June is a popular month for weddings.  A glance at my monthly calendar reminded me that thirty-one years ago, my youngest sister, Melissa, chose the 25th of June for her marriage ceremony.  For some reason, memories of that time came in like a flood.

Melissa chose a country theme for her nuptials and asked me to make her dress.  There was a slight problem with this – she lived in Tennessee, and I lived in Indiana.  Thankfully, we were pretty much the same size, so I could fit the dress to myself.  The only thing I couldn’t do without her was the hem.  To go along with the theme, Melissa’s bridalwear was made with muslin instead of satin.  I did talk her into letting me use a muslin-colored permanent press fabric to make it less prone to wrinkle. 

I did a lot of “putting the pedal to the metal” that year – my sewing machine pedal, that is.  I not only made Melissa’s dress, I also made one for my daughter, Molly, who was the flower girl. 

The attendant’s dresses were various shades of eyelet – Molly’s was pastel orange.  My sister Cindy and I were not part of the wedding party; however, I made each of us a dress to wear, too. 

When I arrived in Tennessee a couple of days before the wedding, Cindy’s daughter, Amy, needed her dress finished.  My mother had cut it out, but it was not sewed.  It was a good thing I took my sewing machine with me so that I could make any adjustments needed on Melissa’s dress.  After completing the bridal gown, I went to work on the yellow eyelet chosen for Amy’s garment.

As I thought about the hectic days leading up to the wedding, I realized that although all four of my mother’s daughters were there, there was not one son-in-law.  The three of us who were married lived out of state, and for one reason or another, we traveled to Tennessee without our husbands.  Bob (my spouse) had to work; his vacation time was scheduled long before my sister decided on a wedding date. 

Melissa arose early on the morning of her special day.  I can’t remember if Mom went with her or not, but I do know Melissa gathered lots of wildflowers to use for decorations.  After loading everything up in various cars, we headed for the church, but not without a hitch.  Terri was parked in front of me in the driveway, and I was following her car out.  She suddenly remembered something she forgot and stopped right in front of me.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that her car was no longer going in time to keep from bumping into it.  There was no damage to either vehicle; we won’t talk about the punch that Terri had in the back floorboard.

The wedding was on a Saturday; Sunday afternoon found me on the road back to Indiana and my hubby.  Cindy had never visited my home before; she and her children went with me, knowing that Bob and I would be headed back to Tennessee for a July 4th family reunion.  We were all grateful to celebrate a joyous event after having lost Dad in February of that year.

I didn’t write about Melissa’s wedding cake; it was made by a friend who had a catering business.   However, I decided to include cake with icing recipes this week to somehow tie in the story with the food ideas.

Double Fudgy Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 (16-ounce) package brown sugar

3 eggs

3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

2-1/4 cups sifted cake flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup commercial sour cream

1 cup hot water

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fudge Frosting (recipe follows)

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate, mixing well.

Combine flour, soda, and salt; gradu­ally add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Add water, mixing well; stir in vanilla. (Batter will be thin.)

Pour batter evenly into 2 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans, and place on wire racks to complete cooling.

Spread frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Yield: one 9-inch layer cake.

Fudge Frosting

4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup butter

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine chocolate and butter; place over low heat until melted, stirring con­stantly. Combine sugar, milk, and va­nilla in a medium mixing bowl; mix well. Set bowl in a large pan of ice water, and stir in chocolate mixture; then beat at high speed of portable mixer until spreading consistency (about 2 minutes). Yield: frosting for one 9- inch layer cake

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 -1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 -1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups chopped bananas

2 cups chopped nuts

1 (8.25 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice

3 eggs, beaten

Sift together flour, sugar, soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir in remaining ingredients, but do no beat.  Bake in a tube pan in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes (or in 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans for 25 to 30 minutes).  Cool.


1 8-ounce package cream cheese

1/2 cup margarine, softened

1 pound confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

One-half cup chopped pecans

Mix together and frost cake. 

Grapefruit-Pecan Sheet Cake


1 Ruby Red grapefruit

1 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup water

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar

Grate zest from grapefruit to equal 3 Tbsp. Cut grapefruit in half, and squeeze juice to equal 10 Tbsp.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together melted butter, 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl.

Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in pecans, next 3 ingredients, 2 Tbsp. zest, and butter mixture until smooth. Pour batter into a greased (with shortening) and floured 13- x 9-inch pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 1 hour.

Prepare Frosting: Beat cream cheese and softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Add vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice and 1 tablespoon zest, and beat until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.