in my kitchen · more cake, please

Testing 1,2,3…

I love to bake. You probably know that by now, if you read my blog much. The truth is, last year was a dream because I baked something new each week – it wasn’t easy, but I really thrived regularly trying new recipes.

Now that I don’t need to do something new each week for my cake-a-week challenge, I still find myself wanting to try new ideas. The good news is that because I’m baking for people in a little at-home business, I have found a way to keep trying those yummy new ideas! Each month I offer a cake of the month on my morecakeplease site – so I continually need to try fresh options!

This week happens to be my mom’s birthday – which is also the perfect opportunity to make a cake! I’ve known for a long time, since I was a little girl, that my mom loved “turtles” candy – caramel, chocolate, nuts – so, I thought I’d give this recipe a try. It looks pretty amazing! Warning: it uses a cake mix. I know, I know – its not exactly from scratch – but, I just could not help myself! I found it on http://www.iambaker.net. I think it turned out pretty well!

Fudge Turtle Brownie bundt

Ingredients:
Devil’s food cake mix
Duncan Hines fudge brownie mix
4 eggs
1 cup of oil
1 1/4 cup of water.
Toppings (caramel sauce, fudge sauce, nuts.)

Instructions: Mix together all of the ingredients but the toppings. Prepare pan and pour batter into the pan. Bake at 350 for about 50-55 minutes. When the cake is cooled, poke holes and pour caramel over the holes into the cake. Then dump the cake onto a serving plate. Top the cake with as much caramel and fudge sauce and sprinkle with nuts. make it as gooey as you like!

a bit of history · friends and loved ones

My Father’s World

 

As clear as tho it happened yesterday, I remember standing to the right of my desk in my first grade classroom. We were singing the hymn, what has now become a favorite, “This is My Father’s World.” My teacher, Mrs. Juarez, sang each verse with us, from our Abeka work book. While I do not remember who the class mates were that stood to my right or left, I know for sure I was wearing my favorite Buster Brown, brown leather t-strap shoes and all was right with the world.

This is my Father’s world,
And to my list’ning ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

How little I knew of what was to come. That little 6 yr old brown eyed girl had no knowledge of the heart break and sadness, sickness, war, disease and poverty that was on the horizon, or what had already happened in our world. No, life was simple and I could see his goodness in my existence.

But here I am at 42, and things are no longer as easy as wearing my favorite shoes. Often I find myself gazing heavenward, still believing this is His world, but wondering what in the world is He planning? In my own little place here, among friends and family, there is unreasonable illness, friends in poverty barely providing for their family, death of loved
ones – just to name a few afflictions. And do I dare even mention on a wider scale – the evil in our world that threatens our very existence, wars and shootings and plots against everything good and right and holy.

While sin and death are still a part of this world, His world, we will not escape the heartbreak. I don’t pretend to understand exactly what He is waiting for – I’d prefer He come back now – but, I do know He will keep His promise. He will come again. And with His return, everything that was so wrong will be made right. In the meantime, He promises to be with us in our grief and our pain. He is with us in the here and now of this world He created – He will not leave us alone without hope or comfort.

In the mean time -Matthew 5 makes big promises we can cling to for dear life.

3Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Thank you Heavenly Father for meeting us here, in this world you created – and for always being present in the middle of our questions and our needs. For all of us who believe, we join our hearts together and say, “Come back soon.” Amen.

friends and loved ones · who knows?

It never fails…

Last fall I began reading a series of books – “The Mitford Series” Which is a lovely set of novels that totally stole my attention from all important matters and immersed me into the lives of beloved characters.  I honestly have NO IDEA what I will do when I turn the last page of the final book.

At any rate, in the beginning of the first book one character shows resolve, in every situation, to pray the prayer that never fails.  No matter the circumstance, his heart and mind turn in that direction.  He goes through some rough stuff over the years, and it is always his “go-to” prayer.

What is that prayer you ask?

It is one short phrase from the middle of the Lord’s Prayer. “Thy Will Be Done.”

Let me be honest – initially I thought it was silly to take theological thoughts from a novel seriously.  Then I believed myself to be spiritually short-sighted for not thinking of it myself.  But, over time I’ve taken the short prayer for my own.

In my own life, where I attempt to be in control of plans and outcomes far too often, this mode of operation is terribly important. At first I thought it was just for when I was at the end of my rope, but now I know better.  It is for every possible moment – and I find myself thinking it all the time!

Thy will be done:

In my kitchen, when I’m baking 

In my dining room, with my children and their home schooling.

In our home, and all of the relationships with family and friends.

In my children’s choir lessons,  or at the piano when I teach.

