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Month: April 2024

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd is a time-honored filling for a layer cake.  A layer cake creates the WOW in the dessert arena.  They are really not much trouble, and an occasion becomes even more special with this spectacular filling.

Another of Margaret Lea Houston’s recipes, and a  southern favorite.  You can look like a star by making this simple tart and sweet lemon curd and simply topping slices of pound cake for a lovely desert.

Lemon Curd “how-to” Video

Lemon Curd

Tart and sweet, the perfect filling for your layer cake
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 zest of lemon


  • Whisk eggs until smooth in a medium-heavy, 1 quart saucepan. Add sugar and lemon juice, whisking until well mixed. Look slowly over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thicken s enough to coat back of wooden spoon (10 - 12 minutes).
  • Remove pan from heat. Cut butter into tablespoon-size pieces and stir, one piece at a time, into warm mixture until melted and fully absorbed. Stir in lemon zest.
  • Spoon between the layers of the Sam Houston White Cake. Top with Shiny Chocolate Frosting.


Lemon Curd is also over pound cake.  You can save time by buying your pound cake at the store.  I also like to save a little zest to sprinkle on top of individual servings.  
Keyword Lemon Curd, Cake filling

Rich and Dense White Cake (Sam Houston’s Family Recipe)

Elegant, rich, and definitely fit for a special occasion: This recipe was passed down through the Sam and Margaret Houston family.  It has been published many times – the first thought to be in the 1941 Blue Bird Circle Cookbook.  The Texas Imperial Sugar Company also featured it in several of its publications.

A layer cake can really create the “WOW” factor to end a special meal.  Time-wise, it takes little more than a sheet cake and once you set it on a pedestal cake stand – well, it’s a knock out.  I served it at a family gathering a few weeks ago and received “ooh’s and aah’s!

You can fill it with either the Margaret Lea Houston chocolate icing or a lemon curd.  The Shiny Chocolate Icing completes the yummy desert.  I literally just spooned it on the top and let it run down the sides for a natural look.

Give it a try, and go for the adventure!  After all, that is what cooking is all about!

View the “how-to” video here:

Sam Houston's White Cake

A thick layer cake passed down through the generations
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond flavoring
  • 6 egg whites


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter until soft and bright. Gradually add sugar and continue creaming in order to incorporate as much air as possible.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift together 3 times, or stir until blended.
  • Add flavorings to milk and water. Alternate adding flour and liquid mixtures to butter mixture. Beat well after each addition.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into batter. Blend well but do not beat. Pour into three greased and floured 9 inch layer cake pans and bake for 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then turn onto cake racks and remove pans. Wait until cake is cool to frost with Shiny Chocolate Frosting.


You may fill between the layers with Lemon curd.  

Shiny Chocolate Icing

A tasty recipe from the tough and legendary Margaret Lea Houston 

Texas women are strong. That’s no secret. Don’t think so? Well, have you met one? As Texicureans, we love to blend our curiosity of history and food together to give you a good story.

We went to Burleson County to speak at their heritage week and found the perfect person to make and share Margaret Lee Houston’s chocolate icing recipe. You see, Texas history class and folklore is filled with stories of Sam Houston and Edward Burleson —famous “frenimies” as the kids would say these days. These men are central figures in our state’s founding. But in Texicureans tradition, we know there is more to the story so we asked, what about the women behind them and by their side?

Historically in Texas, the men went off to fight in battles, buy and sell supplies, or campaign for office.  Who was left behind to manage the farm and ranch operations, raise the children, keep food on the table, and otherwise keep the “home fires burning”?  The Women.

One such tough cookie was Margaret Lea Houston.

Perhaps her biggest challenge was the feisty man we know as the father of our state – Sam Houston.

20 years old and a staunch Baptist, Margaret supposedly met Houston at a garden party in 1839.  Twenty-six years her senior, Houston was struck by her beauty, intellect, and poise.  Despite her mother’s misgivings, the couple were married a year later and moved to Texas where Sam begins making political speeches.

The couple’s first child, Sam Houston Jr. was born in Washington-on-the Brazos in 1843.  The births of Margaret Lea and Antoinette Power follow.   During this time, Margaret had a breast tumor removed, using only a silver coin between her teeth as a painkiller.  Didn’t  I say she was tough?

The couple then moves to Independence, Texas.  Margaret also begins to influence the “tough as nails” husband she married.  He is baptized in the Baptist church, quits drinking, and somewhat tames his language.

It is said that when he came up from the baptismal waters in the creek, Houston’s friends said, “Well, General, all your sins have been washed away.” “If that be the case,” Houston quipped, “God help the fish downstream!”

Andrew Jackson Houston is born and the older children attend Baylor University.  (It was located in Independence at this time)

The Houstons move to Huntsville in 1854 where Williams Rogers was born in 1858.

In 1859, Houston won election as the governor of Texas.  In 1860, Margaret Lea Houston arrives at the Governor’s mansion with seven children, the family belongings, a team of mules, several horses and numerous dogs.

