In researching The Post-Courier Cookbook for a recent feature, I had the chance to learn more about Charlotte Walker, who held the title of food editor decades before I did. But the figure I found most relatable was Joan Poulnot, pictured in a 1967 house ad for the book.
“Orange pudding cake sounded so delicious, and so easy, using frozen concentrate,” she raved. “And believe me, it is both! My family was crazy about the dessert.”
I loved the cake too, so included Poulnot’s endorsement in my story. Until they came upon the quote, Poulnot’s children had no idea she was so fond of the recipe.
“We remember the photo shoot of her in the kitchen making the cake, but do not remember the cake,” Gene Poulnot Carpenter wrote. “We thought it would be a hoot if we made her this cake for her birthday next week.”
Carpenter and her siblings theorized that Poulnot was chosen for the ad by virtue of their family business’ relationship with the paper. “Kerrison’s Department Store was one of the biggest advertising clients the paper had,” she says. “I am sure the advertising department contacted my dad who arranged the photo op.”
Because of Poulnot’s busy schedule, including daily bridge games, and the logistical challenges associated with rounding up eight grandchildren, her 86th birthday party was briefly delayed. But earlier this month, she celebrated the milestone at Sullivan’s Island.
“We presented her the cake and she looked a little puzzled so we told her what it was,” Carpenter says. “She so enjoyed the trip down memory lane.”
And after she blew out the candles, the conversation turned to pudding cakes of all kinds.
The recipe for orange pudding cake – along with flaming honey cake, mayonnaise cake, pink angel cake and PTA party cake – can be found here. Happy birthday, Mrs. Poulnot!