Written By Vince
In 1996, my family and I moved to a new home. Same area, just a different home. It was a nice street to raise a family. Quiet, not too many cars, close to the local High School (where my sister and I went) and best of all: friendly neighbors.
One family on the street were the Lopin’s. Mitch and Rosalie had been living on the street for quite some time and knew everyone around. On the first Christmas of living there, Rosalie brought over a cranberry cake as a little holiday treat.
“It’s my famous cranberry cake,” she said. “I’ve been making it for many years and giving it to all the neighbors on the street. Now, it’s here for you to enjoy.”
At this point, I put cranberry cake on the same level as fruit cake. Just kind of “blah.” Nevertheless, I’ll give it a try. One bite and I couldn’t believe what I was tasting. Rich, buttery cake filling. Cranberries that were not too sweet but not too tart. Walnuts giving it a nice crunch. Rosalie was not lying when she said, “it’s her famous cake!” Simply put, it was one of the best cakes I had ever had.
The next day, I saw Rosalie watering her front lawn. Trying to get my mouth on another Cranberry Cake, I told her how much I enjoyed it. Sure enough, the next day another cake found its way on our doorstep! It was if Santa came early.
Year after year, Rosalie made the Cranberry Cake for us. It was a special Christmas treat from our friendly neighbor. Knowing how much we loved the cake, in early 2000’s we received an even more special treat. The recipe! The recipe read, “Rosalie’s Famous Cranberry Cake.” I kept it.
Shortly after that, I went to college and my family moved to a new home. Our families kept in touch with visits to Gaetano’s. Still, each year she would bring us a cake. One year, we heard of the unfortunate news that Rosalie had passed. I thought of the kind gesture she initially made when we moved in by giving us a cake. It was small to her, but went a long way with us. I knew it was time to share her gift to our guests at Gaetano’s. After searching through old boxes, I found her famous Cranberry Cake recipe. I made the cake at least ten times to get it close to hers. Finally, it worked.
Each holiday season we bring Rosalie’s famous Cranberry Cake to Gaetano’s – the Cranberry Torta. Although, it’s not exactly hers, I think it tastes pretty similar and we hope you love it as much as we do.