A Family Collection of

This section include a Collection of Soul-Food-Recipes of the past with short stories and wonderful memories.

I personally wanted to share this section with you of Family recipes from our treasured collection. This is my favorite part of this soul food journey. I had to include a special button on this website just for these recipes. I love talking about old recipes, especially Soul-Food-Recipes, and thinking about family and good times and the wonderful meals we‘re shared over the years.

This section include recipes that were mainly used in the early years, by my family's first generation of Southern cooks. These wonderful recipes are my family’s treasure and a keepsake collection.

Remember in the Brief History of Soul food, how the African American slaves verbally exchanged recipes with each other. Well, in later years, the instructions for those recipes were translated in a more readable form--which are included below.

You know back then, you really had to know how to cook to even tackle some of the dishes that our ancestors made. And since the History of Soul Food was not recorded in history books when I was growing up for all to enjoy, the stories were shared by generations of family members and by people like myself who grew up around soul food--and wonderful story tellers.

I remember my grandmother telling me stories about her cooking experiences, and my mother remembered her mother telling her stories about her cooking experiences. AND these stories were not lost, but were passed down to other generations. So, you see, the History of Soul Food and Soul-Food-Recipes did exist.

Read each of these wonderful stories and enjoy them as my family have for many generations. Now I understand what my grandmother meant when she used to lift her hands to the sky and say, “I wouldn’t take nothin’ for my journey”.

A Collection of Soul-Food-Recipes from 3 Generations of Southern Cooks


Hummingbird Cake - Recipe Story
A few Southerners say that the Hummingbird cake got its name by people simply humming when they ate this cake. Through an investigation of the ingredients used in the cake, it is suggested that this dessert was developed in the 20th century.

The Hummingbird Cake is one of my family’s favorite desserts. My grandmother used to make this cake on Sundays. She said they would enjoy it after dinner late in the evening. She often had the minister over for Sunday dinner and when she got ready to serve the cake, they would start humming church hymns as they began eating it. This cake holds wonderful memories of the past.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups canola oil
3 eggs
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups mashed bananas
1 cup chopped nuts

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 pound butter, softened
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 - 9 inch round cake pans. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oil, eggs, pineapple, bananas and nuts. Add flour mixture, and mix together by hand.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on racks.

Prepare the frosting by blending together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Evenly spread frosting on middle, sides and top of cake.


Grandma's Old-fashioned Pound Cake - Recipe Story
The pound cake, most known as a rich cake, originally contained a pound of each of the main ingredients, including flour, sugar, and butter. That’s where the pound cake get its name.

When I was a young girl, my grandmother didn't have a mixer, so I to used count with her--as she beat this cake 300 strokes by hand before baking. She baked it sometimes during the week and serve it after we finished our meal.

1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
6 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour, shifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup evaporated milk

Heat oven 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Beat butter in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, creaming well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and rind.

Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; then add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir well after each addition. Pour into greased and floured pan.

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 60 to 70 minutes, depending on oven. Cool 20 minutes, remove from pan. Yield: 1 Cake.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Recipe Story
Food historians believe that pineapple upside-down cake has been around since the late 1800s. Some say the first ones were call "skillet cakes" because they were often cooked in a skillet on top of the stove instead of in the oven. Back then, the traditional method for heating was by wood or coal which could be very unreliable.

My mother, Mamie, and sister Debra Simmons from Gates, Tennessee, always made pineapple upside down cake in a skillet. Today, my sister still bake her pineapple upside-down cake in a skillet. But the only difference is she bakes it in the oven. She often say that baking this particular cake in a skillet makes the best cake. I have to agree with her.

4 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, light
1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple
10 maraschino cherries, halved
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a 10 inch heavy iron skillet, melt 1/2 cup butter over very low heat. Remove from heat, and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter.

Arrange pineapple slices to cover brown sugar mixture. Place cherries inside pineapple; set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Separate the eggs into two bowls. In a large bowl, beat egg whites just until soft peaks form. Add granulated white sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Beat until stiff peaks form.

In a small bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and yellow. With a wire whisk or rubber scraper, using an over-and-under motion, gently fold egg yolks and flour mixture into whites until blended. Fold in 1 tablespoon melted butter or margarine and almond extract. Spread batter evenly over pineapple in skillet.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Loosen the edges of the cake with table knife. Cool the cake for 10 minutes before inverting onto serving plate.


