Brunch · Dessert · Gasparilla Cookbook · Junior League of Tampa · recipe

Little Eva’s Sweet Cake Bread

unnamed-3The other night I made Little Eva’s Sweet Cake Bread from The Gasparilla Cookbook (page 240). It was easy to make and delicious to eat. I baked it for our first Marketplace committee meeting of the year. The cake was halfway eaten once I arrived home, which is good for me because I can’t eat an entire cake. However, it’s the perfect recipe for your next social gathering.

With sweet cinnamon and butter as ingredients you can’t go wrong, right?! Plus, since Fall and football season is almost back into swing, this is a great recipe for entertaining. If you like this recipe and want to see more, you can purchase your own copy of the cookbook from The Junior League of Tampa website.

Little Eva’s Sweet Cake Bread:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Cinnamon, butter, sugar

Sift flour once, measure, then sift twice more with baking powder. Cream butter and sugar. Beat egg yolks, add to sugar mixture, then add milk and flour. Beat egg whites stiff, fold in. Add vanilla. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes. Before the cake is done, spread with cinnamon, butter and sugar.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I thought it was pretty easy and yummy. What’s your favorite cookbook or recipe to make?

Gasparilla Cookbook


Good morning! I hope you are having a great week so far. If you live in the Tampa area then you know that Gasparilla is right around the corner and these brownies happen to be from the Gasparilla cookbook!

It is a super easy recipe and they are quite delicious. Perfect for your pirate festivities or a casual ladies night in! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 1 ounce chocolate squares unsweetened
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 well beaten eggs
  • 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the chocolate and margarine over hot water and blend. Gradually add sugar then eggs and beat well. Add flour gradually, mixing just until it disappears. Add nuts and vanilla. Pour into two 8 x 8 2 inch pans which have been greased and paper lined. Cook 25 to 30 minutes at 350. Cut each pan into 16 squares. Let stand for 5 minutes before turning out to cool. Makes 32.


Gasparilla Cookbook

Chocolate Drop Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Drop Oatmeal Cookies – Gasparilla Cookbook pg. 272

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal

1/2  cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4  cup all purpose flour

This recipe was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. I substituted butter for shortening because I like the flavoring of it better. I started by combining the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. I then creamed the butter, granulated  sugar and brown sugar in a separate bowl. I added the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture until it was well incorporated.

I then added the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Lastly, I added the oatmeal and chocolate chips. I used a cookie scooper to scoop out the dough and placed the cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet. I baked them at a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

They were a hit with everyone who tried them. This is a great quick recipe to have on hand when you are craving something sweet. I will definitely be making these again!



Gasparilla Cookbook

Cream Cheese Cookies


The Gasparilla Cookbook

Cream Cheese Cookies

I signed up to make these thinking all cookies are easy to make. Boy was I wrong. You definitely need something more advanced than a hand mixer and don’t try to pull a short cut (like I did) by not going out a buying a pastry cloth. Honestly, I had never heard of a pastry cloth until I read this recipe and I had no idea how important of a step that was going to be. They tasted great, but they weren’t the prettiest cookies I’ve ever made (haha).

½ pound butter or margarine

6 ounces cream cheese

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

Thick jam

Powdered sugar

Cream butter and cheese until light. Add flour, baking powder and sugar. Mix until smooth. Roll out about ¼ inch thick onto a floured pastry cloth and cut with 1 ½ – inch cookie cutter. Make a slight depression in the center and fill it with ½ teaspoon of jam. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and sift powdered sugar over the cookies. Makes about 60 cookies.


Gasparilla Cookbook

Pork Chops a la Margaret

We recently exhibited at the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic expo featuring all of our cookbooks and fielding quite a few questions about The Junior League of Tampa and our mission. Thank you to everyone who came out to pay us a visit and try one of our tasty recipes!


One of our committee members, Lauren, tried one of our Gasparilla cookbook recipes and shared her own addition to the meal below.

