Readers' Corner

Let's take a trip to the sweeter side of life in this month's Readers' Corner. Anyone with a soft side for desserts and sweet treats will love the three recipes presented this month. And, while I wouldn't call them great diet ideas, I think a couple are compatible with a healthy diet...given some restraint!

We're having a great time looking through the picnic ideas you've been sharing with us so far. If you haven't gotten a chance to get your ideas to us yet, here's your chance. Just fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

Our first recipe idea comes from Stephanie, who has this to say about her contribution of Melt In Your Mouth German Chocolate Cake:

    "I'm not lying when I say that every time I make this cake everyone tells me that it is the best that they have ever eaten in their life. Even people that don't care for German Chocolate Cake have told me this because it is such a moist cake and the frosting is wonderful! The secret ingredient, I think, is the mashed potatoes. "

Melt In Your Mouth German Chocolate Cake

Melt In Your Mouth German Chocolate Cake
by Stephanie
  • Cake:
    • 2 pkgs.(4 oz each) German chocolate, chopped
    • 2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 T. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 3 eggs, separated, at room temp
    • 1 cup mashed potatoes, blended until smooth
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • Pecan-Coconut Frosting:
    • 2 1/4 cups sugar
    • 1 cup plus 2 T.(2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 1 can(12 oz) evaporated milk
    • 6 egg yolks
    • 1 T. plus 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 3 cups chopped pecans, toasted
    • 4 1/4 cups shredded coconut, lightly toasted
    • Pecan halves, toasted for garnish
    • Coconut, toasted for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour three 9" round cake pans; tap out excess flour.

Prepare cake: Combine half the chopped chocolate and 1/2 cup water in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at full(100%) power for 50 seconds; stir until melted. Or melt in saucepan.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Beat in vanilla, egg yolks and mashed potatoes. Beat in melted chocolate, beating until well blended.

Beat in flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk in 3 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and beating 45 seconds after each addition.

Beat egg whites in clean medium-size bowl with clean beaters until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites and the remaining chopped chocolate into the cake batter until no white streaks remain. Scrape batter into prepared cake pans, dividing equally.

Bake in 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cakes for 5-10 minutes; wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until firm.

Prepare Pecan-Coconut Frosting: Combine sugar, butter, both cans evaporated milk, egg yolks and vanilla in large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon, for 12 minutes or until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved, and mixture is golden. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the pecans and all of the coconut. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the frosting is lukewarm and at a good spreading consistency.

Place one cake layer on serving plate; spread top with 1 cup frosting. Repeat with remaining layers. Frost sides of cake with 3 cups of the frosting.

Decorate with pecan halves and toasted coconut. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup chopped pecans on top of the cake.

  • Yields: 1 (9 ", 3 layer) cake
  • Preparation Time: A long time but it's worth it when you take a bite of this version of heaven.

If Stephanie's rich chocolate dessert sounds like a little too much for you, another reader has this neat dessert idea to share with you:

    "I love strawberry shortcake, but am always too busy during the week to make it from scratch. This idea helps me quench my mid-week desire for strawberry shortcake. It's also a hit with my family."

10-minute Strawberry Shortcake

10-minute Strawberry Shortcake
by Maxine Levine
  • 2 c. strawberries
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 store-bought pound cake or angel food cake
  • Whipped topping

Clean and quarter strawberries. Mix sugar and berries together and let stand for 5 minutes to allow juice to form.

Meanwhile, cut the cake into generous portions. Top 4 slices with 1/2 c. of the berry mixture and whipped topping. Serve to anxiously awaiting husband and kids!

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Do you have that favorite resting spot on the porch or in the backyard? Julie Miller does and she makes her favorite frozen drink to enjoy when she's there. Here's what she has to say about her Lazy Afternoon Java Chillers:

    "After I've had a long day, I like sitting on the back porch swing and sipping on one of these. I thought the Seasoned Cooking readers might want to try this one."

Lazy Afternoon Java Chillers

Lazy Afternoon Java Chillers
by Julie Miller
  • 2 c. cold coffee (I use leftovers from the morning)
  • 1 c. vanilla or coffee-flavored ice cream
  • 8 ice cubes
  • Whipped topping
  • Shaved chocolate or chocolate sprinkles

Combine coffee, ice cream and ice cubes in your blender. Blend until ice cubes are crushed and mixture is homogenous.

Pour the chiller mixture into 2 tall glasses and garnish with whipped topping and chocolate shavings or sprinkles. Yum!

  • Yields: 2 tall glasses
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Well, there you have it. If you've got a great idea that you want to share with us, share away! Who might be gracing the pages of Seasoned Cooking too!