The Southern Cake Book

With Labor Day behind us and fall ahead of us my mind is thinking about fall fashions, maybe a new pair of fall boots (hum, cowboy and something high-style with a kick-ass heel?), fall dinners at home, college football, holiday celebrations and all my friends and family that have fall birthdays. So one of the newest cookbooks The Southern Cake Book by our friends at Southern Living gets my approval at the most perfect time.

The Southern Cake Book

The Southern Cake Book features over 150 recipes for every type of cake from sheet cakes and cupcakes to decadent cheesecakes and the even more elaborate layer cakes that would make any Southerner proud to prepare. Now you might remember that I grew up around some of the best Southern cooks so while I thumbed through this cookbook I felt like I was going down memory lane. As I turned each page I’m looking for my favorites and they are all there: the classic Southern Pound Cake from Heaven; the quintessential Celebration Hummingbird Cake brimming with bananas, pineapple, and pecans, first printed in Southern Living in 1978 and still its most-requested recipe of all time; Mama Dip’s Carrot Cake from North Carolina’s own Mildred “Mama Dip” Council; the Peanut-Cola Cake — we Southerners just call it “Coke-Cola” cake (that’s versus the correct way of pronouncing it as Coca-Cola cake) but I’m sure the publishers didn’t want any trouble with copyright infringement — along with the tangy Lemon Coconut Cake, Key Lime Icebox Cake and a rich three-layer Birthday Cake frosted with luscious milk chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

Southern Living The Southern Cake Book, published by Oxmoor House and edited by Allison E. Cox. S.R.P. $22.95 makes it a must for any Southern kitchen but also the perfect hostess and holiday gift. Consider wrapping the cookbook with a beautiful antique silver cake server for a uniquely special gift.

P.S. And in case you didn’t know (Duh), Coca-Cola and Coke are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company.

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Basil Squeeze

This recipe for a Basil Squeeze made with Covington Sweet Potato Vodka and St.-Germain Elderflower Liqueur was created by Anna Honeycutt, the Bull Durham Bar manager, at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham, N.C., but I also asked her to provide me with the just-as-refreshing nonalcoholic version. I’ve prepared the nonalcoholic version many times this summer for my husband Tim, friends, family and myself. It’s the perfect summer drink to beat the August heat. 

Basil Squeeze

Basil Squeeze (with alcohol)

1 ½ oz. Covington Sweet Potato Vodka

¾ oz. St.-Germain Elderflower Liqueur

3 basil leaves

Lemon wedge

1 oz. lemon juice

2 oz. club soda or San Pellegrino

Muddle lemon wedge and two basil leaves in a Collins glass with vodka and St. Germain. Add lemon juice, fill with ice and shake. Top with more ice (if necessary, based on glass size) and club soda or San Pellegrino. Garnish with a basil leaf, lemon wedge and straw. Enjoy.

Basil Squeeze (nonalcoholic)

3 basil leaves

Lemon wedge

3 oz. lemon juice

1.5 oz. agave (or simple syrup)

2 oz. club soda or San Pellegrino

Muddle lemon wedge and two basil leaves in a Collins glass. Add lemon juice and agave then fill with ice and shake. Top with more ice (if necessary, based on glass size) and club soda or San Pellegrino. Garnish with a basil leaf, lemon wedge and straw. Enjoy.


Uber Atlanta has teamed up with Midtown ATL so that one lucky winner can experience Midtown Atlanta like never before, it’s the ultimate escape right here in Atlanta. From a Champagne toast on the top of Midtown’s tallest building to private cocktail and culinary lessons at one of Atlanta’s favorite restaurants to entertainment at the High Art Museum and Fox Theatre. Enter to win a 48-hour luxury staycation in Midtown from August 23 – 24. 



