Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Minnesota Faces: Madeline January 23, 2015

PORTRAIT #4: Madeline, bearer of Christmas cake


Madeline, Fourth Ave. United Methodist dinner 2013


Sweet Madeline served Christmas cake at the 2013 Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church Community Christmas Dinner in Faribault.

I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to photograph this young volunteer draped in what I expect was a vintage apron, delivering cake on a vintage tray.

This isn’t just any old cake. It’s Poke Cake—white cake mix baked, poked with fork tines and flooded with red or green Jell-O, then topped with Cool Whip (or maybe Dream Whip) and sprinkled with red or green sugar. It’s a recipe that’s, oh, so 70s.

I purposely framed this portrait to include a section of the holiday banner, the aged door and the light switch. Those, too, are part of this portrait story from a Minnesota church basement.

This portrait is part of a new series, Minnesota Faces, featured every Friday on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


31 Responses to “Minnesota Faces: Madeline”

  1. Lovely… my mom makes that recipe also :).

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    That cake sounds delicious; I am not sure I have ever had that kind.

  3. Poke cake, eh? I would certainly give it a try. Is there such a thing as bad cake? I like the holiday banner.

  4. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    What a cutie. I have never heard of that cake either. We are making one this weekend that has German chocolate cake poked with holes and then drizzled with caramel sauce. Plus cool whip and crunched up candy topping. Yum

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    Oh, my! What a treat to see Madeline serving folks poke cake… I remember myself as that young girl so many years ago (born in 1961 and definitely a child of the 70’s!!). Doing good things in the church community, feeling appreciated, being a part of something – a group of like-minded folks. There was a respect in those days – the young respecting and helping out. There was etiquette and manners. There was encouragement and interaction between generations. And that vintage apron… I have a meager collection of vintage aprons. I wear a different one each day, every time I cook. Not many people utilize them any more. They save my clothes… but then we live in a disposable world now so aprons have lost their purpose. Nice post… made me feel all warm and fuzzy! 🙂

  6. Love the sign behind her “Peace On” . . . for cake, yes please – Beautiful Capture 🙂 I think I had cake like this growing up, but I do not recall it being called Poke Cake though. Happy Weekend!

  7. Beth Ann Says:

    Perfectly lovely!!!! I adore this picture.

  8. randy Says:

    OK maybe the cake should be in color and the rest B/W.

  9. hotlyspiced Says:

    What a sweet looking girl and that apron does look vintage and like it might be a few sizes too big for her. I haven’t heard of that kind of Christmas cake before but it does sound very retro and like the kind of recipe I should post on the 70’s section of my blog xx

  10. Jackie Says:

    Such a sweet little angelic face!…love her name 🙂

  11. Sue Ready Says:

    Great idea with new feature Friday Faces. I look forward to those postings

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.