The Key to Good Cake

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Phil Irwin credits his mother, his wife and Geraldine McFalls – the mother of his brother-in-law – as the three best cooks he knows.

From his childhood, the Knox County resident remembers his mom’s fried chicken, meatloaf and plenty of casseroles. Irwin raves about wife Dawn’s barbecue meatloaf (cooked on the grill), biscuits and gravy, chicken enchiladas, and a lasagna that “is probably as good as any I’ve ever had in a restaurant.”

He says the lasagna is time-consuming but worth it – a creamy, rich stack with sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar, mozzarella and cottage cheese. But Irwin is quick to add that they don’t make their own pasta.

“We are not that fancy,” he says.

Irwin, a regional manager for Tennessee Farm Bureau Insurance in Knoxville, isn’t shy in the kitchen himself. He whips up a range of casseroles and grilled meats, but doesn’t cook as often as he used to.

He and Dawn do take time to watch their favorite cooking shows, “Emeril” and “Paula’s Home Cooking” with chef and restaurateur Paula Deen.

During a recent beach trip to Savannah, Ga., Dawn and their daughter treated themselves to a meal at Deen’s restaurant, The Lady & Sons. They loved it – especially the desserts.

Irwin himself professes to not be a lover of sweets but makes an exception for a bundt cake recipe he got from Geraldine McFalls.

“She made it one day, and I had to have it,” he says.

So does everyone who has tasted the cake at the Irwins’ home during special occasions or summer picnics.

The Key Lime Cake is a big hit, and Irwin says his wife adds a dusting of powdered sugar once the glaze has dried as an extra touch.

“Everybody loves it,” he says. “It’s not as tart as key lime pie, and it is one of those cakes that on the second and third days gets even better.”

Hungry for more Country Classic recipes?

Each issue of Tennessee Home & Farm highlights a selected recipe from Country Classics Volume II. Copies of the cookbook are available for $17 each, including shipping and handling, from county Farm Bureau offices, or by calling the Tennessee Farm Bureau home office at 931-388-7872, ext. 2217.

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