I developed an obsessive interest in nut cake recently after reading the Mammy Jane book. My mother wasn’t a nut cake maker, but I ate plenty of nut cake on occasion at other people’s homes, particularly when we visited West Virginia. You’ll also find nut cakes at church suppers. The older ladies kept making them and the recipe kept showing up in church group cookbooks and so on. The nut cake has survived due to the people’s determination to keep baking them in spite of its banishment by major cookbook publishers. There was no special occasion, particularly Christmas, that didn’t come with a nut cake at Jane’s house. It called me like a mission, like my pursuit of burnt sugar cake.