Southern Union Foundation holds ‘Simply Spring’ fundraiser

Photo by Ann Cipperly

By Ann Cipperly

As sunlight streamed through the windows at the Southern Room, decorative table centerpieces were getting last minute touches for Simply Spring, the third annual Southern Union Fundraiser Luncheon and Fashion Show.

Alison Osborn, administrative assistant to the president of Southern Union, was chairman of the event, while Beverly Corley, an English teacher and department chair of language arts. was in charge of the table decorations.

“When Alison approached me about this idea,” says Beverly, “I thought it would be a great way to get our name into the community and get people interested in what we are doing here. A lot of our students, especially in health science, work in the community. Our tech students also stay in the community.

“Alison asked if I could be in charge of table decorations,” adds Beverly, “which does not mean that I decorate all the tables. It means that I recruit people to decorate the tables.”

Some people purchase and decorate tables themselves. While others buy tables for the event who are not interested in decorating, there are staff and employees at the college who enjoy decorating.

“We have people sign up to decorate the tables,” she says. “We have in-house decorating with the employees and staff. It is a good-hearted contest, but it sets the tone to make it something special for those attending.”

They have judges who select the best tablescape for four themes. This was also the first year for a “people’s favorite.” Jars with the number of the table were placed in the back of the room. Every dollar donated counted as a vote, which gave $450 to the scholarship fund.

“Even though we appreciate all donations,” says Beverly, “some people feel awkward only donating a few dollars. This event that encouraged people to vote for their favorite table for $1 allowed many people to participate for a few dollars and raised a nice sum of money.”

Best Overall Table was decorated by Catherine Stringfellow; Most Elegant decorated by Steve Spratlin (sponsored by Fincher-Coffin Real Estate); Best Education/Academic Theme winner was decorated by the Honors Committee (sponsored by Huntingdon College); Best Theme was provided by Health Sciences Division (sponsored by EAMC); and the People’s Favorite with the most votes/money raised was decorated by Alison Osborn and sponsored by Debbie Wood.

“I was a student at Southern Union,” says Beverly, “so I think about my efforts in something like this can enable someone else who otherwise would not have a chance to attend.”

Others involved in the event are Mindy Reynolds, MC for the fashion show; Sarah Cox, food service coordinator; Darlene Andrews, coordinated models; and Will Crenshaw, technical consultant, who provided audio and visual support for the event.
The luncheon and fashion show sponsors were Chicken Salad Chick, donating the lunch, and East Alabama Medical Center. Runway sponsors were Fincher-Coffin Real Estate and Glynn Smith Chevrolet-Buick.

Huntington College was the presenting sponsor for the market place held outside the Southern Room prior to the luncheon. “We have a representative from Huntington on campus,” says Alison, “and they offer night classes at Southern Union.”

Table sponsors were Alabama Power Co. and Debbie Woods. Marco’s Pizza was a Gold Sponsor.

Models for the fashion show are students, faculty and staff. Belk, Fringe and Therapy Boutique provided the fashions.

“All of the funds raised from the event go to the Southern Union Scholarship Program,” says Alison. “The money goes to students who might fall outside the conventional scholarships. They might not qualify for conventional financial aid. The funds raised go to local students.”

“We are trying to fill a gap,” adds Dr. Kelli Hodge, member of the Southern Union Foundation. “There are families who are in the middle range. They make too much for a scholarship but not enough to afford the expenses for an education.

“I want every person who is committed to getting an education can get an education.

“In 2013, we provide three students with just over $10,000 in scholarship money,” says Kelli. “In 2017 we provided 18 students with over $70,000 in scholarship money.

“Because you are here, a student will get to continue their education in the future.”
The foundation hosts other fundraisers throughout the year, including a golf tournament at Moores Mill, the Great Gatsby Gala and a Stampede 5K walk or run at the Sportsplex.

The event provided a lovely luncheon and fun fashion show in a gorgeous setting, while raising funds to enable students to receive an education and reach their goals in life.

“We want to grow this event for people to look forward to it every year,” says Alison.

In the middle of the fashion show, desserts baked by staff members and employees were auctioned. Following are the recipes for the scrumptious desserts sold at the auction. The Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake was purchased at the auction for $150 by Oline and Randy Price.

