Root Beer Float Cake

Summer has officially arrived and this cake instantly evoked summer memories for me.  Root beer floats are amazing on warm summer evenings and everything about this cake says root beer, from the first whiff of it in the cake batter to its appearance again in the frosting.  The name of the cake alone, when I read the recipe in our local newspaper, evoked the memory of A&W Drive-Ins on warm summer evenings, and it just sounded like a fun cake to make. I certainly immediately remembered enjoying the tang of root beer soda and vanilla  ice cream, eating root beer floats in a convertible with the top down, the stars floating above the treetops, and the sound of persistent peepers croaking everywhere.  Yesssiree, we definitely  have here a cake for summer time, folks!

The recipe is simple and the cake is like every cake made with a good quality cake mix along with oil and eggs.  The batter has a golden sheen to it and it is very thick.  No need allowing this batter to “breathe in the bowl for five minutes”; just mix it up and scrape into a 9×13″ pan.; it serves 15 easily.  Enjoy your own memories of root beer and summer time  and prepare this easy cake tonight! Cool well before frosting.  I placed the cake, uncovered, in the fridge for several hours as I’m saving it for 15 people tonight.  I would store any leftovers in the fridge also.  It’s a keeper!

I did use double the amounts of Dream Whip and root beer for the frosting as I wanted a good deal of that airy concoction topping the cake.  Enjoy!

Root Beer Float Cake


1 (18.25 ounce) package Duncan Hines Supreme white cake mix
1-1/4 cups root beer
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 (1.3 ounce) envelope whipped topping mix
1/2 cup root beer


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, 1 1/4 cup root beer, oil, and eggs. Beat on low-speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

To make the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, combine the whipped topping mix and 1/2 cup root beer. Beat until soft peaks form. Spread on top of cake.  Best kept in the fridge until ready to serve.

Summer Rum Cakes

Today’s post is a somewhat of a cheater; I already blogged about this cake on practically the first of these pages, but, because I have orders for eight cakes, and I will be baking cakes and little else all weekend, I’m making another rum cake post today, dedicated to hopefully the ONE individual surfing out in cyberspace somewhere who actually wants to learn to bake a good rum cake, or who is already adept at the process but thinks the sound of having a rum cake, right now, is lovely.  Here you go then; as they say in songs and award acceptance speeches world-wide, “This one is for you!”  The recipe is as listed in my “Missouri to Maui” cookbook; it’s detailed, for the beginning baker, but once you get the hang of mixing up this wonderful cake, you won’t even be using a recipe book at all to put it together.

Most people who love rum cakes associate them with winter and the holiday season, and were surprised that I am taking rum cake orders now, in June, but, the truth is, a rum cake is actually a cake for all seasons. Simple and quick, 10 minutes from greasing the bundt pan to sliding it in the oven and then you’re good for the next 50 minutes!  Prepare the rich buttery-rum glaze 10 minutes before you remove the cake from the oven and you’re all pau (done!).  You only pour the glaze over the cake and paint some glaze on any dry spots before wrapping the cake to sit at least, overnight.

The glaze will sink through the holes you made all over the cake’s surface using the tines of a fork and it doesn’t take long for a person to realize that it is those wet spots in the cake where the glaze has landed and moistened the cake sublimely. That awareness is, apparently,  the art of eating a rum cake as well as baking one.

This is definitely an “it only gets better the longer it sits” recipe.  The best-tasting rum cake to me is the second day after it’s baked when the juices of the glaze have thoroughly permeated the dense cake, but i have friends who swear that these cakes are best enjoyed once frozen for several months then eaten when just thawed or even half-frozen.  For breakfast.  You just can’t go wrong with a cake with THAT many good qualities, folks!

If your family is small, the cake will last for three days, sliced in liberal pieces and eaten at a good clip.  Do invest an hour today and keep this cake tightly covered under heavy foil or a cake cover, sitting on the counter, and then just go on, and, well feel good about spending an hour with such big results for you and your family.

And thanks to you ladies who ordered the eight cakes!  Baking them for you has help fund my vacation in Florida next week.  Not totally funded it, of course, because the rum cake profits alone will go next into buying the jars and the ingredients for the mango chutney Susie and I will be making while I’m there and laying up heavy foil, walnuts, flour and eggs for the many loaves of mango bread we will turn out. What a blessing then that the droves of mangoes we will need are free and husband-picked for us daily! It’s definitely summer again, people, and time to enjoy summer’s bounty: from rum cakes to mangoes!  Enjoy!

