in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #49 peppermint hot cocoa Bundt

 

cake # 49

Peppermint hot cocoa bundt

Friends it is a busy time of year around here! So many rehearsals and concerts on the calendar, it’s hard to keep up. But I am working hard to keep up and finish these last few cakes of the year!

Last week’s cake, which I’m just now managing to post was wonderful! I combined to really yummy recipes to create something new! I used the recipe for milk chocolate pound cake, from several weeks ago and then the ganache from the recent Whoopi pie Bundt. I added peppermint extract to the cake and crushed candy canes to the top of the cake!

Guys! It was a winning combination! The cake is perfectly soft and dense with a milk chocolate flavor! Adding the peppermint made it just like tasting a cup of peppermint hot cocoa! Of course adding the ganache and candy cane put it over the top!

This is one of my favorites for sure!

pS: I made minis too, because that milk chocolate pound cake makes a huge amount of batter!!

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Cake #48- The Whoopi Bundt

     

Cake #48 was more of a concept I’m going to share with you, rather than an actual recipe, I guess.

I made two in different flavors, and both were super delicious!  I WILL be making these again!  I made a Chocolate Whoopi Bundt and a Pumpkin Caramel Whoopi Bundt.

Here’s what I did:  I made 2 of my favorite cake recipes. Once they were cooled I cut the cakes in half horizontally.   Then I spread cream filling over the bottom layer and topped with the second cake layer.  For the Chocolate Whoopi Bundt, I topped the cake with a ganache.  I included the ganache recipe below.  On the Pumpkin Whoopi Bundt I drizzled my yummy caramel bourbon sauce.

In my case I added cinnamon to the cream that I made for the pumpkin cake, and vanilla to the cream that I made for the chocolate cake.

Here’s the recipe for the cream, and I have to tell you – it is one of the best things I’ve made all year!  I could have eaten the whole bowl of filling with a spoon!  De-Lish!!!

Whoopi Pie Bundt Cream

10 Tbl. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (7 oz.) carton marshmallow creme
pinch of salt
1½ tsp. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar

Whip butter and marshmallow cream together, slowly add vanilla, salt and powdered sugar.  Add the sugar in small portions until you have the desired consistency

Chocolate Ganache:
½ c. chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
3 Tbl. whipping cream

Place chocolate in a bowl, heat cream in microwave or on stove until bubbly, then pour over the chocolate.  Let stand for 3-4 minutes and then stir until smooth  and ready to spread on cake.

 

in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #47 – confetti bundt

Simply put, I needed something (and quick) to take to a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted to bake something that would have a broad appeal.  I couldn’t help but think about funfetti cake mixes, so I decided to try a homemade version, with lots of brightly colored sprinkles.

And I do mean lots.

I found a recipe on Bunsen burner bakery’s blog.   This time I dont’ think I made any changes at all.  With all of the bright colors and the easy-going almond and vanilla flavors, it is sure to please everyone!

 

INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE CAKE:
4 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sprinkles

 

FOR THE GLAZE:
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkles, for decorating

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour bundt pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Continue to beat until ingredients are fully incorporated and smooth. Add in the sprinkles and mix until evenly dispersed.
Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back gently when pressed with a finger. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before glazing.
To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar for thicker glaze or more milk to thin. Pour over the cooled cake, letting the glaze drip down the sides of the cake. Decorate liberally with sprinkles.

 

 

a bit of history · in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #46 Gingerbread Bundt with double rum glaze

 

If you know me at all, you know that one of my favorite things to bake, especially at Christmas time is a gingerbread blondie.  It’s one of my absolute best baked goods that I love!  So it’s only natural that I might want to to try making a gingerbread Bundt!  I found a wonderful recipe on Pinterest from King Arthur Flour’s website.

One thing I was looking for was a cake recipe that made a really warm and spicy batter, so that I would top it with a bright, cool flavored rum glaze!  and in fact I wanted to do two different glazes!  Crazy, right?  The first was a sugar rum glaze I poured over the cake while it was still warm in the pan.  the second one, I made with cream and rum flavor and painted it on to create a nice crunch glaze like what you might find on a Donut.  yum!!!

Here’s the recipe:

CAKE #46 – Gingerbread Bundt with double rum glaze
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons gingerbread spice; or 2 1/2 teaspoons ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup water

GLAZE #1
1/3 cup rum or water
1/2 teaspoon gingerbread spice; or 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar

GLAZE #2
2 tbsp cream – or two preferred consistency
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp rum extract

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10- to 12-cup bundt-style pan.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, gingerbread spice, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the molasses.
Add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the water, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Bake the cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the water spice and sugar. Set aside.
Remove the cake from the oven, cool it in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a rack.
Brush the cake with the glaze, and allow it to cool completely before serving.

 

 

a bit of history · in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #45 – Queen Elizabeth Cake

My mom often reminisces with me about her experiences as a child, learning to cook and bake with her mom. One of the things she remembers is helping her mom make Queen Elizabeth Cake.  The thing is, normally the QE cake is not a Bundt cake.  but today, in my kitchen it was!

I should be clear – this is not the cake my mom used to make with her mother.  This is a bundt cake that might remind you of the Queen Elizabeth Cake.  I wanted the flavors to remind my mom of something special!  I hope it does!

This is what I did:

Ingredients:

Golden cake mix
coconut pudding mix
4 eggs
one cup chopped dates
one tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup oil
1 cup almond milk

 

Topping:
3 tbsp butter
5 tbsp grown sugar
2 tbsp creamer
1/2 cup coconut
chopped nuts

 

Instructions:

preheat the oven to 350.  Chop dates and sprinkle the baking soda over them in a bowl.  Then pour 1 cup boiling water over the dates and let them cool.  Mix the remaining ingredients together – on medium speed for 2 minutes.  then, fold in the date mixture into the cake batter.  spray flour/butter into the Bundt pan.  Sprinkle coconut over the bottom and sides of the pan.  then spread batter into then pan and bake for 45-55 minutes.

When the cake is done and partly cooled remove from the pan to an oven save cake round or plate.  Then make the topping by melting the butter in a small pan and add sugar, creamer and coconut and bring to a boil form about 3 minutes.  Spread topping over the cake.  At this point you should set the oven on broil and put the cake back into the oven to brown.  I accidentally put my cake on the wrong round that I could not put back in the oven, so I wasn’t able to put mine into the oven.  So sad.  but I did sprinkle chopped pecan over the topping!

Here’s hoping my mom really enjoys it!

 

 

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Cake #44 Pumpkin Maple cake with browned butter frosting

 

In the fall, I look forward to all things pumpkin.  Specifically, I love my Grandma Brubacher’s pumpkin pie, which has very strong maple overtones.  It is my favorite!

So, this week, my cake is a tribute to Grandma B’s pie.  And, really, it turned out beautifully! Unlike so many of the others I’ve gotten to taste his one and I think it may be a keeper!

here’s what I did:  I used last week’s pumpkin cake recipe, but made a few changes.

Ingredients
FOR CAKE:
2 and ¼ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
2tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. salt
1 and ⅓ cups canned pumpkin
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp maple extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 eggs (I use extra-large)

extra cinnamon sugar for the pan.

browned butter frosting:

1/2 cup butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp maple flavoring
a few tsp of cream

Melt and brown the butter until the butter gets a nutty fragrance and begins to brown, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the sugar, then add add the cream and wet ingredients. Whisk until smooth. Pour warm frosting over cooled cake.

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a Bundt pan (I use a Bundt pan with 10 to 11 cup capacity) with Baker’s Joy (or grease and flour). Then create a coating by sprinkling a thick layer of cinnamon sugar all over the inside of the pan.  Set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Mix pumpkin, buttermilk, vanilla and maple extract in another bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer and a large bowl), beat the butter and sugars until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures, alternating (beginning and ending with flour mixture). Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for about 60 minutes (I recommend checking at 45-50 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (crumbs on the toothpick are okay since it should be moist). Cool about 10 minutes and remove from pan. Then frost.

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Cake #43 – pumpkin pecan spice bundt

Guys!  I’ve been baking a cake a week for 43 weeks now.  Truly, some weeks have been more stellar than others.  Some cakes have been delightful, others not so much!  But this week’s is divine!  It’s that simple!  The crumb was perfect and the flavor was just what I was looking for in a pumpkin – fall – flavored cake.  This one definitely rates pretty high up there on the keeper list!

