cheryl chef south mountain adjSouth Mountain Memory Care - Chef Cheryl Feist
Why do you want to work in a senior living community?
I take great pride in working with the senior population who may no longer live alone and cannot prepare homemade meals any longer so sometimes they resort to prepackaged or frozen foods. Most days you become their personal chef.
How do you modify recipes to make sure they are healthy?
There are so many different options to modify recipes to make them healthier. You can use puree or mashed fruit, pureed beans or soft tofu. I like to revise and do a taste testing with staff before we serve it to our community. 

What are the best substitutes for sugar, salt or foods high in saturated fat?
The best substitute for sugar is raw honey, stevia or dates which are high in fiber. The best way to eliminate salt in a recipe is by using low sodium base or natural juices of meats. I like to use herbs and spices which we will be able to grow ourselves when our gardens are complete in the spring.
What is your approach to making consistently great meals?
I like to give residents a variety of options and an a la carte menu. Also I think it is important to follow recipes so the meals on any given day prepared by many different staff taste the same.
What is your favorite recipe to make for the residents?
My favorite recipe to make is chocolate cake with a peanut butter & ganache icing. It is by far not the healthiest, but everything in moderation!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups hot water (Or 1 cup hot water plus 1 cup hot coffee)
5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped and melted
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted), 2 large eggs
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting:
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt, 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, 1 ½
tablespoons milk
Chocolate Glaze:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons corn syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz. dark chocolate (chopped), 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS: For the Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line and grease two 8-inch pans with parchment circles.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix together on low speed for 1 minute.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot water, melted chocolate, butter, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and whisk quickly until combined so they don’t cook.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients all at once. Mix on medium-low speed until all combined, about two minutes.
5. Divide batter equally into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean.
6. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For Peanut Butter Frosting:
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and peanut on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
2. Add rest of ingredients and mix on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium and mix until light and fluffy.
3. Fill and frost cake with peanut butter frosting. Chill in refrigerator while making ganache.
For Chocolate Glaze
1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, milk, corn syrup and vanilla extract and heat over medium heat
until butter is melted. Reduce heat to low and store in the chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. Let glaze cool slightly until it appears to thicken. Pour over the top of frosted cake and allow drizzle as desired. Let glaze set before topping with candy. Serve!
2. Store refrigerated or an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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