Hummingbird Cake? Yes, please!

I like to think I inherited many of my characteristics and genes from my grandmother (Abuela), but I am certain she gave me her sweet tooth. Abuela turned 89 on the first of the month, and I knew the best way to her heart was a sugary path right through her stomach. As I was spinning my wheels brainstorming what to bake her, I looked to my kitchen counter and Capture the Coast was staring right back at me. I grabbed the beloved cookbook and flipped to the desserts section, and as soon as I saw IT, I knew it was the one. Hummingbird Cake.  If I’m being completely honest, Abuela is a sucker for ALL confections and sweet treats. But if you make her a dessert that has pineapple or coconut in it, she is truly defenseless. You will win her heart upon the first scrumptious bite.

The Hummingbird Cake recipe featured in JLT’s Capture the Coast cookbook is a mouth-watering combination of pineapple and banana, topped with a velvety cream cheese icing, and finished off with crunchy crumbled pecans.

Here is what you’ll need to concoct this southern dessert staple:


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 eggs, beaten

1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple

1 cup pecans, chopped

2 cups mashed bananas

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Cream Cheese Frosting:

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (2-pound) package confectioners’ sugar


Pecan Pieces (if desired)



For the cake… Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until combined. [side note: the recipe says to sift the aforementioned ingredients 3 times. However, I didn’t have a sifter, and mixing worked out well for me.]

Add the eggs and oil to your dry ingredients, and stir the mixture until moistened. Next, add in the vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and mix thoroughly. Finally, add in the mashed banana and brown sugar, and mix one last time.

Divide your batter evenly between three greased or floured 8- or 9-inch round cake pans [I used disposable aluminum cake pans to cut back on excessive dish-washing… I love to bake but I hate to clean up after!]

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, and remove from oven. To ensure the cake is baked through, insert a wooden toothpick into the center and check that it comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes, and then place cakes on wire racks to cool completely.


For the frosting… Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract, and sift in the confectioners’ sugar, 2 cups at a time. Beat well after each addition, and continue beating the frosting until it is completely blended.

To assemble… After allowing the cakes to cool completely, spread your icing between the layers and over the top and sides of the cake.


Next, top with pecans, if you choose. Now the most important part of all, ENJOY!


Quick and Easy: One Bowl Pound Cake

Alex, of our cookbook committee, tried a new recipe for an event she was assigned dessert. It didn’t work out exactly as planned from the start, but was so easy to fix that she got great reviews! Thank you for sharing, Alex!

I was looking for a nice and simple dessert option. The One Bowl Pound Cake from Everyday Feasts sounded simple enough seeing as it says “one bowl” in the title of the recipe.

Most, if not all, of the ingredients are items that everyone keeps in the cabinet so there may not be any special trips to the grocery store. The Bundt pan I used was a stone pan. I placed all my ingredients in my one bowl and mixed everything together. The recipe says you can use vanilla or lemon yogurt and I opted to use vanilla in my recipe. I greased the pan very well and then poured the mixed ingredients into the pan and then into the oven. When trying out a new recipe, I always set the time to the lower end of the suggested time. The pound cake was done at 60 minutes, however, the recipe does not suggest how long to let the cake cool before trying to remove from the pan. I have to admit that I had to make this twice because I did not pay attention to the time the cake was out of the oven before trying to remove so it did not come out of the pan very well. On the second go around, I let the cake cool for 15 minutes while sitting on a cooling rack. I then let the cake sit flipped over on the cooling rake for a few hours. I then used a spatula to gently slide down the sides of the pan to loosen from the sides so that it would come out of the pan. Success! Overall, the cake got great reviews!


One Bowl Pound Cake

2 ½ cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 (8-ounce) container lemon or vanilla yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs


Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.


Sombrero Chicken Salad

We had a guest blogger try out a Life of the Party recipe for us recently as we promote our new available e-book! Thank you, Cyndi!!
As spring is starting to blossom and summer is inevitably around the corner, I wanted to make a nice refreshing salad. I am a sucker for pasta salad, so when I saw “Sombrero Chicken Salad” in the Junior League of Tampa’s, “Life of the Party” cookbook, I knew I was going to get just what I was looking for! Most of the ingredients I actually had on hand, so I grabbed just a few things that I needed at the store and was excited to get the chicken marinating in the delicious cilantro/lime based dressing. It was simple and took no time at all.
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As the chicken marinated I finished some of the daunting spring cleaning and before I knew it the chicken was ready to be grilled. I chopped up the spicy jalapeno, green onion, and tomato, then got the beans and corn ready. Pasta was cooking as I was chopping, so I strained it and added it to the big bowl. Using the extra marinade I tossed it in as a dressing and mixed it up thoroughly. The recipe called for me to throw the chicken on the grill, but I am not much of a grill-smith, so I used my stove top grill pan instead. The key here is to cook it nice and slow, just like the grill does, you don’t want it to cook the outside too fast.
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Once the chicken was done, about 7-8 minutes on each side. I sliced it up into bite size pieces and tossed it in with the salad. I couldn’t help myself but to dive in for a bite, the chicken is so juicy and flavorful. I can’t wait to be invited to a BBQ this summer so I can add this to my list of favorite items! Thanks Junior League for a delicious and easy recipe to bring me just what I needed! 
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The Life of the Party is available now through Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and iBooks!


