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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Indulge in a Sock-It-to-Me Cake to Elevate Your Summer Celebrations

How do you see the phrase “Sock it to me?” That song by Aretha Franklin called “Respect?” The “Laugh-In” appearance of Richard Nixon? Or about a soft and fluffy yellow Bundt cake filled with brown sugar and pecans and topped with a beautiful vanilla glaze?

The cake is a timeless classic that I’ve been making since I saw the recipe on the back of a cake-mix box in the 1970s. For dessert during her Juneteenth celebration, Millie Peartree bakes us a handmade sock-it-to-me cake. You can expect to be asked to sock this to people all summer long, so save this recipe now.

Sticky, savoury, caramelised baked chicken with hibiscus barbecue sauce that singes at the edges in the oven is also on Millie’s beautiful menu, perfect for any summer party. Red hibiscus beverages are a staple of Juneteenth celebrations, and this sauce’s colour is an homage to that heritage. The beverages’ bright colour represents fortitude and the struggle that was required to achieve independence.

Millie serves the chicken with a tangy-sweet chow chow in which watermelon replaces the traditional summer veggies, and hush puppies cooked with a buttermilk cornmeal batter.

Not only is Millie’s chow chow delicious, but it also has another fascinating feature. She gives it a rich, almost spicy tartness by seasoning it with jalapeo and a fast hibiscus simple syrup. The syrup recipe yields more than you’ll need, so use the leftovers in cocktails, seltzer, or to drizzle over fruit. It paints a more optimistic picture.

Here’s an extra dessert dish idea in honour of Juneteenth’s spirit of plenty: Strawberry slab pie made by Nicole Taylor. This summertime favourite has a filling boosted with fresh ginger and a crust sprinkled with cracked pepper. I’d add a dollop of ice cream to make it a little sweeter. Or, for an extra zing, pair it with the Bundt cake!

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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