches.”
21 October 1996, Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard, pg. C3:
Mrs. B.M. Blume of Syracuse responded to the request of Mrs. R.S. of Oneida who asked for a “Texas Tornado Cake like they serve on the dessert menu at Stacey’s Buffet in New Hartford.”

Mrs. Blume wrote: “This recipe comes from an old friend who lived in Ashville, N.C. She said the recipe is very popular down south. Peaches or fruit cocktail can be used in the ingredients. Hope this is what she is looking for.”

Thanks for taking the time to write and share.
Texas Tornado Cake
You need:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 cups fruit cocktail or peaches (with juice)
1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup walnuts, cut up
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup coconut
Here’s how:
Sift together the granulated sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Beat in eggs and fruit. Press into a greased and floured 9-by-13-inch pan. Mix together the brown sugar and walnuts; sprinkle over batter in pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes. Spread sauce on cake while hot. Cake tastes even better if served the next day as it becomes very moist. If desired, make a second recipe of the sauce and spoon it on warm just before serving.
Sauce: Combine sugar, butter and milk and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for two minutes, then add coconut.
14 January 1998, Dallas (TX) Morning News, Home, “Shake that ‘quake cake” by Cheryl Chapman, pg. 2F:
The main caution readers had for C., who wants to make an Earthquake Cake, is not to try to squeeze it into a smaller pan than specified. As S.B. says, C. wants an earthquake, not a volcano.

This rich chocolate cake is ideal for shipping, says M.H., because nothing more can happen to its looks, and it’s so delicious it’s always welcome.

H.F. says it’s also called a Texas Tornado Cake and “is good with either name.”

“No leftovers,” says J.N., and C.R. takes one with her when she volunteers at the Garland City Jail. “I firmly believe the only reason they let me do this is I always bake them a cake,” she says. “The Earthquake Cake is the favorite of all the detention officers and many of the police officers.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Saturday, September 09, 2006 • Permalink

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