Grilled Scallops in Coconut Curry Sauce

Grilled Scallops in Coconut Curry Sauce

It’s that time of year again when some of us are looking for dinner options for meatless Fridays.  I knew I would find just the right option in one of my Junior League cookbooks. I came across this dinner option in Every Day Feasts and it didn’t disappoint. This is a wonderfully flavorful recipe without being too complicated…my kind of recipe! I paired my kabobs with Jasmine rice as an entree but this recipe can easily be used as an appetizer as well!

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Grilled Scallops from Every Day Feasts

1 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1 pound sea scallops

Coconut Curry Sauce

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons minced shallots

1 tablespoons curry powder

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dried crush red pepper

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

For the scallops, combine the orange juice and basil in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the scallops and turn to coat. Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning once. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning. Remove the scallops and discard the marinade. Thread the scallops onto the skewers and grill over medium to high heat until firm and opaque, turning once.

For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until softened. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute or until the aroma from the curry is released, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the basil, salt and red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.

Yield: 4 main-dish servings or 8 appetizer servings

First-Ever Junior League E-book

The Junior League of Tampa Publishes First-Ever E-book

Women leading change, move popular cookbooks to a new digital platform.

It was more than 50 years ago when The Junior League of Tampa, Inc. published its first cookbook as means to fund their programs and projects. Now, advancing with new technology, The League has released its first-ever e-book—The Life of the Party.LOPiPad

The Life of the Party cookbook, originally published in 2003, is Volume I in a series from The Junior League of Tampa’s Culinary Collection. This colorfully unique body of delicious recipes, embraces the attitude that less is more; less time spent in the kitchen and more time with your guests. It’s with that same theme, that the evolution of Life of the Party to an e-book came about.

“We are very proud to be the first Junior League to publish an e-book cookbook,” said Ashley Hoff, Cookbook Co-Chair. “We’ve done the research and realize that to keep up with the busy nature of people’s daily lives, we need to offer our books in a fresh, new way that makes it easy to access and appeals to all audiences.”

This e-book cookbook is a welcomed addition to the award-winning cookbook series, which also includes The Gasparilla Cookbook, EveryDay Feasts and Savor the Seasons.

For 88 years, the Junior League of Tampa has been committed to community service and volunteerism. In that time, The League has leveraged cookbooks, as a fundraiser and a way to spread awareness throughout the community. Since its humble beginning, with 22 women, The League has grown and transitioned to more than 700 active members and devotes more than 60,000 hours of service to the community each year, while spending more than $250,000 annually on projects.

The e-book is available for download on more than 50 digital stores including the Amazon Kindle Store, iBooks, Kobo and the Barnes & Noble NOOK Bookstore. It retails for $10.99. Proceeds from the sale of this cookbook will be reinvested in the Tampa community through The League’s projects and programs.


eBook Picture

JLT President, VP of Finance and Cookbook Chairs download the e-book at a 1920s themed Life of the Party celebration.

Download Life of the Party E-book Today!

If you live in Florida you know that spring means two things; outdoor entertaining and strawberries!

The produce section is brimming with beautiful red berries and special prices that assure you strawberry season is in full effect.

The Life of the Party cookbook is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year and is now available in e-book form through Kindle, Nook, and soon to be available in iTunes! I can’t think of a better way to welcome spring and celebrate the Life of the Party than with this Strawberry Festival Salad. Refreshing, bursting with flavor, and so light that you can still feel fantastic in your swimsuit! Cheers to The Life of the Party!

More on our release coming soon!

Bacon and Swiss Tarts…. did someone say BACON?

Jane, from our cookbook committee, tried a new appetizer from our Culinary Collection!

I chose a simple recipe from Savor the Seasons to try for the first time. Bacon and Swiss Tarts sounded like the perfect savory treat for us. There are few ingredients and it isn’t the kind of recipe that keeps you in the kitchen forever.

I gathered all of my ingredients, chopped my tomatoes and mixed up the filling for my tarts. After that, I greased my mini muffin pan and started placing the biscuit dough in each hole. The recipe was perfect to fit into all of the 36 of the muffin spaces on my baking pan. Because the biscuits will rise when baking, be careful not to overfill your tarts. I had a few that were over filled and they turned out a little lopsided. The baking time of the recipe was spot on with my oven and, as you can see in the pictures, they are colorful on the plate to serve. They would make a great brunch recipe, as well as, a starter for your meal.

My husband and I really enjoyed these. I am a southern girl, so I love anything with biscuit dough! If you want to try these at home here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Bacon and Swiss Tarts

1 (10-count) can flaky biscuits

8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled

1 Roma tomato, seeded and chopped

½ small onion, chopped

3 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded

½ cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon basil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut each biscuit into thirds and press into greased miniature muffin cups. Combine the bacon, tomatoes, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil in a bowl and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin cups. Do not overfill. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.