Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Hot Milk Cake and Strawberry Caramel Sauce

Hot Milk Cake and Strawberry Caramel Sauce

Leaf through the pages of any old Southern community cookbook, and you are likely to come across a version of this cake.  And it might not draw your eye, being so plain and simple.  I am sure I flipped past many times before I actually stopped to read one.  But once I get intrigued, I search these recipes out and combine, refine and test them until I have an updated version with more accurate instructions.  And I am glad I didn’t let this one languish, because it is now a go to summer cake.  It is immensely simple to make – no heavy equipment needed.  And its simplicity makes it the perfect vehicle for all manner of summer toppings.  Any sliced fresh fruit or berry, maybe sugared to produce a little syrup.  Add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream and you’ve got a fresh, homemade beauty of a dessert.

I planned this post to highlight the cake, and how useful it is.  But I wanted to try something a little more interesting than just fruit so I stumbled around in the kitchen until I came up with the sauce.  I know it is tooting my own horn, but it is a stunner.  Rich, sticky caramel sauce with this amazing background note of strawberry and the added bonus of chunks of fresh berries.  It is magnificent with the cake, but try it over ice cream, or, as I admit to doing, simply with a spoon.

Hot Milk Cake and Strawberry Caramel Sauce

I use a plain tube pan, often called a coffee cake pan, but a fluted or fancy one works just fine.  You could also make it in a 9 by 13 inch pan.

Hot Milk Cake

1 cup whole milk

½ cup (1 stick) butter

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease a 10-cup tube pan thoroughly.

Combine the milk and butter in a medium saucepan and heat over medium just until the butter is melted and the milk is hot.  While the milk is heating, beat the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl, then stir in the remaining ingredients.  Pour in the hot milk and stir until completely combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden and firm and tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.  The cake will keep, well wrapped, for several days.

Serves 10


Strawberry Caramel Sauce

1 cup of diced strawberries

1 ½ cups granulated sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons

¾ cup heavy cream

Place the diced strawberries in a bowl and toss with 2 Tablespoons sugar.  Leave to sit for several hours until the strawberries have released quite a bit of juice.

Pour the juice off the berries into a measuring jug and add enough water to make 1/3 cup of liquid. Stir the liquid and 1 ½ cups sugar together in a medium sized saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved.  Up the heat to high and boil the mixture until it turns a lovely caramel brown, the color of sweet tea, about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently.  Watch it like a hawk because it goes from caramel to burnt quickly at the end.  Stand back a bit and pour in the cream.  It will roil and bubble furiously and seize up a little.  Just stir it until it all smooths out and combines, then turn the burner off and stir until it settles down. Let it cool for about 3 minutes, then stir in the diced strawberries. Cool to room temperature.

The sauce will keep covered in the fridge for up to three days.  Delicious warm or cold.

Makes about 1 ½ cups

3 comments to Hot Milk Cake and Strawberry Caramel Sauce

  • What a lovely recipe! Cake looks so soft! And the caramel sauce especially tempting because of the strawberries 🙂

  • […] So this is my synthesis of the recipes I found. I have not called them quiejadas so as not to offend any traditionalists, though they taste remarkably like the little tarts we ate on the train from Sintra back to Lisbon.  Chewy on the outside, custardy in the middle, these could not be a simpler dessert to make.  I love them plain, but they do lend themselves to a little spoonful of sugared berries or a drizzle of dulce de leche, or a nice dose of Strawberry Caramel Sauce. […]

  • Dee Anne

    I made three batches of the sauce and jarred it for gifts (teacher, crossing guard, carpool, etc) and I have received rave reviews from everyone I shared it with. Thanks for the great idea, Spoon! Three recipes filled none jelly jars

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