At our church,

In our city, in our country

Each bit of work

All of our activities

Every thought… every word…

The list goes on and on.  Some things are easier to place in His hands than others.  Sometimes it’s easier to really mean this prayer when I’m praying for others, than when I’m praying it for myself.   However, I’ve never been so relieved, to come to the fresh realization that I don’t have to make things happen – I can rely on His will for what is best in every situation.  He never fails.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

more cake, please · Uncategorized

Not your average cake walk… And a sweet invitation!

 

 

It’s a matter of faith for me, guys! I don’t know how to put it in any simpler than that! I’ve been thinking and planning some – but mostly I’ve been waiting for some big billboard to be posted along the side of the road, lit up like the strip in Las Vegas, illuminating exactly what to do.

Guess what?

I’ve got nothing. Well, Except one thing. I keep hearing these words : “Take the next step.” I’ve adopted it as my mantra when I’m not sure what to do.  This journey requires more than I dreamed ; it is definitely not the cake walk I expected. But He is infusing me with the faith to take one little baby cake step at a time.

Last week the “next step” was creating the logo, and having a stamp made! It is the cutest ever! I know, I know that is a tiny, baby cake step, but I did it! (With significant help from my husband, of course)

So here’s the next baby cake step:

MORE CAKE, please is hosting a cake-tasting open house for our local friends and family!

Yes, that means you! I need you to come and taste my best and favorite cakes! All you have to do is tell me which ones you like best! There will be a drawing for free cake, and take home goodies too! I love cake, and a good party, so I hope you’ll come!

Saturday, February 3rd from 1-4
2109 Gold Point Circle Hixson,TN

RSVP to Melody at mor3cakeplease@gmail.com

Do me one favor? Let me know if you’re coming! I mean, if you don’t know for sure, I’d love for you to come, even if you didn’t rsvp. But if it’s a sure thing, I’d be glad to hear from you! Oh, and bring a friend, if you want! (There will be a face book event out there as well. You can respond there if that’s simpler for you!)

 

in my kitchen · more cake, please

What to do when you love baking cake…

It is a few days into the new year, 2018.  2017 was a very full year for me – a year full of cake.  52 cakes for the cake-a-week page, in fact.  And I managed to photograph and blog about (almost) every one.  I still can’t believe I did it, to be honest!  For the most part, I loved every moment of baking and experimenting and sharing.   Can you handle the truth?  All totaled, between the cake-a-week project, other opportunities and cakes that we gave as gifts- we think I made close to 100 cakes in 2017. (Kudos to Gladys, my remarkable stand mixer who never lets me down.)

The thing is, I love to bake.  I especially love baking sweets.  There’s just something about serving up a yummy treat and seeing faces brighten.  In a way, you might say that the end of a baking project is not when I pull it from the oven, or successfully free a cake from it’s pan.  A baking project of mine is complete when I know that it has made someone’s day special.

It wasn’t that long ago, a few years I guess, that I first understood how baking could be so fulfilling.  Friends of ours were down-n-out at Christmas time – no money for gifts, no tree to decorate, no extra for special treats : there was nothing.  But, they didn’t tell anyone- Michael and I had no idea.  That year we showed up at their door, dropped off a Coconut Rum bundt cake, wished them a Merry Christmas and left. It wasn’t until much later we came to know the truth.

Our friends told us, to our shock, that they hadn’t celebrated Christmas at all – in fact the only thing they had that Christmas Day to make it special was the cake we had brought them.    Please let that sink in a moment.  One cake.  For so many of my friends and family – Christmas is a time of extravagance.  No desire is left wanting.  Food, gifts, decorations – we have everything and more.  When they told us the situation, I nearly cried.  However, they remembered our gift with happiness and grateful hearts.

Since then, it has become so clear to me that there are many who are surviving.  They have the basic needs.  But, to have something special, something made thoughtfully with love and care – that is very rare for them.  You can’t imagine how my heart swells when I’m able to give a cake to someone that says, “I see you.  You’re important.  In fact you are so special, I made this just for you!”

Look, I know not everyone needs cake.  On a list of survival necessities, cake is not there.  However, there are many who need to know that someone cares about them.

So….

What am I gonna do about this love for baking?

I’m gonna bake.  I’m gonna sell cake to folks who would like to buy – and I’m gonna give cake away.  It is pretty simple really.  For every 5 cakes I sell, I will give a cake away – maybe to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, maybe to a family who needs extra care – who knows? Maybe when you buy a cake, you’ll whisper in my ear the name of someone who would benefit. I’m truly confident that God is going to show me where to give cake.

