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Sugar Free Strawberry Lemonade Cake and Waffle House Regulars

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Burning the midnight oil, Peaches. I just finished a full day at work. My goodness, I’m getting old. Today was so busy!! WE GOT SNOW! Now, if you’re familiar with Georgia weather, you know that Mother Nature treats us like she is bipolar and can’t make up her mind. It was sunny and 70 degrees and sunny for Christmas and now in February, we got almost 5 inches of snow! On Saturdays and Sundays, I work from 8 am to 9 pm. In the mornings, I host and bus tables. This is by far the most fun I have at Waffle House. They call it door corp. Because I basically man the front door and greet guests as they come in for breakfast. It’s got its grumpy morning bunch, but mostly, its friendly faces and sleepy smiles. Our store has a great group of regulars that come in. I love chit chatting with folks and entertaining kids while they wait for a table. As most of you who are familiar with Waffle House know, they are very small dining establishments that offer a somewhat limited number of tables and chairs for diners. So in the Saturday and Sunday morning rushes, there can be a bit of a wait. Kids are by far my absolute favorite customers. They waddle in with their light up shoes and puffy little winter coats, sometimes with their favorite teddy in tow. When I get them talking about their week at school or their favorite morning cartoons, they forget all about their need for waffles and eggs and enjoy a few laughs with the crazy lady at WaHo. It also gives the parents a few minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and wake up a little. Well, this morning was no different, except they were so excited about the snow! A few were building a snow man in the grass next to our store. In the afternoons, I wait tables. Afternoons aren’t the busiest shift, so it is a great time to talk to my guests and get to know new people. Some of them have some pretty amazing stories. It’s always fun to meet new people. Today was hustle and bustle of people coming in from the cold to get a hot comforting meal after a full day of playing in the snow.

One of my regulars, who visits almost every day, is Mrs. Margaret. She is an older woman who knows exactly what she wants and she expects it. Her adorable smile and friendly conversation is always welcome. I know as soon as she pulls up, to go ahead and get her table set up and her order called in. I could serve her in my sleep, I do believe. She likes Diet Coke, with a cup FULL of ice. If the ice cubes float, you haven’t given her enough ice. I have gotten to the point I bring her an extra cup of ice when I set her up. She also gets a stack of napkins. She doesn’t want all that ice to cause condensation all over her table. Then, without fail, I call her order to my grill op. Order over well, hold the yolk, dry wheat toast, on a separate plate, with grape jelly, grits in a bowl. Make sure they aren’t lumpy or too runny. She also gets an order of well done bacon, but do not burn it! As she is not afraid to send it back. As many times as I have served her, I know sometimes she likes to get our sausage patties, but if she eats them too often, they will mess with her stomach. She’ll sit for a while and enjoy her “breakfast” no matter the time of day. I like to show her cakes I’ve made and other treats I’ve worked on. She is diabetic, so I can’t share too many of my treats, but when I bring a cake, I like to sneak her a small piece to take home with her. She actually ordered a cake from me before the holidays, but she wanted to wait until her family was in town to help her enjoy it. She loves lemon and strawberry cakes. So, I thought, why not add the two flavors into one amazing cake. My next task was to make this tasty idea sugar free. Thankfully, Pillsbury to the rescue. They should pay me for marketing all of their products! I used their sugar free line of products to make Mrs. Margaret one pretty awesome cake.

I started with the Pillsbury Sugar free yellow cake, added some lemon zest and a little splash of lemon extract. Then I used their Sugar Free Vanilla frosting and added a couple drops of pink coloring and some strawberry flavoring to make the strawberry frosting. I also added a little surprise by using some sugar free strawberry preserves as a filling. As I find most canned frostings are, the frosting was a bit softer than I would usually make my buttercream. Usually i would just add a little more powdered sugar until it came to the right consistency, but since this was supposed to be sugar free, i wasn't sure of what to do. So that posed a bit of a challenge as I wanted to give her an elegantly decorated cake. I piped it on the best I could and added a sliced strawberry and twisted lemon slice. Presenting this cake to her was like seeing a kid opening presents at Christmas. She was so excited and so amazed. The best part, is it was sugar free and she could treat herself to this yummy cake. She loved it. One of the reasons I find baking so rewarding is watching people’s eyes light up when they see what I have made. I mean, how can you be mad when eating cake? It brings me joy to bring a little joy to someone’s day.

On that note, what do you do to bring joy to yourself and others? Do you bake or have another hobby? Do you simply share a smile or compliment? Maybe a funny little joke? I’d love to hear what you do to brighten your day and the days of those around you. Until next time Peaches. I hope you all are having an amazing weekend! – PP

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