Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Deluxe German Chocolate Cake

Deluxe German Chocolate Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker

There is always something relaxing each time I step inside the hen house to collect eggs. Invariably a couple at hens will be sitting in their nests brooding over a stash of eggs that I rob while the rest of the flock stays in a frenzy of activity around my feet hoping for some extra crumbs to fall their way. I admit I do spoil my dear hens considering I have to push their feathery bodies out of the way just to gather eggs that range in colors from dark brown to a pale cream (some plain, others speckled) interspersed with a few white eggs. I always make sure to thank my fat hens and praise their bounty, especially when a first small egg has been laid.

Every flock has a pecking order and scrawny Priscilla is the one at the bottom in mine. I can’t help but admire her grit. Regardless of the fact that her white feathers stay constantly in disarray, Prissy is always the first one to greet me diving in between and around the other hens, staying a beak length away from the rest trying to put her back in her place, while inquisitive dark eyes check me out. Even as the hens press closely around my feet Prissy refuses to give up hopping around on her long skinny legs doing all kinds of contortions to dodge the sharp beaks aimed in her direction in order to remain close by. So I was quite proud the other day to discover Priscilla’s first-laid perfectly formed tiny white egg about the size of a quarter. This bedraggled hen, whose lot in life has daily difficulties to overcome, inspires me not to give up when life throws a curve my way. If Prissy can fulfill her duty as a hen, I too can stay optimistic.

My Deluxe German Chocolate Cake is not something put together quickly. Instead it is a culinary masterpiece well worth the effort involved with its elegant 4-layers. Each bite is scrumptious delights of moist cake with caramel amidst toasted coconut and pecans topped by fuggy chocolate frosting. Preparation time for the Deluxe German Chocolate Cake is forty-five minutes (not counting baking or cooling time) and serves eighteen.

Deluxe German Chocolate Cake

1 chocolate cake mix
1½ c black coffee room temperature
3 eggs
2 c br sugar
1 c evaporated milk
2 tb butter
1½ c shredded toasted cocoanut
1½ c chopped toasted pecans
1 (16 oz) container of chocolate frosting

Combine the cake mix, coffee, and eggs beating on medium speed for two minutes. Pour the batter into two 9-inch round greased cake pans and bake for thirty-five minutes at 350º. Remove from pans, cover, and cool. In a small pan mix together the sugar, milk, and butter with a Wisk. Bring to a boil and cook for fifteen minutes stirring frequently until thickened and caramel colored. Fold in one cup of the cocoanut and pecans. Microwave the frosting for a minute or so until runny. Cut each cake layer in half. Divide the caramel mixture into thirds placing one third on the first layer and drizzling a thin layer of frosting on top. Do the same for the second and third layer. Completely cover the top layer with the rest of the frosting letting it run down the sides. Sprinkle on the rest of the cocoanut and pecans. Let sit for four hours at room temperature before slicing!

Weekly tip: Toasting nuts brings out their rich flavor. A quick way to do this instead of using the oven is by placing the nuts in a bowl, microwave on high for one minute, stir, and microwave at thirty second intervals for another minute or two (stirring each time) until the nuts are fragrant and golden!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Double Chocolate Malt Brownies

Double Chocolate Malt Brownies
Dorcas Annette Walker

To any chocaholic there is only one way to celebrate and that is by some form of chocolate with the rule of thumb being the more the better. So hang on as we indulge in more chocolate recipes for the rest of the month. After all I did manage to make it for five weeks (with the help of my leftover Christmas chocolate candy) in the New Year before I gave a chocolate recipe. I can’t remember the first time I tasted a chocolate covered malt ball, but I was instantly hooked with the unique combination of malt and chocolate as anything covered in chocolate is wonderful…uh, within reason of course.