BUT, here’s what will happen first, before I get started.  I’m going to host a cake-tasting open house.  That’s right!  For those of you who live in the area, I’ll be inviting friends and family to stop by and taste.  Cake.  Cake. Cake.  So many of you have been a part of encouraging me about my cakes -and now I want you- really, I need you- to help me on this ever so yummy part of this cake journey.  You’ll taste and tell me what your favorites are! We’ll call it market research, okay?    Be watching – I’ll announce the details really soon, okay?

 

 

 

in my kitchen · more cake, please

Cake 52 – Happy New Year’s Root beer cake.

 

Yesterday, in preparation for a New Year’s Eve get together, I decided to make the final cake.  A Root Beer Cake!  Now choosing cake #52 was not an easy decision, but I love root beer and chocolate – so it seemed like this was the cake to finish up the “Cake-aWeek” year well!

I found this recipe in a “Sifted” magazine by King Arthur Flour, which is a fantastic baking resource.   It looked so amazing in the photos.   I my imagination it is a lot like a coca-cola cake.  But, of course, I don’t that for sure yet since I haven’t tasted it. Confession:  I did not use freshly grated ginger or smoked cinnamon (whatever that is…).

Root Beer Cake with Chocolate Root Beer Ganache.

CAKE
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground star anise
1 1/2 cups root beer, flat or fizzy
16 tablespoons (1 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
*The original recipe calls for smoked cinnamon; if you can find it, by all means use it.

GANACHE
1/4 cup root beer, flat or fizzy
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch-process or natural
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground star anise
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-cup Bundt pan, a 9″ x 13″ pan, or two 9″ round cake pans.
To make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a medium saucepan, bring the root beer, butter, and cocoa powder to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, cool for 5 minutes, then mix into the flour mixture.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and stir into the flour mixture. Fold in the grated ginger.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes for a Bundt cake, 35 minutes for a 9″ x 13″ cake, or 33 to 35 minutes for 9″ layers, until the edge of the cake begins to pull away from the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven. Gently loosen it from the pan around the edge, if you can. Place a cooling rack on top, across the surface of the cake. Very carefully turn the cake and rack over so that the cake (in its pan) is resting on the rack. Wait 15 minutes, then carefully lift the pan off the cake, jiggling it gently first to make sure it’s not stuck.

To make the ganache: Bring the root beer to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, then whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, spices, and salt until smooth and glossy. Pour over the top of the cake while still warm.

 

 

In case you’re concerned, or sad to see the year of the bundt cake end, be of good cheer:  I’m not done baking. In fact, I have a few plans up my sleeve for this coming year – and I hope you’ll keep reading, baking with me and dreaming about cake! There are many more recipes to be tested!

 

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

Prepare Him Room

 

For my entire life, and I do mean every year, I’ve heard the words to “Joy to the World” at Christmas time. Not one holiday season has passed without the opportunity to heartily sing out the hymn with gusto.   “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King!  Let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing.”

This year I heard these words in particular everywhere I went: “Let every heart prepare Him room.”  The lyrics seemed to follow me around and I could not escape them.

Every heart.

Prepare.

The thing is, every year when Christmas rolls around, my life turns into a ridiculous flash of activities and I don’t prepare – at least, not like I should.  But this year, with the words echoing in my ears, I began to ask Him sincerely, “How can I prepare?  What can I do to make room  for You this Christmas?”

The answer seemed to tiptoe in the back door- and I wasn’t prepared for how He was making room…

Over the holidays I love to bake gifts for friends and family.  On one trip to Wal Mart, Michael and I ran into an old friend who had come on hard times.  After chatting with Him, I felt so strongly – I whispered to Michael maybe I should make a cake for his family, – but I wasn’t sure we would run into him again.    I felt so strongly that if I was to bake a cake for him, it would work out!

A week or two later, I walked into the very same Wal Mart after a morning of making several cakes.  Believe it or not, I ran into our friend again and was able to leave a cake with him.  Someone who had very little to give his family for Christmas, was so excited to receive this simple gift.  Friends, as I walked to the car, I’ll admit a little teary, it was as though He spoke audibly to me : “Whatever you do for the least of these you have done to Me.”

So, a few days before Christmas, I gave cake to Jesus, without even planning it.  And I knew in an extraordinary way that He had drawn my heart to His, made room for Himself, and His purpose, even in my cake baking!

My prayer has changed since then.  No longer am I asking how to prepare room for Him at Christmas.  No, I’m asking Him to make room for Himself, in ways I never dreamed, in every part of my life, all year long.

I can’t wait to see what He has planned!