Ann Cipperly can be contacted at


The Pound Cake Lady’s Recipe
Jane Blankenship, Instructor and Department Chair, Transitional Education
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 stick margarine, softened
3 cups sugar
3 cups cake flour
6 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 325. Spray a deep tube pan (angel food cake pan) with vegetable spray with flour such as Baker’s Joy or Pam for Baking. You may also grease the pan with vegetable shortening and flour it, but the spray is much easier.
In a large mixing bowl combine butter, margarine and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure each is incorporated well before adding the next. Add flour a little at a time alternating with the whipping cream. Add the vanilla. Beat until thoroughly mixed.
Pour or spoon into the cake pan. Bake for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. Start checking every 15-20 minutes after the first hour by sticking a tooth pick, skewer, or knife into the center. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. It will be crusty on the top.
Let it cool for about 30 minutes before you turn it out on the cake plate. Let it cool completely before slicing. It is delicious if it is still warm, but slice carefully.
Top with your favorite toppings or eat it plain.

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake
Joy Branch, History, Ethics, and Sociology Instructor
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Streusel Topping
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cold butter
½ tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and milk. Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries and spread into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.
For topping, combine sugar and flour, then cut in butter until crumbly. Add vanilla. Sprinkle over batter. Bake 35-40 minutes.

Brownie Trifle
Beverly Corley, English Instructor and Language Arts Department Chair
13 x 9-inch pan of brownies, prepared
1 large pkg. instant chocolate pudding prepared according to pkg. directions
1 container Cool Whip
1 pkg. Heath toffee pieces
Layer half the brownies; top with half the chocolate pudding, half the package of Heath pieces, half the Cool Whip. Repeat with remaining brownies, chocolate pudding, Cool Whip, and end with toffee pieces.

Sweet Potato Pound Cake
Vernecia Menifee, Maintenance
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups cold mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. grated orange peel
3 to 5 tsp. orange juice
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; add to creamed mixture alternately with sweet potatoes. Beat just until combined (batter will be stiff).
Pour into a greased and floured 10-in fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For glaze, in a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, orange peel and enough juice to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over cake.

Buttermilk Pie
Mindy Reynolds, History and Sociology Instructor
3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 Tbsp. flour (self-rising)
¼ cup whole buttermilk
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
1 refrigerated piecrust
Place crust in a pie plate sprayed with cooking spray. Prick with a fork in several places.
Mix all ingredients with a whisk. Pour into the piecrust. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until set and a little browned.

Carrot Cake with Buttermilk Glaze and Cream Cheese Frosting
Catherine Stringfellow, Registrar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can flaked coconut
l cup chopped pecans
Buttermilk Glaze
Cream Cheese Frosting
Line three 9 inch round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease
and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
Stir together first 4 ingredients. Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients
at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour
mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and
next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick
inserted in center comes out clean.
Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire
racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on
wire racks.
Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and
sides of cake.
Buttermilk Glaze
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup butter
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
Cream Cheese Frosting*
1 ¼ cups butter, softened
3 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
7 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
*I use extra icing to decorate cake.

Chocolate Cake
Rosario Thomas, Financial Aid Clerk and Veterans Affairs Coordinator
Butter and flour for coating and dusting the cake pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
1½ cups warm water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch cake rounds. Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes.
Divide batter among the three pans. I found that it took just over 3 cups of the batter to divide it evenly.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely.
Frost with your favorite frosting and enjoy!
Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
1½ cups butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tsp. vanilla extract
7-8 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup milk (as needed)
Beat butter and cream cheese. Slowly add remaining ingredients, blending well.

