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Alabama Recipes: Holiday Cakes


It seems there is always a story behind every cake. Well, at least for the ones I make. I consider myself a better baker than cook, but sometimes I’m faced with density problems, bubbles, peaks, or sunken middles. I’m still trying to forget the times I’ve forgotten to grease the pan and dealing with cake crumbling while trying to remove it from the pan. However, I’ve had a few successes. One of them was the cake I made for my daughter’s first birthday. We had a simple party with homemade decorations and toddler-friendly food. I spent most of the time making her rainbow cake. It’s basically just a white cake with cream cheese icing. I used different food colorings for each layer and baked them separately. Once cooled, I trimmed the peaks so the layers would lie flat, then I stacked, frosted and stacked again. It was really simple, but it just took a bit longer to prepare. There wasn’t a slice left! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Mary Tyler Spivey is a graduate of Huntingdon College
where she studied history and French but she also has a
passion for great food.

Contact her at

Cook of the month: Peggy Key, North Alabama EC

Peggy Key, North Alabama EC

Hummingbird Cake

2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice
2 medium bananas, chopped

Mix above ingredients by hand. Bake in a 9×13-inch pan at 350 degrees until done, about 60 minutes or until golden brown.


3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl; add confectioner’s sugar and blend till smooth. Add chopped nuts and stir. Pour over warm cake when it comes out of oven, or cool cake completely and put on cake.


Popcorn Cake

1 16-ounce package regular marshmallows
1/2 stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup vegetable oil
16 cups popped buttered popcorn
1 can (12 oz.) salted peanuts
1/2 cup candy mini-chocolate chips
Optional but good: Teddy Grahams, M&Ms

In large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallows, butter and oil; stir constantly until marshmallows are melted. Place popcorn, candies and peanuts in large bowl; stir in marshmallow mixture. Press popcorn mixture into a greased 10-inch tube/bundt pan, pack firmly. Let set for 30 minutes.

Memory Bush, South Alabama EC

Chocolate Fruitcake

1 cup butter
6 1 oz semisweet chocolate squares
11/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup red candied cherries (cut in half)
1 cup either green or red candied pineapple, cut in 1/2 inch wedges
3/4 cup English walnut halves
3/4 cup pecan halves
Red candied cherries for garnish

Melt butter and chocolate in heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and cool 15 minutes. Stir in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each egg. Add flour and salt, stirring until blended. Stir in cherries, pineapple and nuts. Spoon mixture into greased and floured 53/4 x 31/4 x 2-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool on wire racks. Seal cakes in plastic wrap; refrigerate 8 hours before cutting. Yield: 4 (12-ounce) loaves. Note: Easier to slice if stored in refrigerator, but freezes well.

Jane A. Smith, Joe Wheeler EMC


Turtle Cake

1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups pecans
3/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 14-ounce bag caramels
11/3 cups water (or as called for by your cake mix)
1/3 cup oil (or as called for by your cake mix)
3 eggs (or as called for by your cake mix)
1 18-ounce box German chocolate cake mix

First step to prepare this recipe is to use directions to prepare cake mix. Pour half the batter in a 13×9-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a double boiler, add caramels, milk and butter, stirring constantly until melted. Pour melted caramel over cooling cake. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate chips on the top. Pour remaining batter on top, then bake about 20 minutes or until set. Turtle cake can be made as a sheet cake or a layer cake as shown in photo.

Katherine Authement, Baldwin EMC

Layered Peppermint Cheesecake

Cheesecake layers

3  8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
2/3 cup crushed hard peppermint candies

Sour cream layers

1 18.25-ounce package white cake mix
2 large eggs
1 8-ounce container sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water


1 cup white chocolate morsels
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Prepare cheesecake layers:  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.   Line bottom and sides of two (8-inch) round cake pans with aluminum foil allowing 2-3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.  Beat cream cheese, sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy and smooth.  Add three eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition.  Add flour and next three ingredients, beating until blended and folding in candies. Pour batter into pans. Place cake pans in a large pan, add water to pan depth of one inch. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes or until set.  Remove from oven to wire racks. Cool completely in pans (about one hour). Cover cheesecakes and freeze four to six hours or until frozen solid.  Lift from pans using foil as handles. Return to freezer until ready to assemble.

Sour cream layers: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat cake mix and next four ingredients at low speed for 30 seconds or until just moistened; beat at medium speed two minutes.  Spoon batter into three greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on a wire rack.

Frosting: Cook 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add morsels; cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool about 30 minutes, whisking occasionally. Beat whipping cream and vanilla at high speed 1 to 2 minutes or until soft peaks form. Gradually fold white chocolate mixture into whipped cream mixture, until mixture reaches spreading consistency. Assemble layers and frost.

Tamara Gourley, Cullman


Red Velvet Cake

1 box butter cake mix
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 stick margarine
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bottle red food coloring
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon vinegar


1 stick margarine, softened at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix cake mix and cocoa. Add buttermilk, melted margarine, eggs, vanilla and food coloring. Mix together until blended well. Add baking soda and vinegar. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Bake at 325 degrees until done.

Frosting: Mix margarine and cream cheese until blended well. Pour in powdered sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add pecans.

Faye Marion, Arab EC

Maw’s Christmas Cake

1 box white cake mix
1½ cup broken walnuts
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 bag coconut
1-2 peppermint sticks
3 egg whites
1½ cups of sugar
1/3 cup cold water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

Prepare cake mix as directed. Add 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup chocolate morsels. Bake as directed.

7 Minute Icing

In double boiler, mix egg whites, sugar, cold water and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil; use mixer and mix until fluffy and forms peak. Spread 7 minute icing onto cooled cake. Put coconut on top of icing. Crush the peppermint sticks until mostly a powder. Sprinkle the peppermint powder over the cake. Drop or place walnut pieces and chocolate morsels on top of cake, as desired.

Janie Wade, Marshall DeKalb EC

Pistachio Holiday Cake

3/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
11/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs


3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 13-by 9-inch cake pan, knocking out excess flour. Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Add baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Pulse to combine. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pistachio, flour and milk in batches and mix at low speed until combined.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan and bake until tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
For the frosting: Whisk all ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cake slices before serving.

Robin O’Sullivan, Wiregrass EC