Sunday, November 28, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - The Villers Saga, Part III

The Bismarck Daily Tribune, 12NOV1897
"Remains Identified

Testimony was taken at the court house in Jamestown in the identification of the remains of August Tromer.  Mrs. Tromer was on the witness stand most of the time, and positively identified the body, or what remained of it, as that of her late husband.  She did so by a handkerchief found tied around his neck which she said was tied by herself, and a missing tooth in the upper jaw and the clothing that still remained in a fair state of preservation.  Several other witnesses remained to be examined.  There seems to be no doubt whatever of the identification of the body as that of Tromer.

While the identification of the body appears to have beeen satisfactorily established, it is stated that it will be a more difficult matter to fasten the crime upon Villers by evidence which will warrant a conviction.  It simply appears that Tromer was last seen with Villers, and surrounding circumstances point to the latter's knowledge of Tromer's death.  The fractured skull wound indicates that death was caused by a blow, and probably after a struggle.  in this connection, Mrs Tromer tells of a dream she had soon after his disappearance, in which her husband appeared with a great hole in his head, bleeding, and said he had escaped from a grave in the plowed ground.  She had a similar dream only a few weeks ago."

OK, now this is where I start becoming irritated with the reporting if not the investigation.  Does Mrs. Tromer's dream really have anything whatsoever to do with this investigation?  Knowing (or at least supposing) the science and beliefs of people at the time are a bit backward compared to modern times, how much of an impact did her "dream" have on the trial?  I hope not much.  That's not to say that I'm convinced of his innocence.  Despite what they say in this article about the challenges of pinning this crime on Martin Joseph Villers, they do a pretty darn convincing job of it.  They had some pretty damning evidence (that I will post in the future) and some extremely circumstantial and ridiculous evidence (will also post in future).  The overall impression I get is that they found their man and it was all about getting evidence to support that.  Perhaps that's how it works.  I just hope that the judge and jury were a bit more "innocent until proven guilty" driven!

Sunday Supper - Krazy Kake

This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law, Dolores (Lori) Cayemberg nee Kuehl.  When my husband and his sisters had birthdays this was the cake they'd get.  It's quite an unusual recipe.  No eggs and it has vinegar in it!  Krazy! ;)

But I'll tell you's the BEST tasting cake I've ever made.  Like a devils food.  So yummy.  Now the icing that is traditionally used for the cake, well, I don't use it.  It's made with Crisco shortening and in my opinion lacks much flavor.  I make homemade cream cheese frosting to go with the Krazy Kake in our house (which is now a birthday family tradition with us as well!).  I am including the original icing recipe, for those loyalists that want to have the initial recipe intact.

My husband and I are guessing that this recipe may have been a Depression Era recipe, when they had to make due with what they had.  We could be wrong though...there is quite a bit of sugar!  Anyway, here it is!

Krazy Kake

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp vinegar
3/4 c. canola oil
2 c. cold water
1 recipe Krazy Kake Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).

In an ungreassed 9x13-inch cake pan sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Make three separate holes in the dry ingredients.  In one, place the vanilla; in the second, the vinegar; in the third, the canola oil.  Pour the water over it all and mix together with a fork until combined.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Frost with Krazy Kake Icing, if desired.

Now isn't that KRAZY?!?!  Make three holes and pour different liquids in each topping it all with water and mixing with a fork!  But it's soooo yummy!

(Note:  You can make this cake in a regular bowl and then pour into a prepared cake pan for baking.  Making it directly in the cake pan will not allow you to remove the cake from the pan.  It will stick when prepared as directed above.)

Krazy Kake Icing

2-1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 c milk
1/2 c Crisco shortening
1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Hershey's syrup

Blend the flour and milk in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Cook to a thick paste.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In another bowl beat the shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add the paste and vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Spread over cake and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

(Note:  The recipe I have from my mother-in-law says "sugar" and not confectioners sugar.  After making the icing for the cake one time, my husband said that it was most likely confectioners sugar used since the icing mom used to make was not so grainy.)