Wednesday, December 21


Rose DeShazer White with one of her cakes - Chicago, IL - 2008

Join us for our holiday edition of OKRACAST, the oral history podcast. In our ovens this season: caramel cake.

In 2008, we traveled to Chicago to visit Rose DeShazer White, a home cook, famous for the caramel cakes she shares with family and friends. 

Originally from Hollandale, Mississippi, Rose grew up eating the caramel cakes that her mother baked on a wood stove from a recipe that was passed down from her mother, Rose’s grandmother. When Rose was fourteen years old, she followed her brothers to Chicago, leaving her mother and the family recipe behind. She didn’t think about the family caramel cake again until she was married—and until her mother was in Chicago to teach her the recipe. Today, Rose makes old-fashioned, three-layer cakes with homemade caramel icing. And she always makes them using the tools that were handed down to her: three cake pans, an icing pot, and a spoon. But while Rose loves to bake (she calls it her therapy), she doesn’t bother to eat her own cakes. She makes them for friends and relatives, for special occasions, or just to have around the house. In fact, she’s probably standing at her stove right now, stirring her icing pot, baking multiple cakes to give out for the holidays.

Listen to Rose talk about what baking means to her and learn a few of her secrets along the way.

Go here to listen to this oral history interview on OKRACAST.

Grab some headphones and go!