Robin Anish | The Table is Set: School lunch? No, thanks. Cake? Yes!


When I was a kid in grammar school, I walked home for lunch. It was a long walk. Then I walked back to school. It was a long walk. Then I walked home after school. It was a long walk, but at least I didn't have to do it again until the next day.

This went on until I hit junior high and had lunch in the cafeteria.

I still walked to school and walked home from school. Thankfully, the junior high school was closer to home than the grammar school was, so the walk was shorter. But the cafeteria lunches? Often, the fork never touched the food and the lunch only made it as far as the trash can. There were a lot of days like that.

Finally, I made it to high school. There were buses. The days of walking to and from school were over. Having lunch in the cafeteria was no longer a requirement, so I opted to skip lunch altogether in favor of hanging out with friends, who, like me, thought it was no longer cool to eat in the cafeteria.

Why am I reminiscing so? Kids are back in school and that inspired a throwback to my school years.

I joke about it, but school lunches weren't all that bad; there was the midnight chocolate cake! Dark chocolate cake with a creamy vanilla frosting. It was the one thing that kids would ask each other, "Are you going to eat your cake?" Can I have it?"

Well, I don't have the original recipe for midnight chocolate cake, but this mouth-watering chocolate cake with mock whipped cream frosting is close enough.



2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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1 cup boiling water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan.

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.



1/4 cup flour

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Whisk flour and milk in a small saucepan until smooth. Cook over medium heat whisking constantly until thick like pudding. Mix in two tablespoons of butter. Remove from heat. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on pudding. Cool completely.

Cream butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until sugar is no longer gritty.

Beat in spoonfuls of pudding mixture until light and fluffy like whipped cream, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

Frost the cake and then devour ... like we did in school!


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