Misses’ Rum Cake


1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 box Duncan Hines Supreme Butter Recipe Golden cake mix
1-(3 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Bacardi Light Rum
1/2 cup Wesson oil
5 eggs

Directions Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 12” bundt pan and sprinkle the pecans around the bottom. In large bowl, stir the cake mix and the dry pudding mix, add the water, oil, and rum. Crack the eggs into your bowl last and mix with electric mixer until batter is glossy, about 2″ on medium speed. Allow batter to breathe in bowl 5-7 minutes then scrape batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake exactly one hour.

GLAZE Ingredients and Directions Prepare 10 minutes before cake is finished baking. In medium saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup rum, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil then add 1 stick butter. Reduce heat and boil low for 5-7 minutes. When the cake is just out of the oven, poke deep holes all over it with the tines of a fork. Pour the hot glaze into a large glass measuring cup and slowly pour the glaze over cake. Use a spatula to gently pull the cake away from the sides of the pan and pour some of the glaze around the sides so it coats the sides, flowing to bottom of the pan and adding gloss to the top of the cake. Let the glaze sink in slowly then keep pouring until glaze is good and gone. Let cake cool in the pan for 50 minutes then invert onto your serving plate. Cover it tightly with a generous piece of heavy-duty foil tucking foil under edges of platter. You can also make this well ahead and freeze, tightly covered with the foil. On the day you want to serve it, take it out of the freezer and allow to thaw slowly. Never microwave this cake or you will end up with nothing but a puddle of rum and butter. Also do not refrigerate once it has been cut; just keep covered tightly with heavy foil on counter top or well hidden from your hungry spouse and other family members.

Summer Strawberry Shortcake

There’s no reason at all to keep buying the twinky-like prepared round disks of shortcake at the store when there is a recipe this simple which produces everybody at the table a biscuit-like serving of shortcake for that quintessential summer treat: strawberry shortcake with fresh berries and whipped cream. Oh, joy! Oh, summer! These biscuit-like shortcakes are the perfect foil for ripe strawberries and they will stand alone as well the next day with a spot of berry preserves I feel sure. I saw this recipe last week in our Southeast Missourian newspaper, just in time for the beginning of many strawberry treats of the summer. It is a versatile recipe as any berries can substituted for the strawberries here with equally great results.  Blackberry shortcake sounds fine to my ears actually!

The recipe is 2-in-1 really as the filling recipe is also included. I had oranges today so I did include orange zest in the filling but it would be fine without it or substituting lemon zest. Smash the berries a little with a heavy fork after you sugar them and set them on the counter, then the fridge. The berries macerated in the sugar and produced plenty of sweet juices for soaking up the shortcake. The results today were amazing!

The cream in the shortcake dough provides both the fat and the liquid needed so the biscuits have only 4 ingredients. What could be easier? You will have to work with the dough to decide the exact amount of cream to use. I began with 1 cup then mixed and then added a little more liquid until the dough stuck together when squeezed, probably 1-1/4 cups total cream. The dough needs little rolling, just quickly shaped into a rectangle and cut into 6 pieces.

One mistake I made today was not buying enough berries this morning. Do use the at least 2 lbs. of berries. Today, I ate two of these myself and saved one serving for mama tonight. The other three shortcakes went into a zip lock for use tomorrow when I can prepare more berries. I don’t believe the remaining three biscuits will be any the worse for it, and, guaranteed, there will be many summer smiles for those enjoying both nights!

Summer Strawberry Shortcake
Southeast Missourian June 7, 2015

For the shortcakes

2 cups flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 to 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
Extra cream for brushing tops of biscuits
2 t. sugar

For the filling

1-1/2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and quartered, sliced smaller if large
1/-4 to 1-2 cup sugar
1 t. finely grated orange zest, optional
Lightly sweetened whipped cream, Cool Whip, or vanilla ice cream, to serve

Directions Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour in enough cream to just form a dough. The dough will be shaggy and clumpy but moist. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times then use your hands to shape into a 6” x 3/4” rectangle. Cut into six equal servings. Place 2” apart on baking sheet; brush lightly with extra cream and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely then split horizontally and fill with sweetened berries. Close and add whipped cream or ice cream. Add sweetened berry juices over all.

Ice Box Pies

The current issue of Southern Living Magazine has a feature on ice box pies this month that I knew I would be giving a good whirl. I adore Ice Box Pies and can foresee making every one of these pies and so I’ve laid in the ingredients I need and in the spotlight today is the Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Box Pie I made yesterday. I felt it wasn’t quite ready for serving having set in the freezer for only four hours so I left it overnight and finished it up today by mixing together the Sweetened Whipped Cream before serving it from mama’s room at Woodland Hills. Yum-Yum GOOD!