I made one of the recipes found in the Gasparilla Cookbook for dinner last night…. PORK CHOPS A LA MARGARET!

It was dee-licious!  The only change I made was to use Heinz Ketchup (I am from Pittsburgh!) that has jalapeno peppers in it.  It gave it a bit of a kick.  I served it over linguine noodles with a side serving of zucchini. I sliced the zucchini lengthwise, arranged them on a baking sheet, brushed them with olive oil, topped the slices with a mixture of finely chopped onion, Panko breadcrumbs and dry Ranch Dressing mix, and then topped that with shredded cheese. I then put the zucchini under the broiler until the cheese is melted, the zucchini is tender and the topping is slightly browned.
Pork Chops a la Margaret
The recipe was really easy to follow and tasted really great! If you are looking for something different to make tonight, I highly recommend the Pork Chops a La Margaret!
Pork Chops a la Margaret
Gasparilla Cookbook, page 117
8 pork chops
1/2 cup catsup
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
Brown chops on both sides. Place in casserole dish or oven-proof platter. Assemble sauce and pour over pork chops. Cook in 325 degrees over for 1 1/2 hours. Serve over hot noodles. Serves 8.
Cookies · Dessert · Gasparilla Cookbook

Jelly Roll Cookies

By Cindy Valdez

The first Rule of Cooking that I explain to my children when teaching them how to cook something new is, “Read the instructions all the way through before you do anything else.”

The Jelly Roll Cookie recipe that I made today taught me that I need to be reminded of this rule every now and again, too.

It’s a super simple recipe with a small number of ingredients and also happens to be very similar to another slice and bake cookie I made over the holidays, so as I was skimming over the instructions I figured I knew what I was doing and just jumped in without even finishing reading them.

Start by creaming together one stick of butter (I used unsalted) and one stick of margarine with two three-ounce packages of cream cheese.

I used very cold ingredients and sliced into chunks before throwing them in the food processor would help to speed up the creaming process.

Add two cups of sifted flour (one cup at a time) to the butter and cream cheese mixture and mix until combined.

Here’s where I began to mess this up royally…

Put the dough, mixing bowl and all, into the refrigerator for 2 1/2 – 3 hours.  (I wanted to hasten the process so I put the dough on wax paper, patted it into a bit of a round, wrapped it up and put it in the freezer for about an hour.

Just before getting wrapped up and going into the freezer.

Divide dough into two equal parts and roll out each. (I didn’t divide the dough and I’m pretty sure this was a crucial step; dividing the dough would’ve made for much thinner, more delicate dough once rolled out which probably would’ve resulted in a light and airy cookie…not at all what I ended up with.)

Generously spread one 12 ounce jar of guava jelly on top of both of the rolled out dough (but not too heavily). Sprinkle with 1/4 lb. of chopped pecans.

 I only sprinkled nuts on half of my rolled out dough in case anyone wanted to try a jelly only version.  This was Mistake #847.

 Roll up dough (each roll is usually about a foot long).  Place in greased pan and refrigerate overnight.  (Again, in an effort to speed this along — who wants to wait til the next day to eat cookies? — I put the rolled up dough in the freezer.  Besides, slicing dough that’s been chilled in the freezer is so smooth and easy.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Slice cookies and place on greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper instead, though I don’t think it made any difference one way or the other), bake 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Pre-baking; instead of looking like jelly rolls they look more like jelly flops.  I’m guessing this has something to do with the weight of the dough.

As I’m sure you can imagine, given the density of the dough since I didn’t bother to halve it, I needed the full 15 minutes of bake time plus an additional three minutes just to get the dough baked through.  Of course, by the time it was done, the jelly had all but melted into a congealed film of goo on the parchment paper; only the cookies with pecans held onto the guava jelly.

Major disaster.