(I found this recipe on Pinterest, on the cozycakescottage blog! However, I did a few things to make it my own, and I did not make a frosting this time. )

Ingredients
FOR CAKE:
2 and ¼ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
¾ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 and ⅓ cups canned pumpkin
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
3 eggs (I use extra-large)

extra cinnamon sugar and pecans for the pan.

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a Bundt pan (I use a Bundt pan with 10 to 11 cup capacity) with Baker’s Joy (or grease and flour). Then create a coating by sprinkling a thick layer of cinnamon sugar all over the inside of the pan.  Sprinkle chopped pecans win the bottom of the pan. Set aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. Mix pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer and a large bowl), beat the butter and sugars until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures, alternating (beginning and ending with flour mixture). Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake for about 45 minutes (I recommend checking at 40 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (crumbs on the toothpick are okay since it should be moist). Cool about 10 minutes and remove from pan.

I dare you to let this one cool, but I bet you’ll find you need to eat this one warm!!!

 

 

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Cake #42

This week brought around a unique opportunity to bake for a brunch we were having for our Sunday School teachers at church.  Our children’s minister asked for people to bring food – and so, I thought it would be fun to sign up and bring a Bundt cake!  But what to bring???  I found what sounded like a yummy recipe online – Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake.

The recipe had all the ingredients to make it moist and delicious, so I thought I should try it!  I had second thoughts about the whole thing since I was baking it for a lot of people and I’d never made it before.  I used to believe I should never bake something for a crowd that I had never tried before.  Well, I’ve had to get over that this year, right? I’m giving away new cakes that I’ve never tasted to people and I have to be okay with it!

Snickerdoodle – normally is a yummy light, buttery, cinnamon tasting cookie that I love to make in the fall.  But, it was perfect for this occasion.  Also, I did sneak into the kitchen after the teachers had been served and snuck a bite.  Guys!  It was just right:  not too dense, perfectly moist and really did taste just like a snickerdoodle cookie!  🙂 update: because this cake was sooooo good, I was hired to make 2 more for a men’s prayer breakfast!  How exciting!!!

Here’s the recipe:(from DozenFlours.com)

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

Yield: It really depends on how big you cut the slices. Traditionally a 9″ Bundt should serve about 12, but if you cut the slices smaller, you can feed about 18 to 24.

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup white sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

Instructions:
In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Mix together really well and set aside. Preheat oven to 325F.
Here’s the exact way I made the crust: Using a spray product like Pam with Flour (I LOVE this stuff — seriously its changed my life!), generously spray a 9 inch Bundt pan, being careful to cover all the nooks and crannies, as well as the center tube. Don’t forget the tube, I almost did. Note: If you don’t want to use Pam with Flour, you can just grease the pan with shortening. Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. You should only need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar, but you want to try and evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube. Don’t rush. Save the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture and set everything aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat just the butter on medium speed for one full minute. Add the white sugar and mix for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and blade and add the brown sugar.
Mix for 2 minutes until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each for 1 full minute. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream; beat well.
Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture over top the cake. Spread the rest of the batter into the pan and sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over the top. (If you run out of cinnamon sugar, you can mix just 1/4 cup of sugar + 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon together for the top of the cake. It should be more than enough.)
Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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Cake #41 Maple Cream Bundt and a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you!

Cake #41 Maple Cream Bundt and a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you!  🙂

Each year when Columbus Day rolls around in the United States, my family begins our time of Thanksgiving.  We start intentionally working at planning acts of gratefulness and thanks at Canadian Thanksgiving, and we celebrate all the way to American Thanksgiving late in November.

This year was no exception and so, I needed to (obviously) bake a cake.  Because it is fall, I thought it would be a good time to break out one of those “fall flavors” I’ve been waiting to try and so, I made this maple cream cake!  And friends – if you ever thought you needed to have pancakes and syrup in the form of a cake – this would be it!  It was moist and syrup-y sweet.  Fantastic.  We loved it!

Here is the recipe. (I found it on Pinterest, but made a few adjustments to make it my own. )

Cake #41 Maple Cream Bundt

For the cake:
¾ cups Canola Or Vegetable Oil
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Maple Extract
3 whole Eggs
1 cup Sour Cream
½ cups Milk
¼ cups Pure Maple Syrup
2-¾ cups Cake Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 Oz)

Frosting recipe
¼ cups Softened Butter
¼ cups Pure Maple Syrup
1 cup Powdered Sugar
½ teaspoons Maple Extract
1 cup plain whipped cream (optional)
½ cups Chopped Walnuts (for Garnish)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat bundt pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In large bowl, whip oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs together until combined.
In small bowl, stir together sour cream, milk and maple syrup.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.
With mixer on low, alternate milk mixture with dry ingredients until everything is just incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl and mix briefly.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan, level the top and bake 55 min-1 hour 5 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean after being inserted.
Remove from oven and cool in the pan 15 minutes. Poke small 1 inch deep holes into the top (which ends up being the bottom) of the cake and spoon 1/3 of the sweetened condensed milk into the holes and over the visible cake. Let this soak in 15 minutes and then turn cake out of pan onto cooling rack. {You may want to run a knife along the sides to ensure the cake will come out of the pan nicely.}
Poke more small holes {about 2 inches deep} into the top of the cake and spoon the remaining sweetened condensed milk into the holes and over the entire cake so it is completely covered. Let cake sit 1-2 hours so sweetened condensed milk can be absorbed.
Carefully remove cake from cooling rack and place onto cake stand. {It will be sticky!}
For the frosting, whip butter and maple syrup together until combined. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar until completely smooth. Spread frosting over top of cake and down the sides slightly. Top with chopped walnuts.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

a bit of history

Counting Joy

It was in my second grade classroom, in London, Ontario, where I learned the words.  Week by week our teacher, my beloved Miss Kerwin – who often wore the cutest little ballet flats with a lovely little bow – plotted our path towards memory.  And we did it.   Each morning we stood next to our desks and quoted this passage from the King James.

James 1

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

I still remember how the room looked and felt : the walls were a warm peach color, the school had a light musty old-ish smell, my strawberry shortcake lunch box was most likely packed with a ham salad sandwich, the small desk where I sat half-way back in the room on row three and practiced my cursive writing, and of course Miss Kerwin- whom I loved fiercely with my whole 7-year-old little heart (- and not just because she wore the best shoes).  All of this I recall – and yet, what stands above it all is this Scripture passage.

At the time I’m not sure I related the Scripture to my situation.  New to Canada, new to my neighborhood, new to my church, my school and everything else.   It was all a bit of struggle, but I’m not sure I knew it.  It just was.  And yet – these little verses stuck to me like glue.

I learned, even through the unknowns and the trials of second grade, to enjoy my life in that place, at that time.  I can look back now and see how much I grew in that classroom.  It was a stretching and changing and becoming.  It was all a part of a plan:  His plan was taking shape, creating me.   So many lessons : how to be patient making new friends, how to trust Him with all the unknowns, how to accept His timing in tough situations, how to respond to unkindness – and those were just the beginning…

Only now, as a 40-something, I look back and can see how many trials have been His grace to me.  Here’s what I know for sure: I can not become more like Him without the hardship. Even now with this knowledge,  I struggle to count my current trials and trouble as joy.  It is human nature, I suppose, to desire comfort above everything else.  Maybe that’s why He planned for me to memorize those Scripture verses early on in my life!

The good news? No matter how my heart is capable of responding, He is faithful to continue His work of renewing my heart, drawing me to Himself in each trial.  His love for me is greater and stronger than I can fathom.  His plan for me to become like Him is more wonderful than I could ever comprehend.  This knowledge is a beautiful gift that my heart counts as a true joy.

home schooling · more cake, please

Cake # 40 – Apple Cider Donut Bundt (second try)

 

This week I looked over the calendar and realized it was time to begin  testing some fall flavor ideas.  There’s a chocolate root beer pound cake I would love to try.  And a few spice and pumpkin cake recipes I’m looking forward to.  But first – there was a cake I wanted to make again and make it my own.

I first made the Apple Cider Donut Bundt for a friend earlier in the summer and I tried to make it mostly the way recipe assigns – but, I knew I wanted to do a few different things and see if I could improve the cake from something delicious into something incredible.

