Santa’s voice scary thing in quiet home
Peggy Cooke
I was scared out of my wits (I do have wits some days) by Santa Claus yesterday. No, not the real Santa, but one of the voice-activated ones all over the house. The kids were playing with them last weekend and one of them was still turned on. I was home by myself and I walked by one and he started belting out, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and I jumped out of my skin. I hope my loud scream didn’t make the real one mad ‘cause we’re expecting him to visit on Christmas Eve night!


Just about every other person attending the Hospital Auxiliary Christmas Luncheon asked me to find out who made the cake and get the recipe. I tracked it down to Eric Wuthrich, auxiliary president, who made the cake. Turns out it’s our old favorite—chocolate sheet cake—but with a surprise spice. Most tasty and there was a lot of ooohing and aahing all over fellowship hall.

Texas Sheet Cake with a Twist 2 cups flour 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper* 1 cup butter 1 cup water 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 2 eggs 1/2 cup buttermilk** 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Grease a 15x10-1 inch jelly roll pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cayenne pepper and salt; set aside. In medium saucepan combine butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Mix the chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat well and pour into prepared pan. (Batter will be thin.) Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting 1/4 cup butter 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 3 tablespoons buttermilk 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In medium saucepan, combine butter, unsweetened cocoa and buttermilk. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add sifted powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour over warm cake. Let cool. Serves 24.

*Add more or less pepper, to taste. **If you don’t have buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1 cup milk.

Eric also added a cherry on top and it was very festive as well as good! Try it and see if you don’t get requests for the recipe too.


I forgot to mention our newest traditional dish. Deb Martin, our newest family member, brought three packages of peppermint oreos to our last gathering of the clan. It was as if a swarm of locusts had hit—they disappeared in seconds! And it wasn’t as if we hadn’t been eating for an hour or two already. She’s bringing more for Christmas so if you hear locusts swarming, it’s just the Cooke and Martins.

And, just like when Scrooge learned how to keep Christmas well, may it be said of all of us, “God bless Us, Every One!”

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2010-12-16 digital edition

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