The library has been a good place to hang out during these cold, snowy days that we have been living through over the last few weeks. It has different sections you can move from: newspapers, records, movies for the night, a Scott County history room, book store and, yes, even a cafe and a fireplace as well as a bookcase with shelves that contain stacks of old magazines.

The other afternoon I pulled out a few, old out of date, some even a year or two old and just sat down before a real fire and looked at a magazine that maybe you had missed two or three years ago. A magazine celebrating the 50th anniversary of Southern Living. A magazine which included stories of travels, architecture, history, advertising and a whole lot of recipes.

“The South’s Most Storied Cakes”

“From baptisms to funerals, no occasion is complete without a cake. Here, we share five twists on iconic recipes and how they became our sweetest traditions.

“Southerners have had a long standing love affair with layer cakes. We bake them for birthdays and christenings, mount them on heirloom cake stands in honor of anniversaries and holiday homecomings, and immortalize them in great works of fiction. Few desserts are more impressive on a buffet. Vying with a dazzling parade of pies and meringue-topped banana puddings, a decadent layer cake will always be the star of the show at a church dinner. Tattered and scribbled with marginalia, the best loved recipes are passed down from one generation to the next. Stories of their origin, both real and apocryphal, are as multi-layered as the cakes themselves. Over the years, hundreds of readers and SL staffers, have shared their favorite cake recipes in the pages of Southern Living. In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we offer a deliciously fresh take on a few of the classics.

“No Southern baker’s repertoire is complete without at least one version of these tried-and-true classics: the lane cake, the lemon cheese layer cake, the red velvet cake, the jam cake, the coconut chiffon cake.”

I picked for myself and you:

The red velvet cake

Cake layers

— 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

— 1 cup butter, softened

— 1/2 cup firmly packed light- brown sugar

— 4 large eggs at room temperature

— 2 tablespoons red liquid food coloring

— 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

— 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

— 2-1/2 cups all purpose soft-wheat flour (such as White Lily)

— 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

— 1 teaspoon baking soda

— 1/2 teaspoon of table salt

Shortening, strawberry glaze

—  1/4 cup strawberry preserves

—  1/4 cup almond liqueur

Strawberry frosting

— 1/4 cup butter, softened

— 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted

— 1-1/4 cups diced,fresh strawberries, divided

1. Prepare cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat first three ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add red food coloring and vanilla, beating at low speed just until blended.

2. Stir together sour cream and 1/2 cup water until blended. Stir together flour and next three ingredients. Gradually add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon butter into three greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round shiny cake pans (about 2-1/2 cups batter in each pan).

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely (about 30 minutes.)

4. Prepare glaze: Pulse strawberry preserves in a food processor until smooth; transfer to a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave strawberry preserves on high 30 to 35 seconds or until melted, stir in almond liqueur. Brush 1/4 cup warm glaze over top of each cooled cake layer. Reserve remaining 1/4 cup glaze.

5. Prepare frosting: Beat 1/4 cup softened butter at medium speed 20 seconds or until fluffy. Gradually add five cups powered sugar and 1/2 cup diced strawberries, beating at low speed until frosting reaches desired consistency. Reserve remaining one cup diced strawberries.

6. Place one cake layer glazed side up, on serving platter. Spread 1/3 of frosting over cake layer; sprinkle with 1/2 cup reserved diced strawberries. Repeat  procedure with second cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer; spread with remaining frosting. Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup strawberry glaze over cake.

Note: If your berries are juicy, you may not need the entire amount in the frosting. Makes 12 to 16 servings in 2 hours 10 minutes.

Another note: I hope someone will try this recipe. I have not done it. I went for it because of the picture and the recipe takes more than 2 hours. If you venture into it,  let me know.

Joe Rhinehart can be reached by  e-mail at

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