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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in my kitchen · more cake, please

week #15 cherry cheese danish bundt

Week 15 was a bit of a gamble.  I didn’t really have anyone to bake for, so I decided to test something that I was considering baking for a wedding shower brunch in a few weeks.     My idea was to create A bundt cake that was like having a cherry cheese danish.

What came out of the oven was pretty yummy – but it wasn’t totally what I was hoping for.  The cherry and the cream cheese all sand to the bottom of the cake while baking.  So, I’m still thinking about how to try again, and what to differently.  I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out, if and when I complete a re-do.  I know for sure I’d do a cream cheese topper, possibly with more cherries too!

For now, here’s what it looked like!

Cherry cheese Danish cake

Ingredients:

Golden cake mix
4 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup milk
cherry pie filling
small cubes of cream cheese (about 4 oz.)

Instructions:

Prepare your pan with baking spray.  Mix ingredients (except the cheese cubes and pie filling) on medium for 2 minutes.  Pour half the batter into the pan.  Scoop cherry pie filling around the center of the pan.  Then pour rest of the batter to cover the pie filling.  Take the cubes of cheese and scatter around on the dough.  ThenBake at 350 for 45 minutes.

more cake, please · Uncategorized

Cake #14, at a wedding shower

I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled programming to tell you about something that turned out more wonderful than I hoped!  I considered doing a cherry cheese danish bundt for week #14 – but, I postponed those plans to week #15 in order to bake something much better.

A dear friend of mine has a daughter getting married in two months, and so I was helping with the details for a wedding shower when I had an epiphany!  This bride loves fruity things more than chocolate (which I cannot comprehend, but whatever), so I decided to remake “Aunt Belva’s Pound Cake” into a lemon pound cake!

The outcome was fantastic- even better than I dreamed.  (And, yes, of course I dream about cake!) The cake was dense but creamy and sweet yet sublimely sour at the same time.  I happened to “overhear” (yes, I was eavesdropping on the cake discussion) several women saying that my lemon cake was the best they’d had.  I’ve been prancing around on cloud 9 ever since…

If you need Aunt Belva’s Pound Cake recipe, just search under the “more cake,please” category and you’ll find it.  I used that recipe and I added the zest of a lemon to the cake batter as well as 2 tsp of lemon extract along with the vanilla extract that the recipe calls for.

For the frosting/glaze:  I creamed together 4 oz of softened cream cheese with 2 tbsp of butter.  Then I added two cups of confectioners sugar and the better part of 1/4 cup of lemon juice.

Here are a few photos of the cake,  the scrumptious party food we served at the shower, and the lovely bride-to-be and her mother.

Aunt Belva’s “lemon-y” pound cake.

chocolate cake (yes, its the chocolate cake donut bundt)

strawberry hand pies

nutella pastries and chocolate dipped strawberries

my partner in crime for the morning.

My dear friend, Deb and her sweet daughter, the bride-to-be!

Uncategorized

For this, I have Jesus


It’s turning out to be a day like most- orthodontist appointment for my big girl, a few errands, school work, lunch with some friends, laundry, and choir this afternoon.   There’s chicken thawing on my counter so we can grill out tonight.  The seasons are changing and we can look forward to fresh food cooked outdoors- it’s my favorite!

“They” say that the more things change, the more they stay the same- and that seems to be true in my life.  The world keeps turning us thru change upon change, and I keep needing to multitask things like folding laundry while I read a “new” read aloud from our school list to my little people.

My cousin Amy sent us an email recently, sharing a few thoughts from my beloved Grandma B.  One of the most beautiful things I had ever heard came from that email.   She said in the good times and the bad :”For this I have Jesus”.  It happens to be the title of a Song and an Our Daily Bread devotional.

It’s an idea I’ve known in theory my entire life.  Jesus is with us through every moment.  But- to claim it in such a fashion!! For this (fill in the blank here) I have Jesus.
For the never ending laundry, for the cooking and cleaning, for the arguments and resolutions, for the hurt feelings, for the illness, for the pain, for the unfulfilled dreams, for the misunderstandings, and the list goes on and on and on…

Every moment can be lived in peace and claimed by the power of Jesus because He gave His life for us and yet lives for us.    No matter how many more times this world turns while I’m alive, this is one thing I know will remain the same:   For all my days, I have Jesus.

in my kitchen · more cake, please

week #13: Strawberry buttermilk bundt pt 1 (yummy failure) and pt 2 (success)

I set out to experiment with how to make a Strawberry Buttermilk Bundt cake.  It was kind of  an idea for a  “breakfast-ish” cake.  Seriously – I’m always looking for reasons to eat cake for breakfast.

It isn’t quite strawberry season, so I used ingredients like strawberry jello and strawberry jam.  And look, I enjoy a cake from scratch, but I’m not afraid to work at doctoring up a cake mix either!

The first go-round I used too many heavy ingredients and the cake sank about halfway through baking. You can see in the photo of the slice, how it indents – that’s where it sank.   I was terribly disappointed because I was supposed to share this cake with friends!   But, let me tell you!  It was very rich and moist!  My family loved partaking in my unfortunate mistake!

Strawberry buttermilk part 1 (fail)

Ingredients:
White cake mix
1 small Strawberry jello box
Four eggs
½ cup yogurt
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup jam
½ cup oil

Instructions:
Prepare bundt pan with baking spray.  Mix ingredients together, on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Bake at 350- for 50 minutes.
This cake sank while baking, so, I won’t be sharing this one with friends!

 

Here’s what I whipped up instead!

 

Strawberry Buttermilk Bund (part 2)

Ingredients:
White cake mix
1 small Strawberry cream pudding box
4 eggs
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup oil
½ cup jam, heatened to thin, drizzled/ swirled into  the cake batter.

Instructions:
Prepare pan with baking spray.  Mix ingredients (not including the jam) at medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Pour batter into pan, then gently swirl jam into batter.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

This cake turned out much more soft and lightly moist, but not nearly dense as the first cake.  My friends enjoyed this version of the cake, and I did too!  I might make this one again… I certainly will keep trying this idea once strawberries are in season.