The people's voice of reason

Southern Cuisine - December

Have a Blessed Christmas

Most of the recipes I post are entrée's and are meant for a family lunch or dinner party. Occasionally, I get requests for certain types of recipes, such as desserts. Winter and the Christmas holidays are good times to introduce recipes that are desserts and are sweet. Cakes and pies are popular this time of year and I have gotten several requests for cakes that will go with the meal that is usually served at a Christmas dinner. The cakes are popular during the Christmas holidays but are also popular and served during other celebrations such as birthdays.

I have narrowed the list down to four recipes. Two were requests from friends and two requests from readers of my article. These recipes are found everywhere, and everyone has a copy of their favorite recipe earmarked in a cookbook that has been in the family for years. The four recipes I have picked range from being the most liked cake to the cake that stirs up the most controversy. I will start with the recipe that is the most liked cake in Alabama to the cake that stirs a conversation quicker than college football.

Fruit Cake

There are as many recipes for the next cake as there are ingredients. Fruit cake. This is a list, not a complete recipe for an easy Christmas fruitcake. But perfect for the holidays. It's light, tender, and full of dried fruits and nuts. Sprinkle the loaf with brandy or leave it out! Either way, this fruit cake is a welcome addition to the holiday table.


1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 cup Sour Cream

1 cup Dates (chopped)

2 cups Raisins

½ cup Glazed Cherries (chopped, can sub dried sweetened cranberries)

1 cup Walnuts (chopped)

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

(divided into 1/4 cup and 1 3/4 cups)

½ cup Butter (1 stick)

1 cup Granulated Sugar

1 Large Egg (room temperature)

1 tablespoon Rind

(one orange grated)


2 ounces Brandy (optional)

German's Sweet Chocolate Cake

The next cake has its best recipe on the box wrapper of the chocolate used to make the cake. Even though the cake is called German, it wasn't brought over from Germany. Instead, it originated in Dallas, Texas, in 1957 - but, just like the cake, its history is much richer than that. German chocolate cake's story dates back even further to the 1850s when a baker named Samuel German created a sweet baking chocolate. He developed the new chocolate with a higher sugar content for Baker's Chocolate - which, by the way, is also not called "Baker's" because it makes chocolate for bakers, but rather because its founder was named James Baker. The chocolate company named German's creation "German's Sweet Chocolate" after him.

Almost a century later in 1957, The Dallas Morning News published a recipe for "German's Chocolate Cake." The recipe was credited to Mrs. George Clay, a Dallas resident, who named the cake that because it utilized German's Sweet Chocolate. The recipe became so popular that other publications started running it and Baker's Chocolate's sales began to soar. It's believed that through all the various publications of the original recipe, the apostrophe 's' got lost along the way. Thus came the belief that the dessert originated in Germany. Apparently, the idea that German chocolate cake was a German favorite became so ubiquitous that even President Lyndon B. Johnson believed it to be true. He served the cake to German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard at a luncheon in 1963, according to The Dallas Morning News. Baker's Chocolate, which is now owned by Kraft Heinz, still makes and sells German's Sweet Chocolate. However, many German chocolate cake recipes of today don't call for sweet baking chocolate. Some recipes only use cocoa powder, while some use baking chocolate but with a different sugar content than German's - sometimes semi-sweet or unsweetened.


If you decide to make24 cupcakes

using German's Chocolate and

frosting for 36 cupcakes.

As it says on the box you will need

1 Pkg (4 oz') Bakers sweet chocolate

¾ cup butter

1 ½ sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

Coconut Pecan filling and frosting

prep directions are inside the box

for 24 cupcakes

Coconut Cake


2 and 1/2 cups cake

flour (spooned &

amp; leveled)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.

1 and 2/3 cups granulated sugar.

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 cup unsweetened canned coconut milk,

at room temperature*

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut.

Coconut Cream Cheese Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature.

8 ounces cream cheese (not low fat),

softened to room temperature*

5 cups confectioners' sugar

2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut.


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper.

2. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set it aside.

3. Using a handheld or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar together on medium- high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed!

Beat in the egg whites until combined, then add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Beat until combined. Mixture will look curdled as a result of the varying textures and solid butter combining. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and coconut milk. Beat on low speed until combined, then add the shredded coconut. Whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no butter lumps at the bottom of the bowl.

The batter will be slightly thick.

The next cake is a Lane Cake. The Lane Cake, one of Alabama's more famous culinary specialties, was created by Emma Lyander Lane of Clayton of Barbour County. It is a type of white sponge cake mad with egg whites and consists of four layers that are filled with a mixture of egg yolks, butter, sugar, raisins and whiskey. The cake is typically served in the South, at birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other special occasions.

Alabama Lane Cake Recipe


3-1/4 cup plain flour

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or margarine, softened.

2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 egg whites


1 cup golden raisins

1 cup bourbon

8 egg yolks

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine,

very soft

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans, chopped.

1 cup frozen, grated coconut, thawed (optional)


Cake: Preheated oven to 375 degrees.

Measure flour and sift, then re-measure flour by spooning lightly into cup.

Re-sift flour with baking powder and salt; set aside. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light. Alternate adding milk, vanilla, and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a separate bowl, beat the room temperature egg whites until very stiff. Gently fold the egg whites in the cake batter until just barely blended.

Using 3 different cake layer pans, prepare pans with Baker's Joy. Pour the batter evenly divided into the 3 pans; bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until cakes test done.

After baking, allow cakes to cool 20 minutes before turning out of pans; cool cakes completely before frosting. Filling: After soaking the raisins in the bourbon for 1 hour, begin the filling. In an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until a light lemon color. Slowly add the sugar and the soft butter until well blended. In a double boiler over boiling water, cook the filling until thick, stirring constantly. Add the raisins with bourbon, vanilla, and pecans.

Stir to mix; then immediately remove the top of the double boiler to allow the filling to begin to cool. Cool completely before spreading between cake layers. If using the coconut, it will be used later in the cake assemble step.

Seven Minute Frosting: 2 egg whites, 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, 1-1/2 teaspoons white corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, Additional ingredients may be used and added at the same time as the vanilla, such as: chopped pecans, dried fruit tidbits, thawed frozen grated coconut, food color tint, etc.: Be very careful while making this frosting since it requires using a mixer over boiling hot water. Place the double boiler top over the boiling water in the base pot.

Beat all the frosting ingredients, except vanilla and any additions with a rotary or electric beater for seven minutes or until frosting stands in peaks. Remove from boiling water; add vanilla and continue beating until frosting is a good spreading consistency. Add additional ingredients selected at this time. Cake Assembly: After cake layers cool, spread the cooled filling evenly between 2 of the layers; then sprinkle each layer on top, and frost the entire cake.

Refrigerate cake overnight before cutting; keep cake refrigerated.


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