I love these pies for their ease of preparation; if there is one thing a busy cook needs it is a good and fast basic recipe that is tweaked by changing just one or two ingredients for a new and different flavor every time. Ice box pies have been popular for years because they are simple to put together and so refreshing served up icy cold on hot summer evenings. Today I am also posting the basic crumb crust recipe (which is easily adjusted four different ways depending on what kind of crackers, wafer, or cookies you choose) and the recipe for Sweetened Whipped Cream. Not every pie needs the sweetened cream but it also wouldn’t harm a one of them on any given occasion. I will post the crumb crust and the sweetened whipped cream recipe today and you can easily refer back to it here.

This Lemon-Buttermilk Pie is creamy with the tart taste of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest with an added tart bonus of buttermilk. I would recommend using a 9″ pie plate only as you want the filling to come all the way to the top of the crust. I think the plate I used when I made this one was a 10″ plate which was one reason I wanted to top it with the sweetened cream to cover that little blooper.  Once I tasted the finished product, I was very glad I made the sweetened cream topping as the powdered sugar in that added a rich bit of texture to the pie. Once the pie bakes and cools, pop it in the freezer for 4-6 hours (or overnight as I did) then prepare the sweetened cream.  A real spot of sunshine will then be ready and waiting to grace your summer table!

Ice Box Pies
Southern Living Magazine – June 2015

Ingredients – Crumb Crust
1-1/2 cups crushed cookies or crackers such as
* vanilla wafers
* graham crackers
* gingersnaps
* saltine crackers
* buttery Ritz crackers
1/4 cup sugar
1 t. sea salt (omit when using saltines or ritz crackers)
6 T. butter, melted
Vegetable cooking spray

Process crushed cookies or crackers, sugar, and (if using) salt in a food processor until finely crushed and well combined. Add melted butter and process until thoroughly combined. Press on bottom, up the sides, and onto the lip of a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch regular pie plate or 9” deep-dish pie plate. Freeze 30 minutes to 1 hour while preparing filling unless otherwise directed.

NOTE: For baked crusts, pre-heat oven to 325. Bake crust 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Box Pie


1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 T. loosely packed lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
3 large egg yolks (discard whites of eggs)
1/4 cup buttermilk
Graham Cracker Crust baked recipe (above)
Vegetable cooking spray

Directions Preheat oven to 325. Whisk together first three ingredients in a bowl. Beat egg yolks with a handheld mixer in a medium bowl at high-speed 4-5 minutes or until yolks become pale and ribbons form on surface of mixture when beater is lifted. Gradually whisk in the sweetened condensed milk mixture, and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the buttermilk. Pour mixture into the prepared crust. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes or until set around the edges (the pie will be slightly jiggly still in center). Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover pie with lightly greased plastic wrap (sprayed with cooked spray) and freeze for 4-6 hours. Serve with sweetened whipped cream (recipe below).

Sweetened Whipped Cream


2 cups heavy cream
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Directions: Beat the cream and vanilla at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread on pie just before serving.

Coca-Cola Chicken Wings (and fried rice)

Here I was all set to begin blogging a series of ice box pies but  the Lemon-Buttermilk Ice Box Pie I made today needs to freeze for 4-6 hours and we’re just now at the 4 hour mark, so I am going to wait and freeze that overnight, blog it tomorrow, then take it up to mama’s place tomorrow night.  Instead, here’s a great appetizer (or main dish) that I made for supper tonight!

I love the flavor of the brown sugar, garlic powder, chopped onion, and soy sauce that this recipe provides.  The wings turn out tender (best for eating with your fingers using a big napkin for after all the finger licking)!  I love these wings with rice and since I found some cold rice in the fridge, I set aside the pot of rice I cooked this afternoon for another purpose and used my cold rice to fry up a large bowl of fried rice using just soy sauce and edamame beans with scrambled eggs and green onion for garnish.  The chicken bakes up with plenty of rich gravy for adding juice to the fried rice and altogether it is nothing but ono (delicious!).

Stay tuned then for ice box pies, but do enjoy these great chicken wings and some fried rice for your table tonight!

Coca-Cola Chicken Wings


1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1-(12 oz.) can of Coke soda
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 T. soy sauce
3 lbs. chicken wings
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions Preheat oven to 350. Dice onion and combine with brown sugar, cola, garlic powder, and shoyu (soy sauce). Mix until well combined. Layer chicken wings in a large foil-lined casserole dish or foil pan and cover with the marinade. Bake for two hours. Serve hot.

Note: If not serving with rice, cook for one hour without the marinade and then drain the fat from the chicken. Add marinade and continue. I always eat these over rice so I don’t drain as I love lots of the “gravy” this produces for my rice.