After cooling, I did a little taste testing to see whether or not the taste was affected by my mistakes.  The jelly only cookies were bland and pretty flavorless, but the cookies with the pecans were actually quite good.  These would probably taste considerably better had I made them the way they’re supposed to be made.

So, since I have all of the ingredients on hand to make these a second time, I’ll give it another go tomorrow, this time following all of the directions as written.  I’ll post an update as soon as they’re done.

Moral of the story?  Read the instructions all the way through before you do anything else.

Jelly Roll Cookies (The Gasparilla Cookbook, p. 278)

1 stick butter

1 stick margarine

2 3-ounce packages of cream cheese

2 cups sifted flour

1 12-ounce jar of guava jelly (good idea to have second jar on hand in case you need extra)

1/4 pound of chopped pecans

Cream together butter, margarine and cream cheese. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time. Set in refrigerator for 2.5 to 3 hours. Divide dough into 2 parts and roll out each. Spread jelly on top of dough generously but not too heavily. Sprinkle nuts on top of jelly. Roll up dough (each roll is usually about a foot long). Place in greased pan. Refrigerate over night. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice cookies and place on greased cookie sheet. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Bacon · Gasparilla Cookbook

Ham Jambalaya

By Kathryn Zahn

When I first found out that I was going to be tasting and writing about the recipe Ham Jambalaya I was so excited because what immediately came to my mind was one-pot dinner. After working all day, picking up two kids from different schools, and trying to have dinner on the table for them and my husband by six, an easy recipe for dinner is always what I am looking for.

When I think of southern or Cajun jambalaya I think: chicken, shrimp, sausage, ham, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, celery…you know hearty and full of meats, vegetables, and rice; and as I jotted down the recipe at the end of the day before I ran into Publix, I knew with a sinking feeling that the dinner that I had planned on was not going to be enough food for them.

My intention is not to give this recipe a bad review, it is more for us to sit back and say, “Yeah, sometimes the recipes we pick don’t go as planned or taste like we would want them too…but that’s ok.” We learn through trial and error and they can’t all be perfect, right?

What this dish really consists of is 2 cooking onions, 2 cups of canned tomatoes, 1 cup of rice, and 1 cup of ham. Now if you do the math that is just a little over 4 cups. I put a scoop onto each of my kid’s plate and what you see in the bowl is all that was left for my husband and me. I ended up having to make each of them a salad, threw in some buttered bread, a big glass of milk, and then dessert. My husband ate what I served him and then proceeded to dig around in the refrigerator for more food.

The overwhelming ingredient in this dish is the canned tomatoes. If you love canned tomatoes, then you’ll love this dish. If you don’t, then most likely you won’t. We prefer fresh in our house. Canned tomatoes just have this distinct taste and it doesn’t matter how long you sauté them or what you sauté them in, they have a tendency to overpower the other flavors of the dish. Aside from this, my husband and I probably would have liked it more if more bacon was called for. In addition to using the grease, crumbling and adding the bacon to the dish would also add a little extra flavor to it. I also didn’t see the need to bake the dish for 30-40 minutes. If you simmered down the tomatoes, most of the liquid should be gone, so I am not sure what the extra time was needed for. I tasted it before and after the baking and to me it was exactly the same.

My kids loved this dish. If you have children and they eat rice, it was easy to make and I am certain that they will love it too.

It says 4-6 servings, and as a side dish then yes, I would agree to that. I don’t really have any recommendations as where to serve this dish; maybe at a potluck get together where there are a lot of different dishes to sample and taste. As for a dinner, we like to focus around protein and vegetables. The little bit of ham that it calls for was not enough for us, so it needs a complimentary meat as well as another vegetable or salad.

Keep in mind after reading this that not every recipe is for everyone. If you love these ingredients, then by all means cook away…you won’t be disappointed. As for us…I’ll be waiting for my next assignment… Bon Appétit!

