“You Are My Sunshine”

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Here’s our Eclipse Edition of BigLittleMeals, and well as 2 favorite Sunshine songs and 1 special Moonshine/Sunshine recipe.  Since this is ostensibly a food blog, I’ll start with the recipe.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 7.24.04 AMA version of Sunshine Cake was one of my teenage baking specialties.  My mother coerced me into making angel food cakes, cleverly saying that I could make them so much better than she could.  Then I branched out to baking Sunshine Cakes and finally to a Moonshine Cake.  Sunshine/Moonshine.  How fitting for August 21, 2017.


My much-abused and used hand-written recipe for the cake came from my brother’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Brandenburg, who was not only a fabulous baker but a wonderful person. Her Moonshine Cake recipe is a version of one which also appeared in a very early edition of the  Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking School Cook Book but had been omitted by the time my 1959 edition was published.  And – just so you know – there was a total eclipse of the sun in 1896, the year Fannie Farmer first published the Sunshine Cake recipe in her Boston Cooking School Cook Book.

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Moonshine Cake – for August 21, 2017

As for my favorite sunshine music, John Denver’s Sunshine on my Shoulders  was released just a few weeks before our son, Travis, was born.  Maybe that’s why I love the lyrics, especially this line: “If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I’d make a wish for sunshine for all the while.”

Just as I was ready to put this blog “to bed,” I remembered another favorite song about sunshine: Jimmie Davis’ You Are My Sunshine.  Maybe even a better choice than John Denver, given today’s world.  Since most of you haven’t lived in Louisiana, let me encourage you to read up on one of our more colorful governors: from the NYTimes, November 2000 –  Jimmie Davis, Louisiana’s Singing Governor, is Dead. Given that we had one governor shot and killed (Huey Long), one governor committed to a mental institution (Earl Long), and one governor indicted twice (Edwin Edwards), JD seems relatively cool.  I love these tidbits from the Times:

Governor Davis…..had the reputation for instinctively liking everyone. At the end of the legislative session he would gather friend and foe alike and lead them in singing his hit song ”It Makes No Difference Now.’   Kevin Fontenot, a historian at Tulane University, told The Washington Post in 1999. ”He has just never been a demagogue or a hater.”

And one final note on Sunshine:  I was trying this morning to remember the name of a favorite abelia grandiflora (great shrub, if you don’t know it) because I wanted to add more to our garden.  When I finally found my notes identifying it, it turns out to be Abelia Sunshine Daydream.

“Please don’t take our SUNSHINE away.” 🙂

Moonshine Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Print


  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 10 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1 T water
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 c cake flour – scooped out gently into the measuring cup and then leveled with a knife (or sift it, if you’re of that generation)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put the egg whites into a large bowl; then add the salt and cream of tartar and beat to soft peaks; gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  In a medium bowl beat yolks, water, almond, and vanilla until the yolks are somewhat thickened and lemon-colored (note: I took the liberty to change this a bit from Mrs. Brandenburg’s instructions).  Fold 2 heaping tablespoons of the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture and then mix the flour into the yolk mixture.  Fold the yolk mixture carefully but thoroughly into the beaten egg whites; take care not to overmix.

Put in an (UNGREASED) tube pan (aka angel food cake pan) and bake for 45 minutes.  Invert pan on a bottle to cool.

This cake is put together a little differently than you’ll find in many recipes , but it works.  The Moonshine Cake will keep a day or two, covered tightly and not refrigerated, and it freezes well.  Serve it with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann


  1. Consuelo Smith says:

    Hi ~ just downloaded some so-called upgrades and now I can’t open blog to full size. (It opened fine before) Any suggestions? Connie



  2. Helen Weaver says:

    What kind of moonshine did you put in your cake???? Some of Dave’s family made & “gave out” moonshine but not when the moon was shining & I didn’t get a recipe for it. Darn—- Helen W.

    Liked by 1 person

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