Joan Crawford won an Oscar for her turn in this film noir as an unhappy mother and housewife who becomes a restaurant owner. Based on the James M Cain novel, Mildred Pierce sees a pretty twisted mother-daughter relationship unfold: Mildred’s daughter Veda is a social climber who wants more stuff than her family can afford. There’s a murder mystery and a fair amount of drama, all with baking in the background.
So while Mildred Pierce is a drama about the plight of the American woman of the 1930s and 1940s, who is constantly subject to the whims of the lecherous, selfish men around her, it is also a tortuous account of a mother sacrificing everything for the happiness of her children (maternal melodrama) and a murder mystery that begins at the end and then winds its way backwards to discover the truth (film noir). Also in Mildred Pierce extended, loving shots of food offer us insight into characters, their experiences, and their emotions.
This is an amazing combination. You can say, that’s the cinematic equivalent of carrot cake cheesecake. Have you ever had that? They actually mix carrot cake together with the cheesecake!
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (8.5 ounce size) crushed pineapple, packed in juice, drained well, reserve juice
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Pineapple Cream Cheese frosting
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside. Meanwhile prepare Carrot Cake.
In large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients; mixing well. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.
Spread 1 1/2 c. carrot cake batter over bottom of greased 9- or 9 1/2″ springform pan. Drop cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter by spoonfuls; top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife. Do not marble with a knife. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 50 to 65 minutes or until cake is set properly. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. When cake is cold, prepare Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a bowl of electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frost top of cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.