Well, I’ll tell you – I sent this baby to a youth event and it was consumed with fabulous reviews.  My daughter who has seen and tasted a lot of cake this year says this one may indeed be a keeper!  I may need to take her advice!

Here it is:  Cake #40. Apple Cider Donut Bundt.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup apple cider
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla butternut extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together 1 and 3/4 cups brown and white sugar, cider, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; whisk until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet; let cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Invert warm cake onto rack. Brush small sections of the cake with melted butter, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. (I did this several times – butter, sprinkle sugar, butter, sprinkle sugar)Let cool completely before serving. Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 2 days.

Give it a try!  I bet you won’t regret it!  happy fall, y’all!

 

friends and loved ones · home schooling

The 3 R’s of homeschooling

(My lovely kiddos pictured on our first day at a new co-op – Oh, don’t we look super happy! )

Its a mental picture of sorts I have – it describes how our school year is going.  We are about 6 or 7 weeks in to our academics for the 2017-18 year, and I have to tell you about it:

You know that little kid on the playground who is too small to keep up, but is always trying hard, scrambling along just behind everyone?

That’s me.

I’m that little kid shouting, “Wait for me guys, wait for me!”    Almost always a day late and dollar short.

Assignments late for a new co-op teacher?  Check.  Forget an extra appointment, even though its been on the calendar for months.  You betcha.  Trying to remember new passwords and order the right stuff for the right class but getting it ALL WRONG.  Absolutely.

I was looking back thru my journal and found an entry from August where I wrote out all of the “new” things implicated in the upcoming school year -and really it was sort of a prayer asking the Lord for help.  When I got to writing it all out it became clear just how much our year was going to be different from the last – and the whole thing was a little (okay, a lot) scary.  It looked like this:

new school year.  Help
new co-op.  Help
new choir.  Help
new friends and relationships.  Help
new technology.  Help
new requirements.  Help
new classrooms.  Help
new schedules.  Help
new books, teachers, expectations.  help help help!
new expenses, new emotions. HELP!

So, I tried to encourage myself with these words:  New is good.  New is hard.  New stretches.  New is healthy.

It worked just a little.  But then, I thought about the real way to homeschool.  I learned this way back in the early days, but I always forget.  My heart is prone to wander from the truth.

I know beyond any doubt that homeschooling, this year, is what God has for our family.  And with this knowledge I can homeschool using the three Rs.  You may not know them…

Remember.  Remember His faithfulness – that He already has done big things and He will continue to accomplish through me what He has called us to do.  

Rely.  Once I get around to remembering (which is more difficult than one might think) I need to rely on that faithfulness – rely on His goodness, His mercy, His provision.  HE will do it. 

Rest.  I can calm down in the middle of all the “new” that we are experiencing.  Even if I feel like we can’t catch up, even if I feel like nothing is going the way I’ve planned, I can rest in HIM.  He is the author of this story, not me.  I can let my heart remain in HIM.  

 

“I am the vine and you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

 

 

 

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Cake # 38 Kentucky bourbon cake with caramel bourbon glaze

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Well, long time, no cakes,  right?  I promise, I’ve been baking! We’ve had a little glitch with our technology around here and that’s complicated things a bit (to say the least).  But I’m up early this morning, with a good cup of coffee and I’m catching up!

The good news is – two weeks ago I made a cake for a friend’s birthday and it turned out to be pretty darn good!  I took the Kentucky butter cake recipe that I tried back several weeks ago in the summer and turned it into a Kentucky bourbon cake. I also took my favorite caramel sauce recipe and made it into a caramel bourbon sauce.

Here’s the recipe:

Kentucky Butter Bourbon Cake with Caramel Bourbon Sauce

Cake:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp bourbon
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk

bourbon butter glaze:

1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp Bourbon

Caramel bourbon sauce:
3/4 butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tbsp water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 tbsp Bourbon

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325.  Prep the Bundt pan.  Put all of the cake ingredients in the mixer – mix on low for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for three minutes.  Pour batter into the pan and bake for 65 -70 minutes.

Make the butter glaze once the cake is finished baking.  Combine all of the glaze ingredients in a small pan over medium heat – just until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolves. Do not boil.  Poke holes all over the cake and pour most of the glaze over the cake.  When the cake is cooled, invert it onto your serving platter and cover with the remaining glaze.

at this point I made the caramel sauce – combine the butter, brown sugar and water in a small pan.  Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then remove from Heat and stir in evaporated milk and bourbon.  (1/2 cup for moderately thick sauce, 3/4 cup for a thin sauce.  ) serve the sauce warm with the cake.

I think the cake would be super yummy without the caramel bourbon sauce.

 

 

in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #37 popcorn snack bundt

On this cake journey, Ive found myself wishing for a diversion- something different.  I don’t always indulge in that desire because there are just too many cake recipes to test!

But this week, I let myself try a new idea!  A popcorn cake!    It was kind of like salty snacks meet rice krispy treats and combine into a cake! It was super yummy – the kids loved it and it was pretty simple, although sticky, to make! Really, it is a lot like a giant popcorn ball.   It seems like the perfect treat in the fall!

I used the recipe from cookiesandcups.com – its a great site with lots of good recipes!   Next time, I’m going to experiment and make this recipe more my own – maybe with other mix-ins, and some peanut butter somewhere in the gooey mixture.

Cake #37 Popcorn cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bags of microwave popcorn, popped with unpopped kernels removed
  • 2 cups M&M’s and Reese’s pieces
  • 1½ cups broken pretzel sticks
  • 16 oz mini marshmallows (8 cups)
  • ½ cup butter

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a large tube or bundt pan by spraying with cooking spray. (I actually lined my pan with press and seal instead – and the cake came out of the pan no sweat) In the bottom of the pan sprinkle a few m&ms to make the top of the cake look colorful.
  2. Microwave the 2 bags of buttered popcorn, dump in a large bowl and pick out the unpopped kernels.  Add the other mix -ins- 2 cups of M&M’s and 1½ cups broken pretzel sticks to the bowl.
  3. Melt 1 stick of butter over low in a large saucepan and then add in a 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows (8 cups). Stir until melted and smooth and remove from the heat.
  4. Allow it to cool for about 2 minutes, while stirring constantly and then pour it over your popcorn mixture.
  5. Stir until all the ingredients are combined and then press into the prepared pan (I make sure I grease my fingers really well for this step).
  6. Cover with foil and let your cake set for at least an hour to cool and set up.
  7. When you are ready to serve the cake, Flip your pan over onto your serving platter. Your cake should come out pretty easily if you lined with press n seal.

 

friends and loved ones · in my kitchen · more cake, please

Chocolate mascarpone Bundt and a happy birthday!

Cake #36 was a delight to make because it was for my husband’s birthday – we chose a recipe for Chocolate Mascarpone Bundt Cake.   And, yes, it was very yummy!  Michael’s parents came over for a birthday dinner and shared cake with us!

There’s not a lot to say here, simply because it was a good recipe – and it turned out well!  However, I would say – don’t bake it the full time as recommended.  I baked this one just over and hour and I’m afraid it was just a tiny bit dry around the edges!

Chocolate is so complicated when it comes to baking because it is hard to tell when it is finished baking.   I believe that if there is cocoa in the recipe, the cake bakes and then dries out quickly.

Here is the recipe from thebakingfairy.net.    It is definitely worth attempting!

Cake #36 Chocolate Mascarpone Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup {10.5 tbsp} unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz mascarpone cheese {about ¾ cup}
  • 1¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1¾ all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a bundt pan very well.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the sour cream and mascarpone, and mix until combined.
  • Add in the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, and beat until creamy and fluffy.
  • Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, and bake for 60-70 minutes (I wish I had only baked it for about 55 minutes, instead of 60), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cake cool slightly in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

happy birthday, Michael!

 

friends and loved ones

Hold me tight

My sweet girl sat on my lap at the doctor’s office, a quaking mess, nervous and jittery.  She’s a bigger bundle than she used to be, but she still fits.  “Should I hold you tight?” I asked – and she’d nod.  I wrapped my arms around her and held on tight.   Truthfully, we were both a mess.

She was scheduled for a small procedure.  If we knew then what we know now, we probably wouldn’t have been so shaken. But, there were many unknowns : how long would it take, how much it would hurt or how long it would hurt…  and as we waited our heart-rates soared to new heights.  And I, I just tried to hold her as snug as I could – so she’d feel secure.