Ham Jambalaya (The Gasparilla Cookbook, p. 111)

  • 2 slices of bacon
  • ½ clove garlic
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup chopped or ground ham, ground preferred

Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from skillet and drain. Saute garlic and onion in bacon drippings. Add tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer 15 minutes. Add rice and ham and mix well. Bake in casserole in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Cookbooks History · Dessert · Gasparilla Cookbook · Junior League of Tampa · Recipes

Pumpkin Pie!

By Jaime Brewer

I have always loved the smell of pumpkin…especially around Thanksgiving time.  The ironic thing is, I haven’t always necessarily liked the taste of pumpkin.  It’s like when people tell me they love the smell of coffee, but don’t like the taste.  Personally, I don’t understand those people since I live on coffee!  But, I get their point.  I used to love to cook and bake and then things happened (husband, dog, children- in that order) and cooking and baking became something I did for my family to survive and not necessarily as therapy like it used to be.  That’s why I tend to steer towards recipes that aren’t overly complicated and include a smaller amount of ingredients.  So, when I was asked to bake something for the Junior League Cookbook blog, I jumped at this recipe of only 9 ingredients.

The first thing I did was gather my ingredients and the necessary utensils.

1 pie shell, unbaked

¾ cups canned pumpkin

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

2 eggs

1 cup milk (small can evaporated milk plus enough plain milk to make 1 cup)

½ cup white corn syrup

Then, I went to work simmering the pumpkin over low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Ten minutes later, I removed the saucepan from the stove and stirred in the next 4 ingredients (sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger). Next, I beat the eggs – first by hand before I realized it would take me an hour to get the mixture frothy, like the recipe called for, then with an electric mixer.  Definitely use an electric mixer and beat until frothy!

Once the eggs were frothy, I added the milk and corn syrup and mixed together. Then I added the egg mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat together until they were well combined.

Next, I poured the mixture into the pie shell. Once thing I would have liked to have known beforehand was that the recipe actually made more mixture than would fit in the 9-inch pie shell. Had I known, I would have also purchased some of the smaller tart shells and made a few child sized pies as well!

Then it was off to a 450 degrees oven for 15 minutes and then to a 300 degrees oven for another 40 minutes.

I have to say I’m pretty proud of my very first pumpkin pie.  Not only did my house smell delicious for an entire day, but I was ready for friends who unexpectedly showed up for a play date!  FYI, if you make this for Thanksgiving or any other fall day, have some whip cream on hand!  Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy!

Appetizer · Cookbooks History · Gasparilla Cookbook · Junior League of Tampa · Recipes

Swedish Meatballs

By Lisl Unterholzner

One of the great things about The Gasparilla Cookbook is that it pulls together the best recipes from the various cultures that collide in our area, mainly Cuban, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Southern and more. You may be wondering if and how Swedish Meatballs have anything to do with Florida’s West Coast. Well, I don’t know the background of Mrs. D. A. Kafka, who submitted this recipe. I can tell you that part of my own ancestry is Swedish, and that my great-great-grandfather was one of five brothers from Sweden who came to the Tampa Bay area in the late 1880’s.

Today, the easiest way to enjoy Swedish meatballs is to stop by IKEA, and I’m definitely a fan. But the recipe from The Gasparilla Cookbook is a great place to start if you have the time and the inclination to cook from scratch. For one thing, the texture of these meatballs is phenomenal- super light and fluffy. Plus, the Almond Noodles that accompany them are seriously addictive.

There are a few things I would tweak. For one, the recipe calls for you to sauté 2 tablespoons of minced onion in ¼ cup of butter. You can easily knock that down to 1 tablespoon. The texture of your meatballs will also be affected by the bread you use to make bread crumbs. I used some white bread from the Publix bakery, maybe the Italian Sandwich bread, tearing the slices into pieces and giving them a whirl in the food processor to make pretty fine crumbs.

