Grandpa Julio was my dad's father. He was this amazing man with a killer sense of humor and full of stories to tell.
He used to love singing us random little tunes that he had no doubt learned from his own parents. It never dawned on me why he knew so many Brazilian songs, and it wasn't until I was old enough to realize and know that his father and his father's parents and ancestors, were all from Brazil.
He was the fun grandpa, we would go to the coast on vacation and would watch him swimming in the ocean, he was like a fish, in and out, gracefully swimming, but also coming to stand by us and holding us tight when a big wave would threaten to go over our heads. We don't swim, our parents don't know how to swim, and my brothers and I don't either.
I have the best memories about my time with him, and I'm glad that I was able to enjoy so much of it because unfortunately he would be taken from us in 1991. I'm still not completely sure exactly what happened, it seemed to come out of nowhere, one minute he was fine and then next we had a gentleman at our door letting us know that my grandfather had passed out in his car and it had rolled down to hit this man's car.
From that moment, he would have sudden fainting spells, a brain hemorrhage resulting in two holes being drained into his skull to relieve the pressure. Then while in hospital his heart stopped beating numerous times and he had to be brought back over and over again.
He finally passed away at home, I was there for the last moment and it's an image that will forever stay in my mind.
That was really the only sad memory that I have associated with him, the rest was nothing but good times. By far the biggest and fondest memory I have is of our childhood, and the times he would just walk into the kitchen and whip up a quick simple vanilla cake for us to enjoy.
He didn't care that it was midnight, he only cared that his grandchildren had requested a cake and so he obliged.
This cake right here, is the one he used to make and no matter how many times I have it, or where I am at the time, I am immediately back in that kitchen, and I can see that handsome smile across the table, gosh I loved my grandfather and miss him so much.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, and really hope your family will too. Let me know if you make it and what you think :)
Grandpa Julio's Simple Vanilla Cake
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
In a bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and sugar, until well combined, about 2 minutes or so. Next add in the baking powder, cornstarch, milk and flour and beat for another 2 or 3 minutes until smooth.
Grease a bundt cake pan with butter and flour, pour in the cake mix and bake at 350 degrees. Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then invert into onto a plate. Sprinkle on some powdered sugar and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.
One of the reasons I love this cake so much, aside from the memories tied to my grandfather, is that I am not much into very rich cakes and frosting and all that jazz, I much prefer a simple cake that is not overly sweet.