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!

 

 

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.

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!

 

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!