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Cooking with Texas' Own Dr Pepper

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When the Texas Cooking newsletter included a recipe for Coca-Cola Cake several months ago, I could not help wondering if there was a classic recipe using Dr Pepper. After all, Dr Pepper is an original Texas product, having been invented at a Waco drug store in 1885.

A casual internet search turned up an incredible amount of information and gave me everything I needed to know, and more, about Texas' own soft drink. The people at Dr Pepper publish a little cookbook entitled Cooking with Dr Pepper and 7UP. They'll send it to you free if you call them at 1-800-527-7096 and speak to Consumer Affairs (* See alternative address below). That's what I did and, within just a few days, I received my copy, together with a nice letter thanking me for my interest. (Fans of Dublin Dr Pepper can find a full menu of ever-changing Dublin Dr Pepper collectibles.)

Now, it's only fair to say that the majority of the book's 146 recipes call for 7UP, not Dr Pepper. Even so, there are a goodly number of Dr Pepper recipes in each of the book's sections: Beverages (remember Hot Dr Pepper?), Breads, Desserts, Salads, Vegetables, Meats and Miscellaneous.

Dr Pepper Cake!

In my quest for the classic Dr Pepper dish, I noticed that some of the recipes called for a comparatively small amount of Dr Pepper. Cherry Nut Surprises, for instance, a really good-sounding cookie containing maraschino cherries, flake coconut and chopped almonds, contains a mere ¼ cup of Dr Pepper -- not enough, I'm afraid, to make it a classic Dr Pepper recipe. And while Dixie Jelly, which is essentially Dr Pepper-flavored jelly, has plenty of Dr Pepper in it, jelly isn't my idea of what a classic recipe should be.

I finally settled upon Moist Supper Cake as my candidate for the classic Dr Pepper recipe. While it does not taste just like a drink of Dr Pepper, itl;s flavor is quite unique -- something like caramel, but more. It is good, and the cake is indeed moist. The Broiled Frosting is an excellent topper for this unusual cake. Here's the recipe:

Dr Pepper Moist Supper Cake

  • 1-1/4 cups boiling Dr Pepper
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats (regular oatmeal is fine)
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Broiled Frosting
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light cream (half-and-half)
  • 1 cup grated coconut
Pour the Dr Pepper over the oats, stir and let stand 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cream shortening, add the sugars gradually and cream well. Add eggs, beating until mixture is fluffy. Sift flour with salt, soda and nutmeg. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, mixing well. Add oatmeal mixture and mix thoroughly.

Pour into a 9x9x2-inch pan, greased and floured. Bake at 375°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove from oven. Spread topping over hot cake and place under the broiler. Broil until bubbly and lightly brown. Serve warm.

Since I don't have a 9-x9-inch pan, I baked this cake in a Fiesta 9-inch x 13-inch pan, and it turned out fine. I did, however, decrease the baking time to 25 minutes, at which point it tested done. Even with the increased size of the cake, the Broiled Frosting recipe was large enough to accommodate.

[Editor's Note: Since this article was written, another Dr Pepper recipe has been added to Grandma's Cookbook: Dr Pepper Chocolate Cake.]

In case you were wondering, the Special Tips section of the Dr Pepper cookbook recites:

At this time, diet soft drinks, including Diet Dr Pepper and Diet 7UP, are NOT suitable ingredients when the recipe is cooked. The sweetness of aspartame-sweetened soft drinks is diminished by heat, and therefore, any benefit of flavoring would be lost.

The Editors also point out:

In addition to a multitude of uses in popular recipes, 7UP is an effective home remedy for use in keeping roses blooming for 7 to 10 days. Mix 1/2 cup warm water with half a can of 7UP and pour the mixture into the vase of roses. The sugar provides the food, and the carbonation in the 7UP kills the bacteria. Best suited for same day purchase or same day delivery.

Also, regular 7UP may be used to remove cat stains or odors. Just pour regular 7UP on the stain and blot well.

Bet you didn't know that.

And now for the fun and factual stuff: You may rest assured that there is no shortage of information on the Internet about Dr Pepper. There are many sites from which the information in this article was taken, some of which are listed at the end of this article. Here are a number of interesting facts:

  • Dr Pepper contains no prune juice -- never has; never will.
  • The oldest Dr Pepper bottling facility in the world is located in Dublin, Texas. In fact, in June each year, Dublin usually renames itself Dr Pepper, Texas, for a one-week period to commemorate the opening of that plant in 1891. The Dublin plant, incidentally, is the only place that is still licensed to make Dr Pepper with the original formula; that is, Dr Pepper containing cane sugar, rather than the high-fructose corn syrup that virtually the entire soft drink industry switched to in the 1970s. If you want to get your hands on some original Dr Pepper, and you're not lucky enough to live within the Dublin plant's distribution area (roughly within a 50-mile radius of Dublin), you can visit the plant and buy it, you can order it by telephone from Old Doc's Soda Shop at 1-888-398-10-2-4, or 1-254-445-3939, or you can order it from the Old Doc's Soda Shop web site at www.drpep.com.
  • There is no period after the "Dr" in Dr Pepper, and there hasn't been since 1950 when the company adopted a new slanted block-style font. The lower case "r" was formed by a slanted line with a dot at the upper right. When combined with a period, the whole thing looked like Di:Pepper, which just wouldn't do. They solved the problem by dropping the period.
  • Dr Pepper contains 39.6 milligrams of caffeine in every 12 ounce can, which amounts to just a little more than Pepsi (37.2mg), and somewhat less than Coca-Cola (45.6mg).
  • Dr Pepper is owned by Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., a subsidiary of the Cadbury PLC.
  • There are two Dr Pepper museums, one in Waco:

    The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute
    300 South 5th Street
    Waco, Texas 76701
    877-DPGIFTS (toll free); 254-757-2433
    Dr Pepper Museum

    and

    Old Doc's Soda Shop
    105 E. Elm
    Dublin, Texas 76446
    888-398-1024 (toll free); 254-445-3939
    Old Doc's Soda Shop

And finally, since this is the Internet, treat yourself to a visit to the official Dr Pepper web site at www.drpepper.com. They have gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to give you a show, and it's worth seeing.

If you decide to give the Dr Pepper Moist Supper Cake a whirl, and I recommend that you do, drop me an email describing its taste. I would be interested in hearing other opinions about its unique flavor.

* Apparently, the pent-up demand for "Cooking with Dr Pepper and 7UP" has resulted in some tied up telephone lines in the Dr Pepper Consumer Affairs Department. If you have been unable to get through, you can write for your copy of the cookbook to:

Cookbook Editor
Dr Pepper/Seven-Up Companies, Inc.
8411 Walnut Hill Lane
Dallas, Texas 75231-4372

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