Egg Custard Pie - Recipe Story
My mother made this pie quite often for our family especially during holidays . It was my father's favorite pie. She had to bake at least two pies for everyone to get a piece. It disappeared that fast. My father once told me that his mother made this pie on Sundays and holidays when he was growing up. Some things just never change.

1 (9-inch) deep pie crust
4 slightly beaten eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. lemon extract
2 1/2 c. scalded milk
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

Chill pie shell while making filling. Blend eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and lemon extract. Gradually stir in scalded milk. Stir in nutmeg. Pour into chilled unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Pie is done when knife inserted halfway between outside and center of custard comes out clean.


Southern Pecan Pie - Recipe Story
When I was a teenager, I inherited this recipe from Maude Jenkins from Ripley, Tennessee. After high school I worked during the summer at a the senior citizen complex where Ms. Jenkins visited everyday.

The Center was having their annual bake sale and I was invited to attend. I was unsure if I should attend at first, after all I was only 17 years old. Well I decided to attend and boy am I glad I did. Ms. Jenkins insisted that I take a piece of her Southern Pecan Pie. It was the best pecan pie I ever tasted.

Ms. Jenkins' mother gave her this recipe after she got married. This recipe is over 100 years old and it’s not too sweet. When I make this pie, my husband can’t stop eating it. If you love pecan pie, you’re love this recipe.

1 cup sugar
½ cup dark Karo syrup
3 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup butter, melted
1 cup pecan halves
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar and Karo syrup. Add eggs, one at a time; add butter. Blend well. Add pecans halves. Mix well. Pour into pie crust and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool before cutting.


Deb's Lemon Chess Pie - Recipe Story
This recipe has been in my family for more than 100 years. This is my sister's favorite dessert. She made it often for her family and it was especially popular during the holidays. I remember when my sister baked this pie, with the lemon flavor, you could smell it all the way up the street.

1 1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 stick margarine, melted
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon corn meal, self-raising
1 teaspoon lemon flavor
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

In a large bowl, mix together, sugar and margarine until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time beating after each one, vinegar, corn meal, and lemon flavor. Mix well. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until firm in the middle. Yield: 6-8 servings.


Red Velvet Cake - Recipe Story
This cake has been in our family for many years. It’s a good choice to serve for special occasions. I made this recipe for two of my cousin’s graduation parties, and my niece’s baby shower.

One year, my sister Debra and I were celebrating her wedding anniversary and my birthday. I made this cake and our guests just love it. It was a nice change from the traditional birthday cake. Try it for your next celebration.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 ounce bottle red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
½ cup sugar

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Cream oil and 1 ½ cups sugar. Add eggs one at a time; beat well after each. Add food coloring; mix until well blended. Combine buttermilk and soda. Mix well; add to oil-sugar mixture alternately with dry ingredients. Add vinegar and vanilla. Mix well.

Spoon into 2 greased 9-inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Combine milk and remaining sugar in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Spoon evenly on each layer. Cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, margarine and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Gradually add sugar while beating. Mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread over cooled cake layers. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.


Country Banana Pudding - Recipe Story
This is my favorite old-fashioned banana pudding. My mother made this recipe many years ago the traditional way using a double-broiler. She called it her Country Banana Pudding. It’s takes a little more time to make, but it’s well worth it. It’s not a rich recipe, just plain good. It has brought many smiles to many faces.

The custard for this pudding can be made 3 to 4 days in advance and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. A few days later, put together the rest of the pudding the day of serving. This pudding was also very popular with my catering customers.

1 large can evaporated milk (15 oz)
1 1/2 cups regular milk
4 egg yolks (reserve whites for topping)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 medium ripe bananas
1 (11-oz) package Vanilla Wafers

Heat evaporated and regular milk in double boiler over high heat. Let milk get hot, but not boiling. In a separate mixing bowl, separate the egg yolks from the whites. Slightly beat egg yolks.

Pour slowly hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Mix well. Add sugar and continue to stir. Return milk mixture to double boiler, stirring occasionally for about 20 to 30 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat then add vanilla. Stir then let cool. Mixture will thicken more when cooled.

Line the bottom of a 9 X 13 casserole with vanilla wafers. Slice bananas on top of wafers alternating with wafers and bananas until you have 2 layers. Pour pudding mixture over bananas and wafers. Top with Meringue. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

4 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a clean bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until peaks began to form, but not dry. Add sugar gradually. When it peaks, spread it on top of pudding and place in the oven on boil to slightly brown.