Honestly, I had been dreading the event ever since we put it on the calendar.  I mean, who wants to plan on pain?  As I wrote it on our family daytimer, I had such a heavy heart.  It is one thing to take a journey like this for myself – its another thing entirely to schedule something painful for your child, even if it is for their good.

As we waited, I just kept whispering in her ear, “I’ll hold you tight. I promise.”

You know, I’ve never had the little procedure she had done, so how did I know she’d want to be held?  Because often I need to be held just as tight…

Don’t we all?

 

Last night we sang a song in rehearsal, and I love the words to the chorus – I’ve been singing it all morning…

He’ll hold you
When the tempest rages all around
He’ll hold you
Plant your feet on solid ground
He’ll hold you
When the waves come crashing down
He’ll hold you through it all.

It reminds me of the words Jesus says in John 14, when He’s been telling His disciples what they need to know before He goes back to Heaven. That may be an oversimplification of the passage, I suppose, but towards the end He gives them this promise in verse 27:

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

In the middle of the night, when I’m in the darkest places, I’ve found myself calling out, even begging “Hold me, please…”  The Holy Spirit is always there whispering – “Dear one, I already am.”

He promises – even when I’m not able to ask, even when I’m not sure of His presence – He’s there.  He never lets go.  In the very hardest, most painful places of insecurity, hardship and unrest – He is holding tight, offering supernatural peace for my unruly heart.

 

in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #35 Milk Chocolate Pound Cake

One would think that at week #35 I might be growing weary of cake.  I certainly expected to be reticent by now.  However, I don’t know how I could be with this in my oven!

Cake #35, looks and smells like the epitome of a perfectly light and sweet, chocolate pound cake. Thankfully, I needed to make a thank you gift for a friend and this seemed to fit the bill!  She said she only wanted a few pieces – and since I’m actually really wanting to try this one myself, we will go halve-sies.   (I don’t even know if that’s a word, but I’m saying it anyway.)

The batter was light and fluffy – and the cake calls for milk chocolate, so we are not dealing with a dark, rich, chocolate cake.  It uses one of my favorites : a can of Hershey’s syrup.

(My apologies about these photos!  I used my phone – and they are okay, but just not as good when I use my camera.  I got so excited about the cake, I almost forgot to take any photos, so in a hurry I grabbed my phone!  better pics next time, I promise!)

   

Here’s the recipe for Cake #35: milk chocolate pound cake

( I found this recipe on Pinterest as Granny’s Chocolate Cake, on the blog : cookingbythewater.wordpress.com. It is super simple, but, I think it is going to be very, very yummy!  I will say that I’m hopeful it isn’t dry after baking so low and slow… )

Ingredients
2 sticks margarine (softened)
1/2 cup Crisco
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1 – 16 oz. can Hershey’s chocolate syrup
.
Directions
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Cream margarine, shortening, and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time, and beat well.
Add vanilla.
Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with milk.
Add chocolate syrup.
Mix well.
Bake in greased and floured 10-inch tube pan for 1 hour 45 minutes.

in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #34 Lemon Pound Cake and a happy birthday!

Cake #34 – Lemon Pound Cake – is actually the famous recipe from Lady Bird Johnson.  I can tell you, it is baking right now and smells fabulous!

This cake is shipping out later this week to our friend Shannon, up in Columbus, for her birthday!  I’m so excited to share a cake with her.  She said she loves lemon, so I’m hoping this fits the bill!  What I’m looking forward to is this fabulous glaze I’ll paint on when the cake is cooled – it is different than other glazes I’ve made before!  I think it is really going to make the cake’s flavors POP!    One confession:  I did not sift 3 times.  only once.  In Shannon’s honor, I’m breaking the rules!  lol!

LADY BIRD JOHNSON’S LEMON CAKE

3/4 Cup Softened Butter
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
8 Egg Yolks
2 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 t. lemon juice
1 Teaspoon Grated Lemon Rind

 

Preheat your oven to 325° F.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until light and lemon colored.  Blend into the creamed mixture.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Resift 3 times.  Add the sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk.  Beat the batter thoroughly after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract, lemon rind and lemon juice.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Bake in a greased Bundt pan in the oven for 1 hour or until the cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool 19 minutes before inverting on serving platter.

 

LEMON GLAZE

2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 T. fresh lemon juice
1-2 t. buttermilk
Zest of one fresh lemon

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Cake #33 Brown sugar pound cake

Last week rushed by in a hurry.  Many events packed into what seemed like a few hours now appear to be just a blur.  All in the life of a mom with three kids trying to get the school year off to a good start.

Anyway, in the middle of all that craziness, I tried out a new cake to send up north with my mom for my Grandma B.  We can’t ship cakes successfully over the border, but we sure can hand deliver!

Grandma loves fruity things, cinnamon, and many other flavors, but not chocolate so much.  I was happy to oblige and explore the world of “non-chocolate” because so often I’m baking for folks who want chocolate.  I came across this simple pound cake (a bit similar to Aunt Belva’s pound cake, with cream cheese and vanilla), but it exchanged white for brown sugar.  Sounded good to me!

In the midst of finishing up the cake, I baked it for 80 minutes – the recipe called for 60-75 minutes.  But – I really didn’t want to send a dough-y, not finished cake to my grandma, who is an extraordinary baker.  However –  once I had it wrapped up tight and in the freezer to prepare it for sending with my mom, I began to have doubts!  It is possible I over baked it!  I’m really hoping I’m not sending a dry cake!

At any rate, I’ll have to keep you posted on how it all turns out and a few photos too.  Grandma should be able to catch a bite of the cake later today!

Here’s the recipe! (I found it on “asouthern-soul.blogspot.com”)

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 8-ounce package cream cheese – softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter – softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar – packed
5 large eggs – room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan, bundt pan or 2 loaf pans
  • Add cream cheese, butter and sugars to mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing well about, 1minute after each egg.
  • Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Combine buttermilk and vanilla in a small measuring cup and stir.
  • Alternate adding flour and milk to butter/egg batter – starting and stopping with flour.
  • Pour batter into buttered, floured tube or bundt pan.
  • Bake for approximately 1 hour or up to 1:15 hours.  Check if done with a cake tester or wooden skewer.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes then gently remove from pan.
friends and loved ones · in my kitchen · more cake, please

cake #32 Kentucky butter cake with caramel pecan bourbon sauce

A few weeks ago, a good friend of ours had a birthday.  I found out what kind of cake he might like and planned to make something yummy for him.  Do you know what happened?

I made a disastrous version of the cake.  It was terrible!  It was so bad I just could not even bring myself to blog about it.

Today I redeemed myself – I made a Kentucky Butter Cake with caramel pecan bourbon sauce.   And, I think it may be a winner!  The caramel sauce alone I could eat every day for the rest of my life it tastes so delicious.

I will be honest and tell you that I’m not sure the sauce has the exact texture I wanted, so I’ll be experimenting with it more.  However, in today’s form it was anything but terrible.

I used the same Kentucky Butter Cake recipe from cookies and cups blog that I’ve used before.  It is definitely a keeper.  Look back a few posts to cake #26 for that recipe!   But, here’s the recipe for the caramel pecan bourbon sauce – I hope it works well for you – and I promise, I’ll keep you updated on any success I have with it.

Southern Pecan Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon bourbon divided
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes until browned and fragrant. Transfer pecans to a cutting board and chop.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add sugar, corn syrup and 3 tablespoons bourbon. No need to stir. Have the whipping cream measured and next to the stove at the ready. Place saucepan over medium to medium high heat (depending on how hot your stove runs). Bring mixture to a rolling boil and watching the sugar mixture deepen in color. It will go from a light corn-syrup color, to light brown to amber. The change between light brown and amber is quick. Be ready for it. When it achieves a deep brown (not burnt) color, pour the cream into the center of the pan. It will steam and bubble vigorously — that’s ok. When it calms, remove it from the stove. Stir in the salt and chopped pecans. Let it cool for about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of bourbon. Transfer to a glass storage container. You can store sauce in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

 

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Cake#31. Black and white bundt

Cake #31 is a Black and White Bundt.

I found the recipe for it on King Arthur Flour’s website, so I feel fairly confident that it will be yummy.  Unfortunately, it is being delivered to the Ronald McDonald House for the evening meal, so I’m not going to know for sure one way or the other.

