Jonna Ferguson Cain

By Published On: March 23, 2012

Jonna says her kitchen is always open and there’s always something sweet made, like her mother, who always had a dessert on the counter. She enjoys making candy, especially divinity and fudge, and makes pecan pie at Christmas like her Grandmother Bagwell’s. The one sweet she has not been able to make to suit herself is baking cookies. She doesn’t know what it is, but they just don’t turn out.
She began cooking around the age of 10, when she would start supper and make cornbread before her mother got home from work. Now she makes her cornbread using her Big Mama, Maudie Winter’s well-seasoned black skillet. To her cornbread, mashed potatoes and cake mix, she adds a tablespoon of mayonnaise, something she learned from husband Chad’s grandmother, Maxine Cain. Jonna says she cooks “generic”, because that’s what her kids like, but they do eat turnips and turnip greens.  Sons Kobe and Easton especially like sweet potato muffins, a recipe from her mother.  Her family eats a lot of deer meat, and one of their favorite desserts is a sour cream pound cake, one of Jonna’s favorite Paula Deen recipes.

Jonna and her sisters, Andrea and Kalon, and their mother exchange recipes and she says they all cook alike. Her favorite food is her mother’s sweet potato casserole. She also loves lemon pie, as do Chad and daughter Callie, strawberry cake, and a layered cake with fresh fruit. Callie, 11, is starting to cook and is also interested in cake decorating, but her big thing to make right now is brownies.

Sour Cream Pound Cake
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix well. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating in each egg one at a time. Add vanilla. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake 40 minutes to one hour or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Grandmother Bagwell’s Strawberry Cake
1 box Duncan Hines strawberry or yellow cake mix
1 small box strawberry Jello
4 eggs
1 cup Wesson vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 cup strawberries
1 stick butter
1 box powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil. Add flour and water. Mix well. Stir in strawberries. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Allow cake to cool and top with the strawberry frosting.

Sweet Potato Muffins
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl. Cook at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Dough can be refrigerated.

Lemon Icebox Pie
1 9″ Graham cracker pie crust
1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup lemon juice
Meringue topping (optional):
3 egg whites
1 tbsp. sugar
Preheat oven to 500°. In medium bowl, beat together condensed milk, egg yolks and lemon juice. Pour mixture into pie crust. In separate bowl, beat egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread evenly on top of lemon filling. Brown in oven just until meringue is set and golden. Keep pie refrigerated.

Potato Soup
8 cups boiling water
6-8 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup corn starch
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 lb. Velveeta cheese
Boil potatoes and bouillon cubes in water until potatoes are done. Remove from heat and add cheese. In small bowl, mix corn starch and small amount of water until smooth. Add to soup. The cornstarch mixture will thicken the soup as it cools.

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