Variations on a Theme–Chiffon Cheesecakes

My grandmother had a good thing a’goin’!

Sometime in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s my grandmother came up with a lemon cheesecake recipe. It was light and fluffy and a bit tangy. She tweaked it into the following:

2 sticks butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 C sugar
2 large cans cream, chilled (Pet or Carnation evaporated milk)
3 small lemon Jell-O
1 1/3 C hot water
Graham Cracker Crust
Mix cream cheese and sugar together. Add the water to the Jell-O and set aside. Add cream cheese and sugar to the Jell-O and whip until blended. Whip the cream one at a time and add to the mixture.
Stir all together and pour into crust.
Chill, covered with foil, in the refrigerator.

That recipe leaves out a good bit of information. Like that this recipe fills a 12″ x 18″ pan. Or that if the evaporated milk isn’t very very very cold, it hardly whips. Or that it takes a box of graham cracker crumbs to make a crust that large. This is frequently the way with vintage recipes – not everything is written down.

I’ve tweaked and updated the recipe and morphed it into the following versions – with, I think, easy to follow directions. There are future plans for a chocolate version and hopes for a blueberry version.

Lemon Chiffon Cheesecake

Lime Chiffon Cheesecake

Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake

Whipped Cream made from Evaporated Milk



Lola’s Cobbler

1 stick (8 T) Butter
1 cup sugar
¾ cup self-rising flour
¾ cup milk
1 28oz can sliced peaches in syrup – mostly drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter in deep baking dish and place in oven to melt. Mix sugar and flour; add milk slowly to prevent lumping. Pour over melted butter.

Do not stir.

Spoon fruit over top, gently pouring in syrup.

Do not stir.

Batter will rise to the top during baking.

Bake for 30 – 45 minutes.

Good with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Note: You may use fresh blueberries, strawberries, black berries, cherries, apples, peaches or pears. Clean, peel and core 2 cups fruit. Bring to boil with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Make sure sugar is completely dissolved and substitute this mixture for canned peaches.

Submitted by Lola Wilson
Daughter of Ella Turnbill

Jim’s-Best Fruitcake

Recipe is based on Alton Brown’s Free-Range Fruitcake incorporating my changes.


1 10″ loaf pan 4 8.5″ loaf pans
(4 cups dried fruit) (12 cups dried fruit)
1/2 c 1 1/2 c golden raisins
1/2 c 1 1/2 c dark raisins or currants
1 c 3 c dried pineapple
1/2 c 1 1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c 1 1/2 c dried blueberries
1/2 c 1 1/2 c dried cherries
1/2 c 1 1/2 c dried apricots
1 3 lemon, zest of, coarsely chopped
1 3 orange, zest of, coarsely chopped
1/4 c 3/4 c candied ginger
1 c 3 c gold rum
1 c 3 c sugar
5 oz (1 1/4 sticks) 15 oz unsalted butter
1 c 3 c pineapple juice
4 12 cloves, ground
6 18 allspice berries, ground
1 t 3 t cinnamon
1 t 3 t ground ginger
1 3/4 c 4 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t 1 T salt
1 t 3 t baking soda
1 t 3 t baking powder
2 6 eggs, beaten
1/2 – 3/4 cup 1 1/2 – 2 1/4 cups toasted pecans


Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Place fruit, rum and juice in a non-reactive pot with the sugar, butter and spices. Bring mixture to a boil stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. (Batter can be completed up to this point, then covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before completing cake.)

Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon, then stir in eggs until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Spoon into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Start checking for doneness at 40 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet.

When cake is completely cooled, seal in a tight sealing, food safe container. The cake’s flavor will enhance considerably as it sits.

Submitted by Jim Wilson
Son of James & Lola Wilson

German Chocolate Upside Down Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter bottom of a 9×13 inch pan.

Pour 1 cup of coconut in bottom of pan. Top with 1 cup nuts.

Mix 1 box German Chocolate or Swiss Chocolate Cake Mix as directed on package. Pour over coconut and nuts.

Mix a 1 lb. box powered sugar and two sticks melted margarine with an 8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese.

Spoon over top of cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes.

Submitted by Ella Robbins
Daughter of Ruby & Roy Stewart