Don’t use canned bread crumbs- the key is to make sure your bread is not too hard or to dry. Finally, I drained my meatballs on paper towels after browning, then wiped out the pan to remove the excess oil. If you have some browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, you could loosen them with a bit of chicken broth, then return the meatballs to the pan and add the cream.

This recipe did not make a ton of sauce, so don’t expect it to be a make-at-home version of IKEA’s. I see it as a wonderful recipe for a birthday meal or a dinner party. Most of the work for the meatballs is done in advance, and the noodles can be put into a casserole or serving dish and covered with aluminum foil to stand for at least 30 minutes. I served this to some very picky pre-schoolers, and they gobbled up the meatballs. They were less fond of the noodles, which was fine because I was happy to heat them up for lunch (along with a few – not many!- leftover meatballs) the next day.

So, enjoy your meal, or as they say in Swedish, Smaklig måltid!


2 cups soft bread crumbs, firmly packed

3/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons minced onion

1/4 cup butter

1 lb ground beef

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 egg, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons flour

Fat or salad oil

1/2 cup light cream

Combine bread crumbs and milk; let stand 10 minutes. Saute onion in butter over low heat until soft but not brown. Combine beef, nutmeg, salt, paprika and egg. Add to bread crumb and onion mixture. Shape in small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Chill at least 1 hour. Roll meatballs in flour; cook in a little hot fat or salad oil, turning to brown on all sides. Add cream, cover and cook 5 minutes. Serve at once with Almond Noodles. Makes 6 servings.


1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 8-ounch package egg noodles, cooked

Melt half the butter; add almonds and cook until golden brown. Add remaining butter, paprika and poppy seeds. To hot cooked noodles, add this mixture, tossing with a fork until thoroughly mixed. Makes 6 servings.

Cookbooks History · Dave Kempf · Debut · Gasparilla Cookbook · Junior League of Tampa

The Gasparilla Cookbook 50th Anniversary Edition Has Arrived!

The highly anticipated anniversary edition of our award-winning cookbook was unveiled at the Junior League of Tampa Cookbook Chair Brunch on August 6th at JLT headquarters for all past Cookbook Committee Chairs. The Brunch featured presentations by JLT President Allison Burden, Past Cookbook Chair Lisl Unterholzner and Current Cookbook Chairs Aspen Kahl and Denise Schultz. “It was amazing to have 50 years of past cookbook chairs together celebrating our flagship publication,” said Aspen Kahl. “It exemplifies their commitment to the League and the legacy of The Gasparilla Cookbook that we continue to build today.”

A classic menu of recipes from The Gasparilla Cookbook 50th Anniversary Edition was served, including: Banana Bread (muffins), Garden Salad with Zesty Salad Dressing, Five-Cup Fruit Salad and Chicken Salad De Luxe Croissant Sandwiches.

Brunch attendees had the first opportunity to purchase The Gasparilla Cookbook 50th Anniversary Edition and received an appreciation discount on the purchase of five or more books at the event. “It’s beautiful and I will delight in giving them as gifts,” said Sue Isbell, Past Cookbook Committee Chair.

“We sold 103 copies of The Gasparilla Cookbook 50th Anniversary Edition,” said Denise Schultz. “The brunch was a great success and properly celebrated this special commemorative edition.”

The launch of The Gasparilla Cookbook 50th Anniversary Edition also included several events at Datz Delicatessen. JLT members were invited to attend a series of “Lunch Box” events and a cocktail party featuring recipes from our timeless cookbook. For each of these events, Datz made a donation back to the League to support our community projects.

Datz featured a series of “Lunch Box” events from September 19th through the 23rd. Each event featured recipe selections from The Gasparilla Cookbook, presented at a three-course seated tasting and cooking demonstration. JLT Guest Chefs included Lynette Russell, Stephanie Wiendel, Lisl Unterholzner, Danielle Post, Suzy Mendelson, Andrea Layne, Denise Shultz, and Casey Carefoot.