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After the holidays, I was sure that I was done with sweets. I had made cupcakes, biscotti, peanut butter and chocolate cakes, peanut brittle, you name it. And then I'd been in Phoenix with my daughter. More biscotti, fudge, and candy that seemingly appeared from nowhere.
Once I got home, I wanted tuna salad, soup and chicken. I wanted to have people come over for dinner. I cooked healthy food along with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and, yes, dessert at those dinners, but when the dinners were done, people took home what was left of the desserts.
My co-conspirator was fitness expert Jorge Cruz, who told television watchers that he could guarantee that if we could promise to keep sugars to fewer than 15 grams per day, we would lose weight. Of course, that included food with hidden sugar, like fruit, fruit juices and not-from-scratch items with sugar included. He added, as did my doctor, diet food and soda, that have artificial sweeteners in them, too. Most experts say that even diet soda may make us crave more sweeteners. All in all, it pretty much worked and will keep on working as long as I keep it up. Then I remembered this recipe I have made for Coca-Cola Cake. I didn't make it, but if you do, email me and I'll be there in a nanosecond.
LEE WHITE HAS BEEN WRITING ABOUT RESTAURANTS AND COOKING SINCE THE LATE 1970S. EMAIL HER AT LEEAWHITE@AOL.COM.
Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake
From "Classic Cooking with Cola-Cola" by Elizabeth Candler Graham and Ralph Roberts (Celebrity Books, Nashville, TN, 1994 and 1998)
Use regular Coke. This recipe makes a very big cake, the kind you would take for a potluck dinner that would feed 20 to 25 people. It freezes well.
4 cups plain flour
8 tablespoons cocoa
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 cups sugar
1 pound butter
2 cups high-test Coca-Cola
4 eggs, beaten
1 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 boxes confectioners' sugar
Grease and flour an 11-by-17-inch Pyrex baking dish.
Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.
In a sauce pan, heat butter and Coca-Cola until the butter melts. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mix well. Add liquids to the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. The batter should be very thin. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. (Will fill two tube pans or two paper-lined cupcake tins.) This cake should be iced while warm.
Linnea called me a few weeks ago and asked if I'd like to have dinner with her at the Bee & Thistle, since David was out of town. Sure, I thought, since I had no idea what I was going to cook, the restaurant will be quiet and Linnea and I rarely get a chance to talk alone.
I wasn't terribly hungry and Linnea reminded me that it was Comfort Food Wednesday. She ordered a winter salad with chicken while I got the Shepherd Pie, something I love but made rarely because my late husband Doug had grown up on casseroles. The pie was very good, with tender chunks of beef and roasted vegetables in a hearty gravy topped with whipped potatoes. I was sure I couldn't eat the whole thing, but I did.
Bee and Thistle
Old Lyme, CT 06371