Last night I taught The Help (book and movie) themed cooking class at the Hal’s Kitchen cooking school in Atlanta. If you are familiar with the story, you would remember the character Minnie, who was known to be the best cook amongst the help available in the small town of Mississippi. She was also famous for her 7-layer caramel cake which was a popular item in the fundraiser auction.
Just as Minnie did for her employer in the story, we also cooked up a traditional southern dinner of fried chicken, turnip greens, mashed potatoes with gravy, and caramel cake for our class. The students learned to make southern favorites hands-on and were encouraged to go watch the movie after the class. Hal’s Kitchen has hosted a few The Help dinner and a movie classes and they have been a huge hit!3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 2 cups granulated sugar 6 eggs 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter 2 9-inch layer cake pans; line the bottoms waxed paper. Butter the paper. Sift the sifted flour and baking powder into a bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until light, then gradually add the sugar, beating until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture, a little at a time, alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir well after each addition, but do not beat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Turn the batter into prepared cake pans. Bake in a preheated 325° oven until the cakes spring back when lightly touched near the center with a finger, about 35 minutes. Cool layers 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto cake racks to cool completely. Never Fail Creamy Caramel Icing
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 slightly beaten egg
1 stick of butter
3/4 c. milk
1 t. vanilla Melt 1/2 cup of sugar in iron skillet slowly, until brown and runny. Mix egg, butter, remaining sugar, and milk in a saucepan and cook over a low flame until butter melts. Turn the heat up to medium and add the browned sugar. Cook until it reaches the soft ball stage or until mixture leaves sides of pan. This takes about 10 minutes. Remove from fire, let cool slightly, and add vanilla. Beat until right consistency to spread. If it gets too thick add a little cream.