Monthly Archives: September 2015

Hot Where You Are? Try a Boston Cooler

Avid fans of my first book, the 1993 oral history, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 YearsBoston cooler, may recall that the centenarian Delany Sisters’ favorite beverage treat was something called a “Boston cooler.”

What is a Boston Cooler, you ask?

It’s an ice cream soda similar to a root-beer float, except it’s made with ginger ale and vanilla ice cream.

Boston Coolers were all the rage in the Victorian era when the Delany Sisters were young, and they still prepared the refreshing treat when they were both past 100 years of age when I met them in 1991. In fact, whenever we had something to celebrate – a birthday, the publication of our book, the day the book became a New York Times bestseller – the sisters and I would have a slice of Sadie’s pound cake (which she made each week, in case company
stopped by), accompanied by Boston coolers prepared by Bessie.

It takes only minutes to make a Boston Cooler – just fill a tall glass two-thirds of the way with ginger ale and add a large scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can eat it with a spoon, or wait until the ice cream dissolves and use a straw.

I associate Boston Coolers so closely with ladies of the Delany Sisters’ era that when Mrs. Bailey White, one of the characters in my new novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, serves a beverage to the other characters, I chose – what else? – Boston Coolers.

I know the Delany Sisters would have approved!

Had you ever heard of a Boston Cooler? Do you have a similar ice cream and soft drink treat that you like to make, or that you enjoyed as a child?

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Celebrating a Book Launch with a Special Cake Recipe!

Died and Gone to Heaven Cake

When you’re writing a book, the publication date seems so far in the future.And then, suddenly, it’s here.

Today is publication day for my new novel, Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County, which I started writing 730 days (or two years) ago.

I’m relieved, ecstatic, and a little scared. Even though this is my ninth book (seven nonfiction, two novels), it’s still an emotional experience to “let go” of the book, sending it out into the world.

Good luck, little book! May you find friends wherever you go.

Okay, enough with the sentimentality. Time to have fun. Time to celebrate.

For the last few weeks I’ve been sharing recipes of food (especially desserts) that are mentioned in the book. Today I’m sharing my favorite, a cake that is to-die-for! This is a sophisticated cake, not overly sweet, and featuring cherry liqueur. The cake, popular in the 1960s in Florida, is being made (in the novel) by Mrs. Bailey White, an eccentric older lady who is one of the members of the Collier County Women’s Literary Society. Mrs. Bailey White has a scandalous past which includes a murder and a jail sentence. At heart, however, she is still a refined Southern lady.

My husband, a native of Collier County, helped me recreate this old recipe as he remembers it.

Collier County Chocolate-Covered-Cherry Cake (also known as Mrs. Bailey White’s Died and Gone to Heaven Cake)

Cake ingredients and instructions presented separately from frosting.

175 grams high-quality dark chocolate
One-third cup cherry liqueur
6 Tablespoons very strong coffee ( or espresso, if available)
One-half cup of sugar (Ideally, this should be finely-ground sugar called caster sugar. Or, you can put regular sugar through a coffee grinder, if possible.)
3 eggs, separated
One-half cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
One-third cup almond meal
One-third cup all-purpose flour, sifted.
15 ounces (or approximately two and a half cups) pitted black cherries, drained (Save juice!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 inch spring-form cake pan.
Melt and cool butter. Set aside.
Sift flour. Set aside.
Put aside 1 Tablespoon of sugar.
Separate 3 eggs. Set aside.
Melt chocolate, cherry liqueur and strong coffee in a double-boiler. There should be about two inches of water in the saucepan, simmering. Set aside. (Must cool.)
In a mixing bowl, place sugar (except for the one tablespoon set aside, as instructed above) and three egg yolks. Using electric mixer, beat until thoroughly combined. Add cooled melted butter. Combine by hand. Add almond meal. Using electric mixer, beat until thoroughly combined. Add chocolate/cherry liqueur/strong coffee mixture. Combine by hand.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Add 1 Tablespoon of sugar (previously set aside for this purpose) and combine thoroughly. Fold egg whites, alternating with flour, into the cake mixture.
Add half of the drained black cherries.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes or until center is completely baked. (Test with toothpick.) Cool on wire rack.

100 grams of dark chocolate
One-quarter cup cherry juice (set aside from making cake)
One-third cup cherry liqueur
One-half cup unsalted butter, cut into small squares

Place chocolate, cherry liqueur, and cherry juice in a double-boiler filled with about two inches of water that is simmering. Slowly add butter, mixing gently. Remove from heat. Keep beating by hand until cool. Set aside. (Best to wait at least two hours before frosting the cake. Both frosting and cake should be room temperature.)
Frost the cake and add cherries to decorate. Serve at room temperature.

Special instructions: Eat while reading Miss Dreamsville and the Lost Heiress of Collier County!

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Filed under Announcement, Recipe, Simon & Schuster

Goodreads Giveaway! Win one of 5 copies of my new novel

Simon & Schuster is sponsoring a giveaway of my new novel on Goodreads! Enter to win one of five copies of my new novel. Here’s the link:

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