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Posted August 26, 2016


Happy Fri-yay! Cake day. Oh, let's face it, any day is cake day. And when my kids and grandies come to my house or I go to theirs, we cook. We bake. We eat lip-smacking good food. My son-in-love will even text me pictures of whole chickens he's cooked on his Big Green Egg with enticing accompanying words like, "I'll make you one of these next time you're here."

I drool over his chickens and hold his feet to the fire even though my eldest granddaughter, Hayden, said (last time a grilled chicken was hanging out in her kitchen), "Are we having this kind of chicken again! Wait a minute, did somebody KILL this chicken?"

Ahem. She's four. Okay? We haven't had a "murdering chickens" talk yet. That's, to her, a great-great-grandmother story and I'll get to that later. When she's older. When the subject of wringing necks comes up. And I know that's not humorous--I was scarred for months as a child when I first saw my grandmother do such a dastardly thing, but back to the chicken standing up on a grill skewer in Hayden's kitchen--it did look like a naked chicken with missing head and feet.

That opened a conversation I let my daughter handle while I avoided "the situation" and gathered up hen's eggs.

Back to cooking. And then, after we've cooked and it's time for bed, Hayden is always asking me about my Mother and Daddy. Meco and Paw Paw. So we have Meco night, and then Paw Paw night. Meco is what all of the grandchildren called my Mother. And I tell Hayden stories about her great-grandparents to help her go to sleep. On Paw Paw night, I tell her funny stories. On Meco night, she gets more funny stories but I also tell Hayden about what a fantastic cook Meco was. And how she taught her mama--my child--to make biscuits and squash with brown streaks in it--a.k.a. fried squash in adult terminology. How she taught her to sew on buttons and how to make homemade lye soap, the way it was made in a big iron pot over an outside fire when she was a little girl, and how to skin-a-cat on a tree limb (okay that's a game kids play PETA, Meco didn't really skin live cats--only dead chickens) and how to string popcorn and cranberries together to make a garland for the Christmas tree. But besides being famous for her biscuits and gravy and fried squash with brown streaks and okra, Meco was famous for her dessert table during holidays. I've already mentioned in a previous blog how everyone got the cake they requested. The dessert table groaned when her pies were added to the mix.

And here's one of Meco's sheet cake concoctions that is so simple and yummy--even my son-in-love tried it and said it was delicious and he doesn't normally eat sweets--you can even let the toddlers help make it.

Here's the simple part. Use two boxes of strawberry cake mix--yes, this is not from scratch and it probably is not gluten-free, I didn't check--and follow directions on the box. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 cake pan. You can use the PAM spray that has flour in it. Even easier. (Just make sure you put the can back in the kitchen's condiment or spice cabinet so it's not mistaken for hair spray.) Bake as instructed. If you need gluten-free, then you might have a more complicated baking day.

Mother added a glaze or icing to complement her sheet cakes. But I'll share my special strawberry glaze: Mix up one box of Confectioner's Sugar with 1/4 cup of salted butter. When that is creamy and smooth, add one can of thawed strawberry daiquiri mix to make a liquid glaze.

Let me add this sidebar: There's no alcohol added in frozen daiquiri mix, just so you'll know, unless some crazy uncle belonging to a surprise guest just in from Alaska concocted something in the frig while you were cracking eggs. If that happens, just change the name to Strawberry Holy Happy Cake and take it to a funeral wake. Everyone will be telling glory stories about the deceased and cheered up before bedtime. And if the relatives of the deceased are Baptist, remember they can eat alcohol, they just can't drink it and Baptists love cake and bourbon balls better than casseroles and fried chicken for funerals--in fact, Meco never touched a drop of alcohol in her life unless it was to make a Bicardi Rum Bundt Cake, Pina Colada Cake, or bourbon balls. Even then, she had someone else bring her the booze and she only touched the glass bottle to pour the liquid out and insisted the alcohol evaporated once the cakes were cooked. She was going for flavor. Since the bourbon balls weren't baked, I can only surmise that's why all of the men gathered around the candy dish, the only year Meco made bourbon balls, so they could better talk about next year's fertilizer and cattle prices.

But back to funeral wakes and sinner glazes. If the mourners at the funeral wake are Pentecostal, they'll lift up holy hands, surely in appreciation because they all know Jesus made wine yet many claim he didn't drink it. Don't be surprised if that crowd starts speaking in tongues when they get the first bite of the Strawberry Holy Happy Cake. And if the mourners are of the Church of Christ faith, they might be a little surprised since some call them the frozen chosen because they believe they're the only ones getting into heaven while dead set on keeping any kind of emotion out of worship services. But this Strawberry Holy Happy Cake should at least make some of them grin a little.

Don't ask me about the Presbyterians, I never knew that side of my family and I read where my Presbyterian ancestors were a stern, serious bunch. And evidently the preaching Methodists never made it by horseback to our neck of the woods because I can't recall one Methodist from our family or extended family. I can tell you this, my Catholic side won't mind this glaze one bit. The main thing is, don't let this cake go to waste. Embrace the love. I do believe some of my Church of Christ relatives are going to be surprised when they see that Baptist bunch up there hanging out in the giggle corner of a cloud. I'm sure Jesus will straighten out my entire gang of kin about His Church and how it is to be united as one.

Let's return to the cake baking part. Sweet!: While the cake is still hot from the oven, take a plastic drinking straw and make a hole in the cake two inches from the side of the cake pan, all of the way to the bottom of the pan. (Don't get too wild, you don't need a mine field--unless you love a really super-duper moist, let's make that drenched, cake. Then make all of the holes you want--just remember you later want to hide the holes with slices of strawberries if you're into pretty. So making precision holes is best if you're into aethestics and food styling. If your family is into "holy" cake and this might be a good church cake for you to take to the next event, have at it, and go hyper-holy on everybody and have your cake looking like a supernatural hand grenade hit it during a Holy Ghost party.

After pressing the straw down, the displaced cake moves up into the straw. Remove straw and squeeze the cake out. Kids love this part because they get to "test" the cake early like little birds with mouths open wide for pink strawberry worms. Then make another hole, making holes evenly across the cake to make one row of holes. Ususally 4-5 holes about two inches apart going left to right on the 9" side of the cake. Then two inches toward the longer side of the cake, make more holes two inches apart until each hole is made.

Pour on the glaze, making sure the liquid fills all holes.

Garnish with sliced strawberries hiding holes. Slice. And before long, all of the little toddler and tykes will be smacking sweet lips. And your kids and grandies will all be quipping, "Wow. this is soooo good."

Thanks Meco, for teaching me how to make this holy cake. Holy Cow! It's just so lip-smacking fruity good. Hope you're up there watching from heaven--we talked about you when we made this cake. So even though you're up there with Daddy and all the crew that have gone home before us, your ears might be burning, if only a little.

P.S. Mother? Are you hearing all of the Meco and Paw Paw stories? Hayden can't get enough! Love you Meco and tell Daddy I'll be seeing you two soon and very soon. Can't wait to hang with Jesus!

Double P.S. -- I hope I didn't offend anyone about the alcohol part. If a surprise guest brings a crazy uncle along who likes to tinker with the strawberry daiquiri mix to spike the glaze--keep him busy outside at the grill. He can surely keep his one good eye on the smokin' hot chicken.

Comments anyone?

If you would like to comment or have questions about this article, email me vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com

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