I can tell you, however, that the chocolate and vanilla marble,  the batter seemed just right, and the crumbs were super de-lish, so I’m hopeful!  It had a nice chocolate frosting, too – which, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a nice, smooth, chocolate-y frosting!   Maybe you should try this one, and let me know what you think!!

Here’s the recipe, from King Arthur Flour!

Black and White Cake (#31)

VANILLA BATTER

CHOCOLATE BATTER

  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for enhanced chocolate flavor
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa or natural cocoa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup vanilla batter, from above

ICING (OPTIONAL)

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa or natural cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan.
  2. To make the vanilla batter: Blend together the sugar, flour, salt and baking powder until combined.
  3. Add the butter, beating slowly with an electric mixer until the mixture is evenly sandy textured.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing until each egg is fully blended into the batter before adding the next. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
  5. Slowly add the buttermilk on low speed, then mix on medium speed until the batter is fully combined. It may appear slightly curdled; that’s OK. Sir in the vanilla at the end.
  6. To make the chocolate batter: Mix the cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and water together until combined. Stir this cocoa paste into 1 cup of the vanilla batter.
  7. Pour half the vanilla batter into the prepared pan, and dollop with half the chocolate batter. Repeat, pouring the remaining vanilla batter into the pan, and dolloping with the remaining chocolate batter.
  8. Swirl the two batters together using a thin spatula or butter knife.
  9. Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or perhaps with a few moist crumbs.
  10. Remove the cake from the oven, and cool it for 10 minutes in the pan before turning it out onto a rack.
  11. To make the icing: Mix the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, butter, and water to make a spreadable icing. Spread the icing on top of the slightly warm cake; it will slowly drip down the sides.
  12. Serve immediately, or within a day or so. Store thecake at room temperature; underneath a cake cover is ideal, but you can also tent it lightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for longer storage.

 

friends and loved ones · home schooling

everything will be okay… right?

I walked into the room, bringing a wave, no, a tsunami of tension with me.  She wasn’t facing me, standing at the table looking over her teaching materials, and I thought momentarily I might catch her off guard.  “Mrs. Jones,” I said, my voice lightly trembling, “I’m Emily’s mom and I… uh… we …” She whirled around, and stopped me with a gracious warmth in her voice.

Everything’s going to be alright.  Everything’s going to be just fine,” she said.  

I can still hear those words rolling off her lips.  Her eyes were shining brightly with the light of Jesus and she knew exactly what to say.  All of my worries and anxious thoughts were defused in just one moment.   It was a moment I will never forget.

That day was our first day of school in 2016, and Emily was nervous.  But I… I had taken up that nervous-ness right along with her.  All summer, I had coasted along confidently, happily believing we had made the best plans for Emily’s first year of high school. But, as the first day closed in, we both became less and less confident.

Some years are different than others for me in how and what I plan for our school work, but always, and I do mean always, I reach an anxious point.  And at that point, I pray frantic prayers to the Lord for help and wisdom and peace because I know that I can’t do this BIG thing He’s called me to do without His help.

Last year, He used Mrs. Jones to help calm my heart. (And by the way, we had a fantastic year – thanks to the goodness of the Lord!)   School starts tomorrow, but this year, we don’t have a Mrs. Jones.  And so, I’m remembering, His goodness – but also her words and her heart.

Because He is at the heart of our home school, I am confident:

Everything’s going to be alright.  Everything’s going to be just fine.  

And to everyone starting school, at home, or in christian, public or private classrooms – I pray you will live confidently believing :   He who promises to finish the good work He started, will be faithful!   Have a great year!!

in my kitchen · more cake, please

cake # 30 Crunchy Chocolate Chip Bundt

Well, this is my second cake this week, because, I’ve gotta catch up!  I decided to make one for my family, because they seem to think I never make a cake for them.  I thought about it for a bit, and chose the Chocolate Chip Bundt – maybe we can eat it for breakfast over the course of some busy mornings this week?

I have this sign that says “eat cake for breakfast” so, I’m trying to live by that.

The cake appears to be similar in texture to that of a muffin, and it is crunchy because there is a pecan-brown sugar topping.  I think it looks pretty yummy.   It is not difficult to put together, and would definitely be worth making, maybe even for breakfast!  🙂

Cake #30: Crunchy Chocolate Chip Bundt (from the blog bakeorbreak.com)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate mini chips

instructions:

TO MAKE THE TOPPING:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
  2. Stir the pecans, butter, and sugar together with a fork. Sprinkle the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan.

TO MAKE THE CAKE:

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
  3. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat just until blended. Mix in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
  4. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cool completely on wire rack.
 
a bit of history · friends and loved ones · in my kitchen

memories and a few teardrops

It wasn’t that long ago that I was looking online for dishes. Just a few months ago, I suppose.  I happened to mention the search to a friend of mine.  Little did I know she’d find them!

Specifically, I was searching for little glass trays with matching cups that have a tear drop design in the glass.   Perfect for a little snack and beverage, I’ve been wanting these little place settings because they would be just right for guests at a wedding or baby shower.

But really, that’s not why I wanted them.  I was looking at them because they remind me of GG, my dear Great-Grandmother, who used to serve us all manner of snacks and “splitzies” on those trays, with a little 7up in the matching cup.

When my friend texted me a photo, having found 8 sets at a local thrift store, I was elated.   I finally made it to the shop today, and I was relieved to find that they hadn’t been sold yet.  Of course, I bought all 8 sets.

Oh the memories that have been unlocked in my heart, just from seeing these little teardrop dishes today!   Her wonderful way of telling a story, the giggles and rolling laughter at her funny poetry, the crosswords, games of hide-the-thimble, strawberry picking, the snowballs at splitzie time (listen, I don’t have time to explain that one right now), the many books she read aloud to us,  her outrageous costume jewelry and that car of hers we road in around Ottumwa to the Hi-Vee or to the Baptist Temple – its all resting squarely, right on those little plates.

I’m so grateful for my GG, and her example of loving life, loving us, and loving Jesus.  Mostly, when I look at these dishes, I remember her, and I’m inspired to do the same!

 

in my kitchen · more cake, please · Uncategorized

cake # 29

Cake #29 is a lovely Lemonade Cake with Fluffy Lemon Frosting.

My hubs bought me this delightful magazine by America’s Test Kitchen called, “Great American Cakes.”  He also got me a new bundt pan!  Let me tell you,  I have love, love, loved looking thru it and figuring out which cake to make first in the new pan.

I decided on the Pink Lemonade Cake – which by the way, mine was not pink.  The recipe was a little more complex and a lot more high maintenance than I like to tackle.  But, this one was worth it.

Now, I have to be honest and tell you that I did not follow the recipe in total – and so, when it said to NOT prepare the pan with butter and flour, I did not believe it – and I did it anyway.  Unfortunately, that resulted in the cake not coming out of the new pan very well.  However, fluffy lemon frosting to the rescue, right?

We have a friend coming over tonight, so, we will share the cake with him.

As I said, the recipe is super long, so – I will share the ingredients here, but – you can look the instructions up on ATK, if you want the full recipe!

Ingredients:

Cake:
5 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 recipe of fluffy lemon cream cheese frosting

Frosting:
8 tbsp butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

 

Uncategorized

don’t cry over spilt milk

Well, you may or may not have heard that my laptop died. Specifically, my children killed it with a glass of water.

Friends, I was not able to take my own advice.

I cried over that glass of water.  A LOT.  So many important ideas and lists and thoughts were logged on that machine!  It almost felt like I lost a part of me!

One of the results of my Mac dying, along with the fact that we were out of town for 8 days, is that I got a little bit behind in cake baking and blogging.    This is life, ya know? But, I’m gonna catch up!   I’ve got some serious baking to do!  And, I can blog now, thanks to my mom loaning me her laptop for a bit.

Thanks, Mom!

Guess what guys!?!  While we were out of town, my hubs got me a new bundt pan!  And a cool new America’s Test Kitchen CAKES magazine!    I’m wiping away the tears – and its back to weekly cakes!

I’ll be posting in a few days, ok?!

Thanks for being patient with me!  I hope you’ll jump back in on the journey with me!

Melody

 

 

friends and loved ones · in my kitchen · more cake, please

cake #28 – not a bundt birthday cake

My son, Isaac turns 11 this week. It is quite mind-blowing to think he is going to be 11!  At the risk of sounding a little ridiculous, I have to say, I just don’t know where the time has gone.