And with the upcoming presidential election we need all the chocolate we can get to keep our spirits up as we wade through the bombardment of useless campaign promises that each time around gets larger and more convoluted- Does the average citizen really believe such jargon?- and yet it seems anymore that the candidate who promises the most and spends the largest amount of money wins. Have we Americans become that naive? What our country needs is not a politician, who upon entering office is already bound by promised handouts and positions to his own party, but an honest business man, who will be more interested in what he can do for his country instead of himself with a history of turning bankrupt companies around. Where is the man, who instead of spending billions for election in the face of the struggling financial average citizen to give towards helping the economic crisis in America instead of blowing it on publicity for him? Today’s politicians seeking the presidential office are the total opposite of the founding fathers of our country, who were willing to go bankrupt in order to create a government for the people and by the people.

Perhaps this Presidents’ Day we should take a long hard look at what our country needs for a president instead of letting politics tell us who to vote for. Ironically enough Presidents’ Day evolved out of increasing controversy due to Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays being so close together. In 1968 Congress voted to shift the three existing holidays to Monday thus also moving Washington’s Birthday to Monday. In 1999 bills were introduced to the House and Senate for Washington’s Birthday to officially be called Presidents’ Day, but both bills died in committees. Until the late 1980’s businesses were closed on Presidents’ Day, but this was gradually turned around in order to promote sales. In 1971 President Nixon proclaimed Presidents’ Day to be observed on the 3rd Monday of February honoring all the presidents. Today the spelling of Presidents Day and Presidents’ Day are both considered correct.

My Double Chocolate Malt Brownies are a luscious indulgence of soft chewy crunchy brownies topped by a fuggy chocolate frosting that will satisfy any sweet tooth. The Double Chocolate Malt Brownies make a “finger licking” snack or classy dessert garnished with strawberries or whipped topping. You can use any kind of brownie mix with added chocolate chunks or chopped nuts if you desire. Preparation time for my Double Chocolate Malt Brownies is fifteen minutes (not counting baking or cooling time) and serves twelve.

Double Chocolate Malt Brownies

1 brownie mix
1 c malted milk balls
1 (16 oz) container of chocolate frosting

Mix brownies as directed, cut the malt balls in half, and stir in. Spread batter in a 9 x 12 greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350º. Let cool for fifteen minutes before spreading the chocolate frosting over top!

Weekly tip: The weight of the world’s largest chocolate bar is 12,290 pounds measuring 21 feet long by 3 feet high!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Red Velvet Cream Cake

Red Velvet Cream Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker

I remember as a youngster how the suspense would build each year right before Valentine’s Day. How many valentine cards would one receive? Would you be included in the popular girls’ list? Most important would a certain boy that you had your eye on give you a special card? We didn’t have money to buy store bought cards. Instead my mother would create attractive homemade heart cards years before the idea of crafts became trendy. I wish now that we had appreciated the time invested from an overworked mother and the intricate artwork instead of secretly longing for store bought cards to hand out like the few rich kids. Our mother also didn’t believe in showing partiality so we always had a card for every student in our class.

Finally Valentine’s Day would come and we would arrive at school loaded down with a stack of cards and a batch of cupcakes or a gallon of drink that had been designated for us to bring. That afternoon as our teacher set out the snacks us students would go around putting cards in the decorated boxes sitting on each desk. What anticipation and excitement as you opened up your stack of cards that were mostly homemade and read the signed name on the back.

When my children were young I would take the time and make homemade Valentine cards, but soon I ended up buying store bought cards like everyone else as it was so much easier and quicker. Now each year as I see the aisles stacked full of boxed Valentine cards- some of which look more like a horror movie advertisement than a Valentine card- and all the decorations, bags of candy, and commercialism that surround today’s youngsters, I sigh and remember the days when homemade Valentine cards and cupcakes was the norm.

My Red Velvet Cream Cake is ideal for making into a heart cake for your Valentine celebration with its soft cake texture surrounded by white frosting. The special pudding layer in the center makes this Red Velvet Cream Cake stand out. The elegant Red Velvet Cream Cake is something that even a beginner cook can make with success. Preparation time for my Red Velvet Cream Cake is about seventy-five minutes (not counting the cooling time) and this large heart cake serves twenty-two.

