After it became a crime, Watergate became a pie – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Watergate Cake

Active time:15 minutes

Total time:45 minutes

Servings:12 to 16 (makes a 9 x 13 inch cake)

Active time:15 minutes

Total time:45 minutes

Servings:12 to 16 (makes a 9 x 13 inch cake)

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Not long ago I channeled Howard Baker and called home to interview my mother.

I wanted to get to the bottom of a dessert she conjured up when I was a teenager growing up in Minnesota – Watergate cake – and which I was celebrating my 50th year celebrating the fall of a president.

What did Dorothy Sietsema know and when did she know?

Mom kind of blocked me. “I don’t know exactly when I started this,” she says of the sheet cake with the creamy, shamrock-shake-green topping and moist, walnut-veined interior. “You can put down the 1970s.”

She was more forthcoming about his attraction. “I think it looks good because of its colour. I like it because it has nuts in it.” Mom made the Watergate cake for St Patrick’s Day this year, but she usually pulls out the handwritten recipe in the summer. “The whipped cream makes it a lighter dessert, and the bright greens are reminiscent of nature.” Plus, she adds, “It’s easy to serve and easy to make ahead of time.”

My mom is the kind of chef who makes pudding from scratch and took the time to create her own version of Hamburger Helper for her kids back in the day. But like many women her year, the former public health nurse appreciates getting to the point in the kitchen occasionally.

Retro as a shag rug and harmless as the Carpenters, the Watergate cake is all about lightness. The base is a box of white cake mix, a box of instant pistachio pudding mix, 7-Up — remember, that was decades ago in the Midwest — some eggs, walnuts, and vegetable oil. Basically, you open several packages, crack open some eggs, chop up some “nuts,” as the recipe calls it, and stir it all together. Pop the batter in the oven for 30 minutes, and what keeps a cake from rising with a hint of intrigue? The topping is another box of instant pudding mix combined with Cool Whip, which explains the dessert’s shelf life. Cool Whip is like Aqua Net in its ability to last – not that the Watergate cake ever lasts long after serving. One cut easily leads to another. It’s surprisingly refreshing for a cake.

The Washington Post ran a recipe for the cake similar to my mother’s in a column called Anne’s Reader Exchange in 1975 and again a year later, along with a news article. “A new Watergate crisis is sweeping the Washington area, but this time only housewives and a few businessmen seem to care,” wrote Alexander Sullivan. “The crisis stems from the growing popularity of a recipe for a concoction called ‘Watergate Cake,’ which calls for large quantities of powdered pistachio pudding mix.”

At the time, one company, Royal Pudding, was distributing the mix in the Washington area; Grocery stores were stripped of the product almost as soon as it hit the shelves, a problem preceded by an accidental pistachio shortage. The author went on to say that the cake’s provenance is not clear, nor is its name, although he did assume the walnuts were “‘bugs’ in children’s parlance.”

Back then, the owner of Watergate Pastry put a mile between the fluffy dessert and his store’s selection. “We didn’t invent anything that we would give that name to,” Harold Giesinger almost sniffed at the printed matter. “A private source may have put it together.”

Joseph Rodota, author of “The Watergate: Inside America’s Most Infamous Address” (William Morrow, 2018), says “the lack of an answer fits” into the scheme of things. “The bakery, like the hotel, was quite upscale. A pie made from cheap ingredients was no brand for a hotel known for luxury and privacy.” But it was also part of the “Watergate consumerism” sweeping the country at the time, he says, noting that a retail outlet in selling plastic bug ties to the complex (Rodota has tasted the dessert the California native is thinking of). as “a pistachio version of olive oil cake.”)

Not to be confused with Watergate Salad, which includes mashed pineapple and mini marshmallows along with the pudding mix, Watergate Cake is as susceptible to manipulation as Rose Mary Woods. Some recipes swap out nuts, get their fizz from club soda or ginger ale, and add coconut. The batter can take the form of cupcakes, layer cakes, and bundt cakes. The confection, topped with what some recipes call “cover-up icing,” is given a Christmassy vibe with the addition of a maraschino cherry on each slice.

Julie Richardson offers an imaginative, labor-intensive version in “Vintage Cakes” (Ten Speed ​​Press, 2012). The cookbook author asks you to make all the stuff: cake, pudding, “impeachment” frosting with mascarpone. Oh yes, the surface is finished with caramelized pistachios.

“I just wanted to try and get to a more natural state,” says Richardson, with everything that’s new from the ground up. She’s never had the version made the old-fashioned way, but she can see the appeal: “It’s quick to put dessert on the table.” Plus, “the name is part of our story.”

I like the simplicity of the sheet cake, which keeps well in the fridge (remember: Cool Whip) if you’re not the generous type. “If I throw a party,” Mom says, “I send her home with the people.”

Sharing is caring. Mom, you are pardoned.

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Get ahead: The cake must be assembled and glazed at least 30 minutes before serving.

Storage: Cover lightly and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

  • Unsalted butter or vegetable oil for greasing the pan
  • A white cake mix (15.25 ounces/432 grams) such as Duncan Hines
  • One (3.4 ounce/96 gram) package of instant pistachio pudding and pie filling mix, such as B. Jell-O brand
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) club soda or lemon-lime soda, such as B. Sprite
  • 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounces/50 grams) coarsely chopped raw walnuts
  • One (9-ounce) container of whipped cream like Cool Whip
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) whole milk or skimmed milk
  • One (3.4 ounce/96 gram) package of instant pistachio pudding and pie filling mix, such as B. Jell-O brand

Make the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with butter or vegetable oil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment – or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer or whisk – combine the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, soda and nuts. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, making sure to scrape everything out of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top turns deep golden. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack; allow to cool completely before frosting, about 30 minutes.

Prepare the topping: Clean the bowl in which the dough was made. Then, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment – or large bowl if using a hand mixer or whisk – combine the whipped topping, milk and custard mixture. Beat on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes.

Assemble the cake: Spread the topping over the cooled cake, cover loosely with aluminum foil without touching the top of the cake (plastic wrap tends to absorb the topping) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Per serving (1 approximately 2 1/2 x 3 inch piece, with 2% milk) based on 16

Calories: 365; total fat: 21 g; Saturated fat: 4 g; cholesterol: 36 mg; Sodium: 416 mg; carbohydrates: 42 g; fiber: 0 g; sugar: 26 g; Protein: 3 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a nutritionist or nutritionist.

From food critic Tom Sietsema’s mother, Dorothy Sietsema.

Tested by Tom Sietsema; email questions

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