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Historic Mardi Gras Cake Recipe

19 Nov


In 1959 Eunice G. Surles of Lake Charles, Louisiana, became the first southern woman to win the Pillsbury bake-off. She won for her cake, Mardi Gras Party Cake, a heavenly concoction of butterscotch, coconut and “sea foam” frosting. Juanita and Jack Surles have generously donated the memorabilia of that win to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and we will soon be displaying Mrs. Surles’ original blue ribbon that she was awarded, photographs with her and Greer Garson (who presented the award) and other celebrities of the day, a plaque given to her by the City of Lake Charles, and news reel footage of her win. SoFAB is grateful to the Surles for their generous donation of this delightful bit of southern culinary history.

Mardi Gras Party Cake

2/3 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup water
2 1/4 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose or Unbleached Flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
Seafoam Cream
1cup whipping cream
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.** In small saucepan over low heat, melt 2/3 cup butterscotch chips in 1/4 cup water, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly.
2. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine flour, all remaining cake ingredients and cooled butterscotch mixture; beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into greased and floured pans.
3. Bake at 350°F. for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled.
4. In medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch; stir in half-and-half, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup butterscotch chips and 1 egg. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in margarine, coconut and nuts; cool slightly.
5. In small bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add brown sugar and vanilla, beating until stiff peaks form.
6. To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer, top side down, on serving plate. Spread with half of filling mixture. Top with second layer, top side up; spread remaining filling on top to within 1/2 inch of edge. Frost sides and top edge of cake with seafoam cream. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Store in refrigerator.

Try Making Oyster Stuffing for Thanksgiving

19 Nov


Try this Oyster Stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving and avoid the boxed stuff …


SERVES 8 – 10

11 cups 1⁄2″ cubed white French bread (about 14 oz.)
6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1⁄4″ strips
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus more for
greasing the pan
6 shallots, thinly sliced
4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
40 medium oysters, such as bluepoints,
   shucked (about 1 lb.), with 1 cup of the
   liquor reserved
1 cup chicken stock
1⁄4 cup madeira or port
1⁄3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tbsp. chopped thyme leaves
2 tbsp. chopped sage leaves
1⁄2 tsp. Tabasco
1⁄4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Heat oven to 250˚. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake, stirring occasionally, until dried but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

2. Put bacon into a 12″ skillet; cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and its fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Add 4 tbsp. of the butter and heat. Add shallots and celery, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add oyster liquor, stock, madeira or port, parsley, thyme, sage, Tabasco, nutmeg, cloves, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the bread cubes and oysters. Set aside to allow the flavors to come together for 10 minutes.

3. Raise the oven temperature to 400˚. Transfer mixture to a buttered 2-qt. oval baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, drizzle with remaining butter, and continue baking until golden brown and crusty, about 30 minutes more. Serve immediately.