Note: If you prefer not to use the egg whites, you can crumble vanilla wafers on top or place whole wafers around the top of the pudding. It's still delicious!


Old-fashioned Chocolate Cake - Recipe Story
My mother-in-law use to make this wonderful chocolate cake for her family. When my husband and I were dating, I used to visit her when she prepared this cake. She loved to bake and it certainly shown when she made this cake. The cream cheese chocolate frosting just makes this delicious cake even better.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups hot brewed coffee
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add hot coffee, oil and vanilla, mix until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Frost with Chocolate Frosting.

4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons evaporated milk

Ingredients must be room temperature. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave oven. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Pour melted chocolate into cream cheese and mix on medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla, and salt. Slowly mix in the confectioners sugar.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and increase mixer speed to medium-high. Slowly add evaporated milk until the frosting is spreading consistency.


Orange Sweet Potato Pie - Recipe Story
This pie was also a favorite in our house. My mother made it quite often and the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg was apparent throughout our house. I have eaten many sweet potato pies, but this one is truly the very best I've ever had. Make sure you don’t leave out the grated orange peel. It makes the pie deliciously different. Try it!

3 small to medium sweet potatoes
3 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter or margarine, softened
1 cup of evaporated milk
1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of finely grated orange peel (don't leave out)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean and rinse sweet potatoes. Place into deep cooking pot and boil until tender. Drain and remove skin. OR you could bake potatoes in oven until folk tender. Place mashed potatoes in large mixing bowl. Add eggs and butter. Blend for 2 minutes with electric mixer. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and milk. Continue beating then add cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, and vanilla. Blend well.

Prick bottom and sides of thawed crust with fork; sprinkle lightly with 1 teaspoon sugar. Place pie crust in over for 5 minutes or until crust rises or is lightly browned, let cool. Pour pie mixture into pie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate. Yield: 12 to 14 servings for 2 pies.


Elnora’s Sweet Milk & Jelly Cake -Recipe Story
This cake was first introduced to our family many years ago by our good friend and neighbor, Elnora Bell from Halls, Tennessee. I remember this cake so well as she prepared it on many occasions. Elnora was the type of person to just bake whenever she felt like it. It really didn’t have to be for anything special.

Elnora is no longer with us, but her daughter and good friend of mine, Carolyn Conley from Ripley, Tennessee gave me this recipe to include in this section. The next time you want to create memories, bake this cake. It's a delightful change and a special addition to traditional soul-food desserts. Thank you Carolyn!

1 cup margarine, softened
2 cups white sugar
5 eggs
3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
2 cups strawberry jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and margarine together. Add flour a little at a time. Beat. Add milk and beat with mixer. Add flavorings. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour or until the center springs back when pressed lightly. Spread strawberry jelly over the cake while it's warm.


Old-fashioned Peach Cobbler - Recipe Story
I was a teenager when I first made this cobbler. My grandmother grew peaches in the backyard and I remember baking this cobbler for the first time. It turned out pretty good for my first one, and I have been making it ever since. This cobbler was my most popular dessert on my catering and restaurant menus. I still receive many requests to make this cobbler for family and friends.

4 cups fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium pot, cook peaches, water, sugar, margarine, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg until tender but not mushy. Set aside.

Pastry for Peach Cobbler
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold water

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add cold water, stirring, just until the dough holds its shape. Roll out on a floured board and cut into strips. Work with clean hands to form dough into a ball. Chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out half of dough and cut into stripes about ½ inch thickness. Pour half of peaches in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Top peaches with about 6 to 8 pastry stripes spreading about 2 inches apart. Bake until stripes are lightly brown and flaky. Pour remaining peaches over stripes then weave stripes into a lattice over peaches. Sprinkle with topping.

Topping for Peach Cobbler
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine, soften

Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Sprinkle on top of cobbler. Speckle top with margarine about 2 to 4 inches apart. Return to oven and bake until top crust is golden brown.



For great meal combinations to go along with these family desserts, please visit our Soul Food Meals Center. (see below). Make your favorite meal today.

End of Family Soul-Food-Recipes - Click Here for Meals
End of Family Soul-Food-Recipes - Click Here for Cooking and Baking Tips