We were long-past due in getting some special friends together, but we finally coordinated our schedules to enjoy a warm summer’s evening with each other in our backyard in Medford, Oregon.

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It’s been the mildest, most wonderful summer, although our garden is very late in producing and our tomatoes are very small! But I’ll take small for the many beautiful entertaining moments that we’ve had in our yard this summer.

The memories will resonate in our minds, and our kids’ minds, for a long time, possibly forever.

Have you ever thought about how hospitality can be eternal?

It’s a very deep thought, but I believe it has eternal value. The things that we talk about around the table, how we encourage one another, how we listen, all have huge meaning …

Some of the friends that were present I’ve known for 30 years, and our lovely neighbors joined us. So it was a very good thing to welcome them to our table in the outdoors and to enjoy a night of good food and talk.

On this warm summer evening when our retired friends came for dinner, Jeannie started us off with a mixture of fresh, tantalizing hors d’oeuvres.

And you may remember my neighbor Ellie’s Prawns and Avocado with Mango Salad. Yup, I was worried for a few minutes if we even needed the rest of the dinner, after enjoying this incredible salad. You really need to bookmark this recipe for a great summertime salad.

We enjoyed steak and potatoes, and I cooked our beets from the garden, slicing them over green beans with feta cheese and toasted walnuts. Oh, boy!

And then dessert came. Our friends Roger and Faye know just how much we love chocolate. All of us!

Their cake was so rich and wonderful, I asked Faye if I could share her recipe with you today. I remember commenting on the delicious frosting. And I just realized Faye’s little secret for the frosting is actually very simple.

It’s okay to have cooking secrets because sometimes they are the tastiest.

(the sticker on the back of Faye’s cake pan)

I’ll be making this cake in the future. You bet I will! :)

When’s the last time you delegated and invited friends older than you over for dinner?



Recipe: Faye’s Chocolate Fudge Cake {ReluctantEntertainer.Com}

Summary: Faye’s frosting tip? “I now use Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Frosting.” We never would have known. A mouth-watering combo.


  • 3 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt chocolate. Cool.
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter until soft.
  3. Add brown sugar and eggs and beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and add cooled chocolate.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients (I now use unbleached flour) alternately with sour cream, beating well. Stir in boiling water.
  5. Pour into greased and floured 9×13 cake pan or two 9 in. layer pans. Bake for approximately 35 min. (9×13) or 25 min. (9 in. pans) or until it tests done.
  6. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 min.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25-35 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 8