Isaac has the best sense of humor, always making us laugh and living up to his name which means laughter.  Anyway, when my sweet boy who brings us so much joy, told me that he did not want a bundt cake, but that he wanted a layer cake with a lot of frosting, I knew what I had to do. I decided to take a one week hiatus from making bundt cakes.

We celebrated early on the 4th because daddy was home from work, and grandparents were free!  We had cake and presents, and celebrated Isaac and his life.

Here’s the cake I made:

I made a chocolate cake with a lot of chocolate butter cream.   I used a chocolate fudge cake duncan hines cake mix, with 4 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1/3 cup of oil, and chocolate pudding mix.

My chocolate butter cream recipe was taken from the wilton’s website:   1/2 cup crisco, 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup cocoa, 5 tbsp of chocolate milk and a bit of vanilla.

I decorated with peppermint buttercream and mint oreos because my boy loves mint and chocolate.  Mmmmmm.

Guys!  It was fanatastic!

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in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #26. Half-way to the finish line, Kentucky Butter Cake.

Guys, I’m officially halfway thru the year of bundt-cakes!  I can hardly believe I’ve made 26 cakes!  Who knew I could manage this – and keep up with life?   Truthfully, I’ve enjoyed it!  I’ve come to look forward to my baking time each week!

Well, week 26 is a Kentucky Butter Cake.  I made it for my friend Lisa, who helped me out with making a few t-shirts for Scenic City Children’s Choir.  She definitely deserves cake!

When she told me this was her favorite cake, I had a feeling it would be a hit.  I found a good recipe (read:it has lots of butter) and got to work.   Honestly I can tell you that I’ve never seen such a light and fluffy, yet rich cake batter!  I had a tiny taste of the batter – it was RIDICULOUSLY DE-LISH!!!  It may look simple, and un-assuming, but seriously, this is a must-try for your list, and I don’t say that every week! (Do I?)

Here’s the recipe, from cookiesandcups.com

Kentucky Butter Cake

Ingredients:

Cake
  • 1 cup butter, cubed at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Butter Glaze
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C
  2. Grease a 10″ bundt pan (I use pam spray with flour)
  3. Place all the cake ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for 30 seconds and then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65-75 minutes until a toothpick entered into the center comes out clean.
  5. When the cake is done make the glaze. Combine all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Do not bring to a boil.
  6. Poke holes all over the warm cake (I use chopsticks) and pour the glaze evenly on the cake while still in the pan.
  7. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.
  8. I made this cake a day in advance, hoping it will be more moist and flavorful after resting overnight.

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in my kitchen · more cake, please

Apple Cider Donut Bundt

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine gave me a bunch of beautiful, lovely, much needed hand-me-downs for my Mackenzie!  I was so blessed by this wonderful gift, I promised my friend a cake.     Time went by and I realized that I still needed to make that promised cake!

After discussing what her family might enjoy, I browsed my pinterest page for ideas.  I found the PERFECT option (thank you to Martha Stewart) : Apple Cider Donut Bundt.  The write-up sounded like this cake was right up my friend’s alley.  I made a few changes, but- stayed true to the recipe otherwise.

When I baked the cake, the smell from my oven was AMAZING!  It was all I could do to not take a warm chunk!  But, I resisted the urge and got the cake to my friend quickly!  Within minutes of giving her the cake, I got a text!  They loved it!  She did say that maybe it wasn’t quite the texture of a donut- so, I’m gonna work on that a little bit!  Otherwise this may be a contender for the “keeper” list!

*****  Hey, friends!  When week 26 is completed, I’m going to post a “half-way-thru-the-year” review of my favorite cakes!  I would LOVE to hear from you if you’ve tried any cakes and loved them!  By the end of week 52 I would like to have a list of “best” cakes to draw on… you know, in case I go into business and need to create a menu of sorts! 🙂  ***********

Here is the recipe!  Seriously, you really might want to try this one!

Apple Cider Donut Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan (I used 1/4 cup of butter)
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used only all-purpose flour this time)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups natural cane sugar (I used regular, every day sugar)
  • 1 cup apple cider (I used part apple juice, part sparkling cider -because I dare you to find real cider in June.)
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups sugar, cider, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; whisk until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

  • Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet; let cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

  • Invert warm cake onto rack. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Let cool completely before serving. Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 2 days. (While working on this coating, I painted butter on a small section of the cake, sprinkled cinnamon-sugar immediately, and then moved onto another section.)

 

 

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friends and loved ones · in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #23 – Lemon Rhubarb at the beach

Week 23 was approaching and I realized that, indeed, I needed to bake cake #23 in advance because we would be on vacation at the beach.

I’m a real sucker for some seasonal fruits, like blueberries and strawberries and especially rhubarb!  I have a love for rhubarb that cannot be measured. The aroma of rhubarb baking, brings back memories from childhood.    There is nothing like hot rhubarb crisp from the oven, with softening vanilla ice-cream running down into canals around the  warm and chewy fruit dessert.

But, alas, I cannot actually make a rhubarb crisp for my cake-a-week challenge – so, I did the next best thing.  I made a lemon rhubarb bundt to take to the beach with us.     The flavors of this cake are crisp and bright – and makes a sweet and sour explosion in your mouth with every bite! As much as I love chocolate, this might be my favorite cake so far!

Here is the recipe from the warmvanillasugar.com site.    I made a minor modification, using lemon extract and lemon juice from a bottle instead of lemon zest  in the cake batter and fresh lemon juice in the glaze because I forgot to pick up a few lemons at the store.    oops.  It was still amazingly yummy!

 

 

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 lemons, tested
3 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp Kosher salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 cups rhubarb, diced in 1/2-inch pieces

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups icing sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl, beat together the softened butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and then add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the egg mixture along with 1/3 of the needed buttermilk and mix on low speed. Alternate with flour and buttermilk until both are fully incorporated.
  4. In a medium bow, or large ziplock bag, toss the rhubarb with the remaining two tablespoons of flour until the rhubarb is well coated. Gently fold rhubarb into the batter with a rubber spatula until it’s distributed evenly.
  5. Turn out cake batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to gently spread and level it out.
  6. Bake for about 60-70 minutes, or until the cake springs back gently when touched and a toothpick inserted into it comes out clean.
  7. Allow cake to sit and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking together all the glaze ingredients until smooth. Thin with extra lemon juice or thicken with more powdered sugar as you see fit.
  9. When the cake is cooled, tip it out onto a serving plate and generously drizzle cake with the lemon glaze.
  10. Slice and enjoy.

 

friends and loved ones · in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #22 – Welcome Neighbors! Lemon Blueberry Bundt.

We learned a few weeks ago that some friends from church were moving into a neighborhood near ours.  And I couldn’t resist making them a little “house warming” treat to welcome them!

I’ve been toying with the idea of a lemon blueberry bundt, so I decided to practice my recipe on them!  I can’t wait to hear if they like it!

Here’s what I did:

Cake #22 – Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake.

Ingredients:

Classic White Cake mix
small lemon pudding
3 eggs
1 cup Fresca
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup of blueberries

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients (except the blueberries) on medium speed for two minutes.  (maybe scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway thru, to be sure all of the ingredients are combined well.)  Set the oven at 350 and prepare the pan.  Pour 1/3 of the batter into the pan, sprinkle with berries.  Pour another 1/3 of the cake mix and sprinkle again with blueberries.  Bake for 45 minutes.

When the cake is cooled, remove from the pan and prepare a lemon glaze.  mix powdered sugar with a bit of lemon juice until you have the consistency you want and gently pour over the cake, or paint lightly with a pastry brush.

Here’s to the lovely, fresh flavors of summer!  And Here’s hoping our new neighbors enjoy their special treat in their new home!  😉

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friends and loved ones

In the middle of the busy month of May,

my baby girl turned 8.    How in the world did that happen?  Time really does fly, friends, but, that is a subject for another time.

Let me tell you about our celebration!

Mackenzie, is my sweet, spunky, youngest baby.    She loves her family, loves to play outside and loves all kinds of board games.    When her birthday rolled around, her desires were simple.  A few friends and family to celebrate,  a cookie cake with ice-cream sundaes –  her gift wish list was even simpler.