Red Velvet Cream Cake

1 red velvet cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
1½ c milk
½ c powdered sugar
½ tsp almond extract
1 (16 oz) container of vanilla frosting

Mix the cake mix according to the directions separating the batter in half and baking it in a heart-shaped pan. Cover and let cool. In a small bowl mix together the pudding, milk, sugar, and extract with a Wisk until smooth. Spread over top the first cooled cake layer. Carefully put the second heart layer on top of the pudding. Cover the sides and then the top of the cake with the vanilla frosting. Garnish with Valentine hearts, gel writing in red, or surround the cake with roses!

Weekly tip: Whenever an egg is stuck to the carton, wet the carton, and the egg will come out without breaking!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Potato Soup

Potato Soup
Dorcas Annette Walker

I have sneezed, blown my nose, and coughed my way through this past week from a cold that I caught from my husband. With the fluctuating weather the winter season is ripe for colds and flu. The bright spot in my world as I sat in my recliner with a box of tissues close by was the seed and flower magazines that arrived almost daily in the mail to pore and drool over. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I’m still amazed at all the new varieties that come out each year while on the other hand it is a good thing that there are pictures to identify various plants as one would never recognize some of the outlandish colored vegetables. Between doctoring my cold and looking at gardening magazines I fixed up a batch of homemade Potato Soup.

February is also National Potato Lovers month. So I looked up some facts about the potato:

- Potatoes were first cultivated by the Inca Indians around 200 B.C.
- Marie Antoinette wife of Louis XV was known to wear potato blossoms as a hair decoration.
- Up until the late 18th century, the French believed that potatoes caused leprosy. To accept the potato as a safe food reverse psychology was used by posting guards around potato fields during the day leaving them unguarded at night. Every night thieves would sneak into the fields and leave with sacks of potatoes!
- The first established potato fields in North America were in 1719.
- The ‘Idaho’ potato or ‘Russet Burbank’ potato was developed in 1871.
- The Yukon Gold potato honors the Alaskan Klondike gold rush where potatoes were actually ‘worth their weight in gold.’ Potatoes were so valued for their vitamin C content that miners traded gold for potatoes.
- In 1912 the Idaho Potato Museum was built in the old Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot.
- In 1974, an Englishman named Eric Jenkins grew 370 pounds of potatoes from one plant.
- The world’s largest potato chip was produced in Jackson, TN by the Pringle company in 1990 measuring 23’ by 14.5’
- Instant mashed potatoes (dehydrated potatoes) were introduced commercially in 1955.
- The potato is the fourth most important crop in the world and requires less water to grow than wheat, rice and corn.
- The potato produces more food per acre than any other crop and one acre of land can provide sustenance for nearly10 people.
- Potatoes are grown in all 50 states, and in 125 countries; New York consumes more potatoes than any other state.
- The average American eats about 140 pounds of potatoes each year; the most popular is the Russet Burbank.
- The potato is about 80% water and 20% solid, grows underground, is actually swollen stems, not roots, and changes its chemical structure after harvested by the outer layer thickening and hardening converting to the same substance that is found in corks.
- An 8-ounce baked or boiled potato has only150 calories.
- The Potato was the first vegetable grown in outer space.

Potato Soup

2 large potatoes
½ tsp salt
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 tb dried onion
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
pepper & salt
½ stick of butter

Peel, wash, and cut potatoes into small chunks. Add water to cover, salt, and bring to a boil. Let cook for ten minutes until potatoes are soft then mash. Stir in milk, onions, parsley, pepper & salt to taste, and butter. Simmer for five more minutes until butter is melted. Preparation time is twenty-five minutes and this recipe serves four!

Weekly tip: Don’t store uncooked potatoes in the refrigerator as the taste and texture will be affected!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at: