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



Grandmother’s Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

1 c Margarine
5 c Sugar
1 can Evaporated Milk
3 lb Peanut Butter
28 oz Marshmallow Cream

Place peanut butter and marshmallow cream in large mixing vessel, set aside. Combine sugar, margarine and milk in medium-large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture begins to boil. Boil for exactly 9 minutes. Pour boiling syrup over peanut butter mixture and beat until smooth. Pour into very large pan (2 9×13″ pans work well) that has been lined with wax paper.

Chocolate Fudge

1 c Margarine
5 c Sugar
1 can Evaporated Milk
21 oz Marshmallow Cream
12 oz Chocolate Chips

Place marshmallow cream and chocolate chips in large kettle, set aside. Place margarine, sugar and milk in medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for exactly ten minutes. Pour boiling syrup over chocolate and beat until smooth. Pour into a large pan (2 9×13″ pans work well) that has been lined with waxed paper.


  • If you are beating the fudge by hand, beat it until your arm feels like it is gonna fall off … then beat it some more.
  • As written, this chocolate fudge recipe will set up very soft. My notes from the last time I made it suggested that 14 ounces of Marshmallow Cream seemed to be about right – and that a high quality chocolate should be used.
  • My grandmother always used PET brand evaporated milk.
  • “Back in the day” the margarine that was used was generic A&P margarine. After A&P went away, Kroger had a “Churned Gold” margarine that was a very good substitute. Both of these have gone away and I now just use butter. The butter seems to offer a “cleaner” flavor to the fudge than the margarine, but it certainly doesn’t “taste like grandmother’s.” I use Plugra salted butter.
  • When my grandmother measured the sugar for these recipes, she used a Pyrex liquid measure and the sugar was heaped into the cup. It comes out to roughly seven cups or 1700 grams of sugar.
  • Since the large jar of JIF peanut butter is 2.5lbs, I usually just use the whole jar and don’t worry about the extra half pound.
  • Some day I plan to try making the peanut butter using JIF’s extra crunchy peanut butter – and probably throwing peanuts on top for garnish.
  • While these recipes are based on time for the cooking of the syrup, if you aim for firm-ball stage at 246 degrees Fahrenheit, you should be good.

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