By this time, Austin society expected a certain level of social interaction at the Mansion.  Weakened by asthma and the pregnancy of her eighth and final child, Margaret struggled in the early days of occupying the mansion.  She rose to the occasion, however, and eventually began to receive visitors.

This brings us to our recipe this month:  Margaret Lea Houston’s Shiny Chocolate Frosting..

And who would be a better person to prepare it with, but someone who’s 4 times Great Grandfather debated Sam Houston!  Brian Broaddus’ family arrived in Burleson County (county named after Sam’s VP during his presidency of the Republic – Edward Burleson) by wagon train in 1840.

Running for governor of Texas in 1857 as an independent candidate, Sam Houston visited the county on a campaign speaking tour.  Local attorney and Democratic Party leader Andrew S. Broaddus debated Houston on behalf of Hardin Richard Runnels at Waugh Campground north of Caldwell, TX. Houston carries the county but loses the election.

Now, back to the  icing – which Brian and I prepared together, it is literally the best chocolate icing I have ever tasted!

Brian topped a Texas Sheet Cake with the icing to serve to the audience – and it was absolutely delectable.  If you would like to taste more of Brian’s culinary delights – visit his “Four Tines at the Surrey Inn Restaurant” in Caldwell, Texas located on the legendary Camino Real – Hwy 21.

Shiny Chocolate Icing

A tasty recipe from the tough and legendary Margaret Lea Houston (AKA Mrs. Sam Houston)
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • 3 squares unsweetened Chocolate
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • Melt chocolate in a pan sitting on hot water. Stir in powdered sugar. Add salt and hot water.
  • Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Add vanilla. Mix well. Allow to cool and pour over completed cake.


Keyword Chocolate Icing

Sautéed Garlicky Broccoli

Sometimes it’s just the simple recipes that bear repeating for our everyday dinners.  Broccoli is by far the most commonly consumed cruciferous vegetable in America.  Studies have established a link between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention.

And it’s just good!  I love this recipe because the broccoli is first sautéed in  garlic, onion, and EVOO.  The finishing touch is a quick steam with broth.  Squeeze some fresh lemon juice across the top, and enjoy!

So here’s an insight into my personal goal for meal portions:

Half the plate is green veggies, one quarter is a protein, and the remaining one quarter is a complex carbohydrate.  So, the green veggie is an important part of our meals.

Back to the broccoli – Click the picture below to view the easy to prepare video!

Sautéed Broccoli

Crisp-tender florets with garlic
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 7 - 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 8 cups broccoli florets sliced into 1" thick pieces (will shrink 25%)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken or veggie broth (or 1 tsp concentrate to 1/2 cup hot water


  • Heat the EVOO in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped onion. Sauté about 1 minute.
  • Add the broccoli florets. Increase heat to medium high. Stir fry for about 6 - 8 minutes until broccoli turns bright green and a bit brown.
  • Season with salt and pepper, Add the broth and cover with a lid. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Keyword broccoli, greens, garlicky, sauteed




Easy Eclipse Charcuterie

Are you celebrating the eclipse with friends or family?

Emily has created a board that is easy and thematic!

Using a round of brie to represent the moon with a round of cheddar sticking out in partial eclipse of the sun fashion – you can use your creativity or follow Emily’s directions to a “T”.

Add a bottle of bubbly to celebrate and voila – you are covered.

Remember to wear those fashionable eclipse glasses!

Eclipse Charcuterie

A Cheesy Tribute
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


  • 8 oz round brie
  • crumbly sharp cheddar
  • Manchego
  • pepper jack slices
  • Gouda
  • Slice round yellow cheddar
  • Italian dry salami
  • Prosciutto
  • Cornichons
  • Honey
  • fig jam
  • grapes
  • strawberries
  • blueberries
  • half moon cookies
  • Mint for garnish


  • Arrange any ramekins in opposite corners on board - honey, fig jam, cornichons
  • Slice round of brie in 1/2 using a wire slicer. Take a round slice of hamburger cheddar cheese and insert between the brie slices leaving enough exposed to create a crescent shape. (brie is the moon and cheddar is the sun). Place in the middle of the board.
  • Take the pre-sliced cheese and fashion a crescent shape. Place on top of the brie.
  • Slice the manchego in 1/3" slices. Arrange in a "zipper" pattern on tray.
  • Cut gouda into cubes. Place any craters side up (to represent the moon) Place opposite the manchego on the tray.
  • Create large "crumbs" out of the sharp cheddar/parmesan cheese. Place on platter. Place opposite the manchego and gouda.
  • Add grapes, sliced strawberries.
  • Fold salami in 1/2 and place throughout the board. Place a few together.
  • Fold prosciutto in 1/2 and create a ribbon.
  • Fill in with blueberries, more halved strawberries, and additional grapes. Add in 1/2 moon cookies. Garnish with mint. Add more crescent moons if desired.
  • Serve with crackers on the side. Add in cheese knives, honey dipper, and spoon for jelly.


Keyword Charcuterie, Charcuterie Board, Eclipse, cheese