Starlight Cakes

This recipe is from my friend Patty Davis Grigsby’s mother, Virginia Davis.  She made these beautiful, delicious cakes every Christmas.


3/4 cup shortening
1  1/2 cups sugar
1  1/2 tsp vanilla
2  1/4  cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
5 egg whites

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Cream shortening and sugar.  Beat in vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Beat for 2 minutes after the last addition.
  5. Beat egg whites until stiff.  Fold into batter.
  6. Pour into a well-greased and floured 9×12 pan or in 2 1/2 to 3 inch individual cake molds.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until center springs back when touched.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.

6 cups powdered sugar
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

  1. Add milk to powdered sugar until icing is a pouring consistency.
  2. Add vanilla and salt.
  3. Spoon over cakes until well coated.
  4. Decorate with silver metallic candy balls (dragées).
  • Virginia had cute star-shaped molds that she used for these cakes, making them especially beautiful.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted by my mother, Sherry Salvage ReVeal Bradley, from Nestle’s Toll House

2 cups shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp water, as needed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 375.
  2. Combine shortening, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Add water if mixture is dry.
  4. Stir in walnuts & chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges and still soft in the center.
  7. Makes 4-5 dozen 3 inch cookies.
  • Cook one batch – if the cookies do not spread out, you need to add more water. Add a few teaspoons at a time.
  • We used to use semisweet chocolate chips, but recently we switched to Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips which are slightly darker than semisweet.

Amish Friendship Bread

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
5 oz pkg instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Lightly grease 2 large loaf pans. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  3. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pudding mix.  Make a well in the center.
  4. Add Amish Friendship Bread Starter, oil, milk, eggs and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Stir in nuts.
  6. Pour batter into pans.
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour.


  • Lower fat: substitute ½ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce for 1 cup oil.
  • Apple Cinnamon: add 2 apples. peeled, cored and finely chopped when you add the nuts.
  • Banana Nut: reduce cinnamon to 1/2 tsp and add 3 large ripe bananas, mashed.
  • Chocolate: substitute chocolate pudding mix and “flour” the pans with cocoa – omit cinnamon or leave it in for a Mexican chocolate flavor, omit nuts if desired.
  • Lemon Poppy Seed: substitute lemon pudding mix, reduce cinnamon to 1/2 tsp, omit nuts and add 2 Tbsp poppy seeds.
  • Muffins: pour into greased muffin tins and reduce the baking time to 23-25 minutes.
  • Pistachio: substitute pistachio pudding mix and pistachios.
  • Raisin or Date: add 1 cup raisins or dates.

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

This recipe was passed along to me years ago by a friend at work. I have also been given a new starter by my daughter, Marissa Davis Hefner, after mine expired in the refrigerator from neglect.

This is a sourdough starter and can be used for other sourdough recipes also.

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk

Mix flour & sugar. Stir in milk. Pour into a gallon zipper bag several times.

Growing the Starter

Do not refrigerate. When air gets in the bag, let it out – this will also allow new yeast spores to get in. It is normal for the batter to thicken, bubble and ferment – this is what we want it to do.

Day 2 – Squeeze the bag several times.
Day 3 – Squeeze the bag several times.
Day 4 – Squeeze the bag several times.
Day 5 – Squeeze the bag several times.
Day 6 – Feed the starter: add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Squeeze the bag several times to combine.
Day 7 – Squeeze the bag several times.
Day 8 – Squeeze the bag several times.
Day 9 – Squeeze the bag several times.
Day 10 – Pour the batter into a large non-metal bowl. Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.

  1. Pour 1 cup starter each into 4 gallon zipper bags. Keep one for yourself and give three starters with instructions to friends.
  2. Use the remaining batter to make Amish Friendship Bread.
  • For a successful fermentation process, the starter should not come in contact with any metal (spoons, bowls, etc.)
  • After fermenting for 10 days, you can freeze this starter for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.

Mocha Silk Pie

adapted from The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond

My daughter, Marissa Davis Hefner, found this recipe for us & my daughter, Alycia Davis has modified it slightly.


1 cup pecans, toasted & finely chopped
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 oz semisweet chocolate, grated
2 Tbsp Kahlua


1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp instant espresso powder
1 Tbsp Kahlua
3 oz semisweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs


  1. Crust: combine pecans, brown sugar, and chocolate. Stir with a fork, then drizzle in Kahlua, stirring until combined. Press mixture into a pie pan, bringing it up the sides a bit. Do not bake. Set aside or refrigerate until needed.
  2. In small microwave safe bowl, melt 3 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate until stirable (about 45 seconds on high). Set aside to cool.
  3. Beat butter, sugar, instant coffee, and Kahlua until fluffy, about 1 ½ minutes. When melted chocolate is cooled, drizzle it into the butter/sugar mixture as it beats on medium speed. Add vanilla. Beat the mixture thoroughly until combined, scraping the sides if necessary.
  4. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating about 5 minutes after each egg.The sugar should be completely dissolved – no granules left.
  5. Pour filling into the pie crust.
  6. Smooth out the pie filling and place pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours (preferably longer).
  7. Serve with whipped cream and more grated chocolate.
For a nuttier flavor, we decided to toast the pecans. For a stronger mocha flavor, we increased the instant coffee granules (and changed to espresso powder) and Kahlua in the filling.