Since she is so simple in her “wants”, we had little to go on as far as gift ideas.  But, my hubby came up with a fantastic idea! (He never fails to amaze me with his gift-giving skills.)   She loves being outdoors so much, we decided to clear an area of our side front yard and  surprise her by hanging a tree swing!  It was a huge hit!   She and her cousins and friends partied, swinging all day long!

I love who this precious girl is becoming – and I’m completely amazed and thrilled that we get to be her parents!  I can’t wait to share the coming with year with her and all the possibilities it holds!

Thank you, Lord for the goodness you’ve shown to our family by blessing us with the gift of Mackenzie!

 

 

 

 

friends and loved ones · in my kitchen · more cake, please

cake #21 black oil bundt

Okay, friends! Week 21 rolled around and I realized it was time to bake a birthday cake for my dear friend, Leslie.

This is my sweet mom, my friend,Leslie, and I at a Lookouts game just last weekend.  We chatted the time away at the game.  But, while we talked, I managed to squeeze out of Leslie (hopefully without her knowing) what kind of cake she might like.  Now, I know Leslie loves a good red velvet cheesecake – but, I’m making bundt cakes – not cheesecakes… so, I had to figure something out!  She mentioned a “black oil cake” – and I had never heard of that!

Of course, my curiosity was roused and I went home in search of a black oil cake recipe.  Guess what I found?  It is chocolate cake – but not just any chocolate cake!  It is dark, rich, thick chocolate cake full of egg yokes and buttermilk, covered in more satin-y smooth chocolate.

I had to go for it!  And, according to Leslie it was phenomenal.  Her family devoured it!  That makes this baker’s heart super happy!

Here’s to a Happy Birthday for Leslie and  to finding a new amazing cake recipe!  🙂

Cake # 21  Black Oil Cake

Beat together:
1 cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla

sift together and add to the wet ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1/2 c cocoa ( I used hershey’s dark)
2 cups flour
1 tbsp soda
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all of the ingredients, then add 1 cup  of boiling water and stir gently until combined.  Pour into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour.

When the cake is mostly cooled, remove it from the pan and make this frosting:

Ingredients:
1 stick of butter, 6 tbsp of buttermilk, 3 3/4 cups of powdered sugar and 4 tbsp of cocoa.

Instructions:
Bring butter, buttermilk and cocoa to a boil.  Remove it from the heat and add the sugar and vanilla.  You can add nuts, but I did not use nuts.  Pour over the cake.  ( did not use all of the frosting on the bundt cake, but I’m sure you’d use it all on 9×13 cake. )

in my kitchen · more cake, please

cake #19 fudgy peanut butter bundt

It is really hard to believe that week #19 is upon us!  How can that be?  I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun!  And friends, I really am having fun!

What’s really great about this adventure is that I’m getting to share cake with friends!  I had no idea just how much satisfaction would come from baking and giving it away.  So, when my dear friend Wendy (yes, I baked cakes for  two different friends named Wendy two weeks in a row) texted me and said she might like to be in on the bundt cake action, I could NOT say no!

I thought a bit about Wendy and her husband Richard and what they might like – and this is what I came up with: a Fudgy Peanut butter Bundt Cake!  Here’s how I made it:

Ingredients:

devil’s food cake mix (duncan hines)
1 cheesecake pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
1 diced peanut butter cup
hershey’s syrup
more peanut butter cups chopped (as many as you want) and mini chocolate chips.
fudgy peanut butter frosting: 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chips, a few tbsp of cream, 3 tbsp of Jif Peanut butter, heated in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time – whisked with a fork until smooth.

Instructions:

Mix first 4 ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes.  then fold in peanut butter cups and chocolate chips.  Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.  Let cool.  Remove from pan. Paint hershey’s syrup on the cooled cake with a pastry brush until the exterior of the cake is shiny.  Then, prepare frosting and drizzle/pour over top of the cake.    sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups and mini chips.

I heard from Wendy and Richard and they loved it!  Although, Wendy and I agreed this cake could stand to have more peanut butter flavors – but, she said it was really yummy! I think next time I might add more melted peanut butter into the fudge sauce – and maybe add some peanut butter chips to the top… or something along those lines!   Let me know if you decide to try this recipe – I bet you’ll love it, too!

.

in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake #18 Key lime pound cake with cream cheese glaze

Week #18 is Key lime pound cake!  I created this one for the second winner of my little competition back over Easter weekend.

In the spring time citrus just feels right with its bright and fresh flavors.  This cake, I believe, hit the spot!  I searched on pinterest of course for help on the recipe, and I found this gem on theirreverentkitchen.com!

Key lime pound cake (for Wendy Tate and her family!)

Ingredients:

  •  4 sticks butter, that’s 1 pound, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fresh key lime juice
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk, (I always keep a good number of those small, 5 ounce cans in my pantry.)
  • 4 teaspoons key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 300°.  Cover inside of 10 inch tube pan with non-stick spray.  My pan is 10  1/2″ and it’s just fine.  Set aside.
  • Using a stand-up mixer or electric hand-held, beat the butter well until light in color and fluffy.  Add the sugar and again beat well for at least 5 minutes.  I use a stand up mixer and beat the mixture 10-15 minutes.  I don’t like a “grainy” cake.
  • One at a time add the eggs and beat only until the yellow disappears.
  • Stir juice, milk, zest and vanilla together.
  • Now mixing by hand, gradually flour to the butter-egg mixture alternating with the key lime juice and milk mixture.  Begin and end with flour.  Mix well but just enough to incorporate all ingredients.  You don’t want a tough pound cake!
  • Pour evenly into the tube pan and tap pan on the counter to loosen any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool on a cooling rack for 20-25 minutes in the pan then transfer from pan to cooling rack and allow to cool another hour or until completely cool.
  • When it was cooled, I mixed a little lime juice and confectioners sugar and painted it all over the outside of the cake with a pastry brush.  I feel like this gives it a little extra zing!
  • After glazing the cake I sprinkled with lime zest and white sugar crystals.

Unlike previous cakes – I tried to follow this recipe exactly (with the exception of the last step).  Now the glaze, on the other hand, I just monkeyed with the following ingredients until I found the consistency I wanted.

Glaze:
4 oz cream cheese, confectioners sugar(a cup maybe?), lime juice (a tbsp or two), and cream (a tbsp?) and maybe a drop of lemon extract. – I whipped these ingredients until they were smooth and ready drizzle over the cake.

I was thrilled to hear back from sweet Wendy and her family!  They thoroughly enjoyed the cake!  Here’s a bit of what she said:

Our family’s favorite season is summer, &, if you ask us what summer tastes like, we’ll probably say “Summer tastes like key lime!” Oh, we might say it tastes like ice cream and watermelon & lemonade too, but key lime is always a main ingredient of summer!

And your cake? It hit every note just right… it was bright & lovely… the perfect springy taste that says, “Summer is on the way, y’all!!”

The cake was packaged perfectly… a delicious gift!

The cake was a good texture & so “clean.” I loved the lightly browned edges.

And the cream cheese icing glaze was marvelous!! It was Beth’s favorite part. In her words: “I could eat the icing w/ a spoon!”

The icing was a wonderful blend of sweet-tart, & the lime zest & sugar crystals combined in my mouth in a tasty little explosion of flavor!

Thank you, Wendy for such and kind and glowing review!  🙂

a bit of history · friends and loved ones

Grandma B turns 93!

Two women who are so special to me, my Mum and Grandma B.

My sweet Grandmother turned 93 years young yesterday.   I wasn’t able to travel north this time for the celebration, but I’m thankful my mom and dad were able to be there!

It seems like yesterday we were visiting my grandparents’ home in Goderich, Ontario.  But, it wasn’t yesterday – it was probably 35 years ago…

A confident homemaker and loving wife, my Grandma was a master in the kitchen and around the house – her cooking, baking and sewing – I only dream of accomplishing so well.  Her hospitality as a pastor’s wife was well known in the community, and likely around many of the churches in Southern Ontario.    Without a doubt, I can tell you she was an example of the Proverbs 31 woman.

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

Though her body has aged a little, much about my Grandma has remained the same.  My Grandma B is, and has always been, a beautiful godly woman. She is joyful and content, with a gentle smile and an encouraging word.

She has arrived at 93 with grace that the Lord has given, and I can only hope I might do the same.

