Teresa Hatchell 2005

Branchville's 2017 Raylrode Daze Festivul week actually began the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 17 with the Can Can Girls, a staged Gunfight, and a half-hour church service featuring lay speaker Thad Wimberly. After the service concluded, Raylrode Daze Festivul Committee Chairman Tom Jennings invited everyone to enjoy free boiled peanuts and a variety of cakes that he had baked.

I chatted a bit with Tom. We were both excited that Indian Field Campmeeting was about to start. We discussed various cakes that he would have at his tent and we would most probably have at my family's tent. During Campmeeting, the meals are prepared over a wood stove. However, the desserts are prepared by family members or assigned per family – bring a cake and a pie one day and two pies (or if you prefer, an oblong dish filled with banana pudding or chocolate delight, etc.) on your other assigned day. Also, many people who visit as dinner guests bring a dessert as a Southern courtesy.

In the course of our conversation, Tom admitted that coconut cake was his favorite. I heard another lady in line in front of me talk about how she preferred strawberry cake. Now, everyone who knows Tom agrees that he is such a wonderful person and true Southern host. 

The enjoyment of Tom's cakes prompted me to take action that evening. I dug through my recipes to find my old tried-and-true moist, delicious (and easy) strawberry cake recipe with frosting and a few other recipes. Here they are:

Quick and easy strawberry cake

1 box white cake mix

1 cup Wesson oil

1 large box strawberry Jell-O (minus 2 tablespoons for the frosting)

4 large eggs

2 tablespoons self-rising flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake ingredients together until well combined. Pour the batter into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan or into two 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for the time directed on the white cake mix box. 

No sugar added strawberry frosting

8-ounce block Philadelphia brand cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tubs Extra-Creamy Cool Whip, at room temperature

2 tablespoons dry strawberry Jello-O

1/2 cup strawberries, well drained and chopped

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese for about two minutes. Add the other ingredients and beat well for about two minutes. Be sure to scrape the strawberry residue from the sides of the bowl back into the frosting after a minute of beating. If you drain the strawberries well, this icing will be of a good spreading consistency.

Truly delicious red velvet cake

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter

2-1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

3-3/4 cups plain flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 small bottles red food coloring

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

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1-1/2 cups buttermilk

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and eggs. Add red food coloring. Using a separate bowl, sift and measure the flour. Put the flour back into the sifter and add cocoa and salt to the sifter; sift again. Add the flour mixture, vanilla and buttermilk to the creamed mixture and beat well.

In a small cup, stir the baking soda and vinegar. Pour it into the batter, but don’t beat it. Instead, fold it in with a spoon or spatula. Pour this into three greased and floured 9-inch cake pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Bake the layers at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (don’t open the oven during this time). Let the layers cool for 10 minutes before inverting the layers onto a flat surface to let them cool before frosting with butter frosting.

Butter frosting

4 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups cold water

4 sticks butter or margarine

1 box 10X powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the cornstarch and cold water. Cook it on medium heat, stirring continually, until it thickens. It doesn’t take long. Set this aside and let it cool. In a large bowl, combine butter or margarine, powdered sugar (sifted) and vanilla. Beat well with a hand mixer. Then beat in the cornstarch mixture. Beat it until the mixture looks like whipped cream. If the frosting seems too thin, beat in a little bit more powdered sugar. This recipe frosts three layers.

Contact writer at tgmhatchell@yahoo.com.

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