1.   Download the Uber app

2.   Enter code MIDTOWNATL in the promotions field of the app

3.   Sign up a friend using your personal referral code

4.   Tell your friends about their chance to win!

The Atlanta Uber Luxury Staycation includes:  

Hotel & Transportation

  • Your own dedicated UberSUV to and from Midtown
  • Two-night stay in the ultra-executive style suite at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel

Food & Drink

  • Champagne + oyster party on the patio for 18 of your closest friends at Lure
  • $250 credits at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
  • Mixology class for up to six friends at Rooftop 886
  • Private skybar cabana to relax with you and your closest friends at Shout
  • Coffee lover’s dream suitcase filled with top-of-the line goodies from Bartdorf & Bronson
  • Chef’s favorite cocktail lessons + bubbly at The Spence

Entertainment & More

  • VIP look at the High Museum of Art Dreams & Cars exhibit + autographed memorabilia and free membership package
  • Special welcome packet from Yes Ma’am Paper Goods
  • The perfect excuse to return to Midtown, two tickets to see the Broadway play Mama Mia at the Fox Theatre

The winner will be chosen by 5 p.m. (Eastern time) on Friday, August 15 and announced via email. You must be at least 21 years of age to enter. Check out the complete rules here.

Ride_RequestUber is the app that offers you a private driver when you need one. Request a ride using the app and get picked up within minutes. Its one-demand service means no reservations required and no waiting in taxi lines. Compare rates for different vehicle types and get fair quotes. Download the app using PayPal or a credit card to secure your account so you never need cash on hand and the tips included. Easily set up your pickup location, even if you don’t know the exact address. Get connected to your personal driver type (even seeing their photo, type of vehicle and license plate number) and check the progress of your Uber at any time. Then get an email receipt when you arrive to your destination.



The Hundred-Foot Journey

100FootJourney539b2906cfd77We were invited and attended a VIP screening of DreamWork’s newest film “The Hundred-Foot Journey” in Atlanta on Wednesday night, directed by Academy Award®-nominee Lasse Hallström (who also directed “Chocolat”), and is the second much-anticipated film produced by Academy Award-winner Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-nominee Oprah Winfrey since “The Color Purple,” and Juliet Blake. Based on the first novel The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morai. It will be released in theaters on Friday, August 8, 2041. Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the quaint village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France when fate or actually the loss of their car brakes land them in this charming place that’s both picturesque and elegant–the ideal place to settle down and open an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai. That is, until the chilly chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren) gets wind of it. Her icy protests against the new Indian restaurant a hundred feet from her own escalate turns into a heated battle between the two establishments until Hassan’s passion for French-haute cuisine—and for Madame Mallory’s enchanting sous-chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon in her film debut)—combine with his mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Madame Mallory cannot ignore. At first Madame Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s gift as a chef and takes him under her wing.


Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren plays Madame Mallory, the chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred, classical French restaurant in the south of France.

What was so wonderful about seeing this film at our VIP screening in Atlanta is that our VIP audience was mostly of Indian decent. This made it extra special since they really understood, of course, the Indian language used in the film (because they laughed when us American’s didn’t understand what “Papa” spoke in his native tongue) and they also seem to appreciated the Indian food presented on screen. It was a wonderful cultural experience from Atlanta to India to the countryside of France to Paris and back.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” will be another one of my favorite films added to my foodie film collection. Also, “Chef” recently made the list. It’s a wonderfully creative with a fabulous cinematic food presentation whose film was written, directed and stars lead actor Jon Favreau. It’s another must see. It’s an independent film so it’s in limited theaters but it’s still playing at Tara Cinemas in Atlanta. Check for locations in your area.

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” will be released in theaters on Friday, August 8, 2014. For more information and to watch the movie trailer, visit:


This was one of my favorite images from the film. Helen Mirren’s character Madame Mallory is said that she can tell with one bite of an omelet if a chef has the stuff. In this scene, I thought the selection of her simpler French country dress and lack of make-up vs. her glamorous appearance throughout the film made her venerable to Manish Dayal’s culinary charms. It was masterfully presented. Her body language apparent to the audience but not the chef clues you into what she was thinking.

All photos copyrighted and used with permission from Walt Disney Pictures



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With a Southern Twist is all about good living in today's South. A true Southerner, the author's passions include food, home design, travel, restaurants, shopping, and entertaining. It is a fun blog about one of her most beloved regions of the country, shared through personal experiences.