Mom took part of one of my cakes to Grandma to share with her, so she could see what I’ve been up to with all of this cake-a-week business!  I can’t tell you how thrilled and proud I am to know she had a little taste of my baking and approved!   Here she is with a piece of the cake I sent!  🙂

I’ve been staring at photos from the party that happened earlier today, just slightly jealous that I couldn’t be there.  But, it makes me feel a little better to share the photos of my family honoring her today, here on my blog!  Its like I was almost there!  Thankfully, we will head north this fall and we will get to visit Grandma (and all the other family, too!) then.

Happy Birthday, Grandma!  We’ll see you soon!

a bit of history · friends and loved ones

25 and counting…

then

and now…  (not that much has changed, right?!)

In the fall of 1992 I was beginning my senior year at Bowling Green High School.  It was only my second year at the school, and my third high school to attend.  Needless to say it was a little rough on the emotions.

Senior Year is a big deal.  There are firsts and lasts.  beginnings and endings.  opportunities offered and doors closed.    Some of those occasions I remember clearly, and some I’ve forgotten by now.  But there is one part of my year that stands alone from everything else.

That year I met my best friend.  Like so many other life-events, you don’t know it is important until long after the fact.

I suppose we had actually met earlier in the spring of 1992 in our junior year, but our friendship began to blossom our senior year.  I can’t really tell you exactly how it happened – I can’t even recall how or when we met. It may have been because of common experiences, or similar family values, or because we spent a lot of time in choir together. But, regardless of all that, our friendship began- and I believe my life is so much different because of it.

Twenty five years is a really long time to be friends.  Most of that time our friendship has endured long-distance.  Long phone calls.  texts. emails.  Our face to face visits have been too few.  But, our relationship remains strong.  I’ve often thought that we could actually be on the phone with each other, and not actually talk, and still know what the other person was meaning to say. That’s how long-term friendships work, I guess.

All those memes you see on social media about friendship; they may seem silly, but they’re kind of true.  She is the friend who chooses to be my friend, in spite of my faults – who knows how to sing my song to me even when I’ve forgotten – who believes in me and inspires me to be better – who gets me into trouble, or keeps me from getting into trouble, or both – who knows the majority of my history and still doesn’t mind admitting she’s my friend.

Most of all, I’m really a better person because she chooses to put up with me.  I’ve watched this dear friend walk some of the most painful roads, filled with hurt and confusion.  She’s held her head high.  She’s worked hard and given herself away. She’s survived and even thrived.  She’s not only survived, she’s successful.  She’s a magnificent mother, daughter, sister and she’s my friend.  There is no one who inspires me more.  no one.

And it is her birthday today.  My dear friend, Chiara – Happy birthday, friend!  Your love and friendship means the world to me!  Here’s to our friendship of 25 years ( its the only real gift I have to give you) – and here’s to 25 more!

Love, me.

a bit of history · in my kitchen · more cake, please

cake # 16 – Raspberry Zinger, (aka – “try, try again”cake)

It seems that my mind is cluttered with too many summer vacation memories: pools and beaches and the scent of a particular sunscreen, and a favorite towel – and playing with my dad in the water (when he’d finally get in because, truly he is a big chicken and he hates the cold water.).  Almost equal in importance to all of that: there were the favorite snacks.

For our family, there was one snack that we all agreed was the best – and that was a Zinger.  Not just any zinger – there were vanilla and chocolate, too –  but for us, only the raspberry coconut zinger would do.  Now in case you don’t know – the Zinger was a Dolly Madison treat – (not a Little Debbie  or  hostess snack cake.) and it was a small sized cake, shaped similarly to the twinkie – it also had golden sponge cake and was filled with cream – but it was covered in a raspberry coating and coconut.  Zingers are hard to come by these days – and so, you guessed it,  I decided for Easter to try to figure out if I could make a Raspberry Zinger bundt.

Now,  if you’ve been following my cake adventure since the beginning, you might remember week #7 – the twinkie cake, which was a failure.  Oh sad times, those were- heart-breaking in fact!  But, after several conference calls with my sister and baking confident, Marilyn, discussing how in the world to have a moist cake, and still get the filling inside without it falling apart –  I felt brave enough to try again!

What can I say?!?  I’m a glutton for punishment!

 

Here it is!

Raspberry Zinger Bundt – cake # 16.

Cake Recipe:

Gold cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
2 cups coconut
small raspberry jello (with 2 cups of water)

Filling Recipe:

small jar of marshmallow cream
1/4 heavy cream
1/2 cup soft butter
3 cups confectioners sugar

 

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350.  Combine the mix, eggs, milk and oil in a bowl and beat on medium high for two minutes.  Prepare pan, pour batter in and bake cake for 60 minutes.  Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes, then flip out of pan.  The cake should cool completely before filling with cream.

Next fill the cake with the cream.  Combine the wet ingredients and beat until  creamy – then add sugar and whip till smooth.    I then used chopsticks to make small tunnels  around the cake (on the top side of the cake, I only made 4 holes, but went both directions away from the hole)  – and then used a frosting gun with a long tip to fill the tunnels with cream.

Then boil two cups of water, mix in the jello mix and put it in the fridge  to thicken(I poured it in a pan, so it was spread out in a thin layer and could cool quickly).    When it begins to have the texture of a very thick syrup, or loose jelly, spoon over the cake.  Do a small section at a time and press the coconut all over the sides of the cake.  Be sure to cover the top (and the cream holes) with the coconut.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here are photos of the inside of my Zinger Cake, taken at our Easter brunch.  Guys, everyone loved it!  and I’m super excited that the cake was soft and light, with enough cream in the center.   Yay for second chances!   What’s true more than ever? If at first you don’t succeed,  try, try again!

 

 

friends and loved ones · who knows?

My Eternal King

We are at the end of Lent -40 days of contemplating sacrifice, ultimate sacrifice. After all this time of being a Christian – a Christ follower –  I don’t know if I can fully comprehend the reality of His sacrifice. But, over these last days I’ve come to realize this one thing :  Jesus is near; He is much closer than I expected.  And He is prepared to reveal Himself at every moment.   His sacrifice – His death and resurrection – made a way for me to know His presence more fully.

this Scripture, from Acts, put exactly what I’m experiencing:  Acts 17:27

“…that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.”

It seems like Lent is a time set aside for groping for Him, knowing I have a hope that I will truly find Him. Good news! This season I have found Him so very present!

In His majesty and glory, I found Him, watching my favorite tree bring buds into leaves this spring.  I know that sounds strange, but,  I am reminded when I see this tall, strong, beautiful piece of creation that my Savior, by the power of His resurrection, makes all things new!  He brings the dead of winter, into the new life of spring – and it is truly glorious!  Even as He brings this tree to life, He has regenerated my own heart to new life in Christ!

And He was in the poetry of song.  I share this piece because it is rich with the truth and the splendor of His sacrifice.  I’ve heard it many times in the past, but this spring it brought His work on the cross to life in my heart and mind!

My Eternal King

My God, I love Thee;
not because I hope for heav’n thereby,
Nor yet because who love Thee not
Must die eternally.

Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails, the nails and spear,
And manifold disgrace.

Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the hope of winning heav’n,
Or of escaping hell;

Not with the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord!

E’en so I love Thee, and will love,
And in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my Eternal King.

May I continue to grope for Him and find Him, not just now before Easter, but all year long!  Heavenly Father, Help my heart to be revived by your gracious presence in all of life’s moments!  amen.

friends and loved ones · in my kitchen

I’ve finally made a decision…

People have been asking; you may have been wondering.  I was too, you know.  Sometimes,  on less significant choices (chocolate or red velvet? strawberry or blueberry?), I am terribly indecisive.  This time it took even longer than usual to make my decision.  I mean, I wanted it to be just right.

Ends up that I had to ask my sister.  She’s good at this kind of thing.  I mean, she’s GOOD.  So, I texted for her help.  (If you can’t ask your big sister, who can you ask?)

What in the world should I call my little, on-the-side, cake baking business?   And, without hesitating, (seriously, it was seconds) she texted:

More Cake, Please. 

And it was done.  There could not be a better title for this small little adventure I’m on.

Eventually there might be a website and other fun stuff!  But, for now, you can follow all the crazy cake baking nonsense (and other general kitchen and foodie shenanigans) on Instagram at:   mor3cakeplease

That is all for now.  Just thought you might want to know.

 

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