Key Lime Cake
Lisa Turner, Office Management Instructor
Key Lime Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs
2 Tbsp. key lime zest
¼ cup key lime juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla flavor
Note: Key limes are not the same as regular limes. They are smaller and lighter in color and have a milder flavor. They will make for a better tasting cake. However regular limes can be used as well.
Key Lime Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
4 oz. unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
8 oz. cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
2 Tbsp. key lime zest
2 Tbsp. key lime juice
For the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare three 9-inch cake pans for baking by coating with nonstick spray.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside in a bowl.
In a mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar together for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time.
After adding all the eggs, scrape down bowl and alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients by 3rds. Mix on low until well incorporated. Add lime juice and vanilla.
Fill the pans ½ to ¾ full with batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until thoroughly done.
Place on bakers rack until completely cool.
For the Frosting:
Mix cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time.
Add lime zest and lime juice. Add green food coloring, if desired.
Note: add more juice for thinner icing or more sugar for thicker icing
Ice the cake after it has completely cooled and store in a refrigerator.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
Nancy Bramlett, Distance Education Coordinator
This cake is worth the wait! It is easier to make the cheesecake and cake layers one day, freeze both for several hours or overnight, and then assemble the cake the next day while layers are still frozen.
Cheesecake (middle layer of cake):
Two (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Red Velvet Cake
1 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cocoa
2 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. bottle red food coloring
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 box powdered sugar
1 or 2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
Shaved white chocolate bar for garnish (optional)
Cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 325. Place a large, deep roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a large bowl of water in microwave to boil.
Prepare a 9-inch spring-form pan by wrapping two or three layers of foil around the outside bottom and up the sides of the pan. This will seal the pan so that when you cook the cheesecake, the pan will remain waterproof. Spray the inside of the pan with nonstick spray and place a round piece of parchment paper in the bottom.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend softened cream cheese until smooth and no lumps remain. Mix in sugar and salt and mix for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Finally, mix in whipping cream, sour cream, and vanilla. Blend until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared spring-form pan. Set the spring-form pan into roasting pan in pre-heated oven. Pour the hot water you heated in microwave into the roasting pan until the water is about 1 inch deep around the outside of the pan (be careful not to pour water into cheesecake).
Bake cheesecake for 45 minutes until set to touch. (When you shake the pan slightly, the cheesecake should be firm.) Remove spring-form pan from water and let cheesecake cool on a wire rack for about an hour.
When it has cooled, place pan into freezer and let cheesecake freeze. This can be done overnight to save time.
Red velvet cake layer: Preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour two round 9- inch cake pans. Mix all dry ingredients together.
Add remaining ingredients in order as listed, mixing well. Pour half of the batter into each prepared cake pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, just until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Do not overcook. Cool cake layers on wire rack for about an hour and wrap in wax or parchment paper and place in freezer. Allow to freeze overnight.
Prepare frosting: With blender, mix cream cheese and butter together until well blended. Add powdered sugar in thirds, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.
Add one or two Tbsp. milk to improve spreadability. If desired, add chopped nuts and mix well.
Putting the cake together: This is the easy part! Cake should be put together while layers are still frozen. Place one red velvet layer on cake plate; place the frozen cheesecake layer on top of the red velvet layer; add the second red velvet layer.
Spread prepared cream cheese frosting on top and sides of the cake. Garnish top with shaved white chocolate or piped icing, if desired. Allow to finish thawing (about an hour) before serving. Store leftovers (if there are any) in the refrigerator.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Butter Cake
Nichole Bennett, Student Services
1 box Kroger Butter Recipe Cake Mix
3 eggs
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine, melted or 12 tablespoons
3.5 oz. box vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup pecan pieces
In a mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix and eggs. Mix well with mixer.  Add milk and melted margarine, cream cheese and water and continue mixing.  Batter will be thick. Fold in blueberries and walnut pieces. Spray cake pan well. Cook in preheated 350 degrees oven for 55 to 60 minutes until center is cooked.
Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from pan.
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups (more or less) confectioners’ sugar
Mix ingredients in a small pan over low heat on the stove, stirring with a whisk until melts and desired consistency. Punch holes in cake with toothpick and pour glaze over cake. Use any remaining glaze to pour over individual pieces.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Tyler Laye, Assistant to the Dean of Academics
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cocoa
2 oz. red food coloring
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 cup buttermilk
Cream shortening and sugar.  Add well-beaten eggs and vanilla.  Sift flour, salt and cocoa 3 times.  Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk.  Blend in food coloring.  Dissolve soda in vinegar.  Fold into batter.
Pour batter into cupcake holders in a muffin pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Do not overbake.
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 stick salted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla (clear)
1 box confectioners’ sugar
Soften butter and cream cheese at room temperature.  Cream well.  Add confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until creamy.

My Mother’s Pecan Pie
Cindy Calhoun, Child Development Instructor
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, melted
3 Tbsp. flour
4 eggs
2/3 cup white Karo syrup
2 cups chopped pecans
Melt butter, add flour and sugar, mix well. Add eggs and Karo syrup mix until smooth. Add pecans and pour into pie shells. Bake at 325 until firm – about 45 minutes.
Makes two 9 inch pies.
You can substitute 8 oz. of flaked coconut in place of pecans for coconut pies.

Strawberry Cake
Sarah Cox, Director of Technical Education
This recipe is my Grandmother Newman’s recipe. You can tell it is old as it calls for oleo.
1 lb. oleo
8 eggs, separated
3 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 tsp. red food coloring
1 cup strawberries, drained
Cream oleo and sugar, save 6 Tbsp. sugar to fold in egg whites. Add egg yokes. Beat well. Add flour and baking soda. Beat egg whites with 6 Tbsp. sugar until stiff. Fold in cake batter. Fold in berries and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
1 stick oleo
1/2 cup berries, drained
1 box powered sugar
Combine ingredients. Spread on cake.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Janie Prickett, Secretary to the Dean of Technical Education and Workforce Development
1 stick Crisco baking stick butter flavored all-vegetable shortening
1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking soda
12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375. Beat shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix slowly into creamed mixture until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill mixture.
Drop by rounded Tbsp. of dough three inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake until lightly brown, about 8 to 12 minutes. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.


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