Mama Clio would begin making the cakes on Wednesday. In the morning, she'd sift Softasilk brand cake flour and start mixing up her various batters in her Sears electric mixer, which was about as high-tech as her kitchen got. She measured ingredients with a coffee cup, beat egg whites by hand, and tested her fudge icing—made on the stove top, with cocoa, milk, and butter—by dropping a bit of it into cool water. If it held together, it was done. While the cake layers cooled on the kitchen table, my sister and I would sit on the porch with the used mixing bowls, scraping out the last traces of that rich, faintly savory chocolate icing.