Barbie Butz e1607969318124
Barbie Butz is an independent columnist for The Atascadero News and Paso Robles Press; you can email her at

Despite all the roadblocks due to COVID, the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce has forged ahead and planned a virtual event for its Annual Gala and Awards ceremony. Planners are doing a great job, and invitations are out for “Speakeasy Night” on April 17. The virtual part of the evening will begin at 7 p.m., allowing guests to pick up their pre-ordered meal at either Guest House Grill or Don Q, in Atascadero, at an earlier time.

Josh Cross, Chamber President and CEO, and Vicki Lee, VP of Operations, along with their committee, have accepted the challenge of providing a special evening to celebrate Atascadero’s Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, and Non-Profit of the Year.    

At 5:30 p.m., guests with VIP tickets will enjoy a “tasting” experience, enjoying wine with Alta Colina, beer with Wild Fields, or cocktails with Forager Spirits. They will have picked up their tasting package and be ready to virtually follow the tasting procedure with a member from the participating businesses.  

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (805)466-2044. VIP tickets are limited, so order now!


I hope you celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and cabbage. Now you can enjoy one of those wonderful sandwiches with some of that leftover corned beef, or chop up some of the beef and add it to country fried potatoes or scrambled eggs. For the sandwiches, I use Orowheat Dark Rye or Pumpernickel. A slice of Swiss is always a good addition, along with a slice of red onion and stone-ground mustard mixed with a dollop of mayonnaise. Yummy!

I’ve been researching my copy of a great cookbook, published in 2007 by Assistance League of the Bay Area in Houston, Texas, titled Settings—Sunrise to Sunset. I wanted some light cake recipes for spring and particularly Easter. Here are a couple that I think you will enjoy.

Apricot Lemon Cake

1 package yellow cake mix
1 (3-ounce) package lemon gelatin
4 eggs
¾ cup apricot nectar
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 (1½ -ounce) bottle lemon extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cake mix, gelatin, eggs, apricot nectar, oil, and lemon extract in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan or bundt pan—Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool slightly and invert onto a cake plate. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and mix until smooth. Drizzle over the warm cake. Cake can be frozen.

Lemon Angel Cake

1 angel food cake (purchased or made from a mix)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
12 ounces whipped topping
Sliced almonds

Cut the cake into three layers with a serrated knife. Whip the lemon juice, condensed milk, vanilla, and almond extract in a bowl until the consistency of thick icing. Spread between the layers and on top of the cake. Frost with the whipped topping and sprinkle with almonds. Store in the refrigerator.

Apricot Brandy Pound Cake

1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
½ teaspoon rum extract
1/3 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange extract
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
½ cup apricot brandy

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat after each. Add flavorings and beat additional 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat creamed mixture while adding dry ingredients alternating with sour cream. Blend in brandy. Pour batter into a well-greased and floured 10-inch tube pan, or divide batter between two 5×9-inch greased loaf pans—Bake for 1 hour, or until cake tests done. Let cool before removing from the pan. 

Enjoy the weekend. Count the daffodils.