Echo Cakes are simple, in every sense of the word. Simple flavors. Simple ingredients. Simple to put together. And they are one of my all-time favorite sweet treats. Not only do they taste simply divine, they also hold very wonderful childhood memories for me. My Mom used to make them for my brother and me all the time, and my Grandmother used to make them for my Mom and her two sisters all the time before that. I remember having them frequently as an after-school snack. Now that we're adults, Mom usually makes them for us as a treat at Christmas time. I still love them as much as I did as a kid!
Echo Cakes are quite simply a strawberry-jam-filled cupcake, with a pie crust bottom and one-egg cake top, dusted with powdered sugar. That's it. They're sweet, but not too sweet - just perfectly sweet, in my opinion. My Mom and I aren't sure where the name Echo Cakes comes from, but we think they're named for the Echo brand muffin tins they were originally made in.
I just made these myself for the first time. Being the recipe tinker-er that I am, I wanted to make a few with different flavors of jam filling just to see how they'd be. When I called my Mom to ask her about other jam flavors, she said "Oh, I don't know how they'd be - I've only ever made them with strawberry."
Really, Mom? You've been making these for over 40 years and have never tried another jam flavor? Where's your sense of cooking adventure??
And so, there was even more incentive for me to tinker. Here's the flavor report:
Fig - NOT good, and I had such high hopes
Raspberry - okay
If you make these, I recommend sticking with the original strawberry jam filling, or going with blackberry.
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Source: My Grandmother
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
4 T. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Make the One-Egg Cake:
Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg, and beat. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
Assemble the Echo Cakes:
Cut circles from the pie crust. My Mom figured out that a plastic stadium cup like you get at sporting events is the perfect size to use as a cutter. (We use a Carolina cup - go Heels!) Fit pie crust circles into the bottom and sides of muffin tin cups. Put in about 1 tsp. of strawberry jam (not too much, or it will spill out when cooking). Then, top with one-egg cake mixture - just plop some on the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool. Sprinkle tops with confectioner's sugar.