Cake, A Love Story


Who doesn’t like cake, really, who?  The daily writing prompt from yesterday is one I just can’t let go by without a response! I know there are people who say they don’t like cake, but I’m going to de-bunk  a couple of silly excuses right now!

  • “I don’t like chocolate.”  (There are lots of other flavors: lemon, vanilla, strawberry, pumpkin, red velvet, liquor flavors…too many to list!)
  • “The frosting is too sugary–makes my teeth ache.” (You can have cake with no frosting, just a slight dusting of powdered sugar, a few nuts, a drizzle of chocolate.)
  • “I just don’t like the texture.”  (Okay then, maybe you’d like an angel food cake–light and fluffy, or a “no-bake” cake-cool and creamy, or a pancake with butter and syrup, or better yet–an ice cream cake!)

I will admit I don’t enjoy all types of cakes myself, but I have had somewhat of a love affair with frosting covered treat since I was a little girl.  It seemed like it wasn’t difficult to find cake around our house. Perhaps it was because my mom baked fairly often, so a cupcake was not out of the question for dessert after dinner.  And, with 8 kids, there was seemingly always a birthday cake to be had.  We each had our own favorite that my mom would make, without fail, every year.

cake-1But by far, MY favorite cake of all: Wedding Cake. Of all the weddings I’ve been to so far in my lifetime, I can’t recall ever having a “bad” cake experience. I love the texture, the temperature, and the topping! Maybe it’s because it’s part of a joyous celebration that wedding cake always tastes good, I’m not sure.  (Best wedding cakes in my area of the world can be found at Lasalle Bakery in Providence, RI. Today’s thank you, too.)

My wedding cake was wonderful! The topper, a nice little vanilla with lovely white, sweet, sugary frosting. They layers, we decided to go traditional but fun…chocolate and vanilla CUPCAKES!

cake-2I thought it would be great if everyone could come get their own from the tower of dainty comestibles, but as you can see from the picture a waiter carried the delicate tower to the kitchen to “plate” them for us. I remember watching him walk through all the tables and across the cobblestone floor thinking, “if he drops that, I’m gonna be one unhappy bridezilla!”

cake-4Our cake was so terrific that I’ll tell you a secret, we did not wait until our first wedding anniversary to eat the rest of it. Our theory, frozen wedding cake will probably not thaw well and won’t be the same. So we savored it on our honeymoon trip.

Life is short, faithful readers…eat cake!

Other Cake-loving bloggers:

Round 2: Summer Lovin’ Photos


I so liked the weekly photo challenge from Friday that I thought I’d share some more of why I love summer.  Our garden has given us an amazing and bountiful harvest and will continue to well into the fall.  We’ve shared with neighbors, family, coworkers, friends, and I’m sure there is so much more to go around since the tomatoes have only begun to ripen this week.

Today I needed to use up some of the zucchini, lest it end up in the compost for next year’s garden.  Today I made some zucchini muffins and these:

martha bread
Yummy, right out of the oven! Parmesan Zucchini Loaf — A Martha Stewart recipe.

I was perusing my Facebook news feed last week and found one of my friends had posted this recipe, along with a picture of his perfectly made Parmesan Zucchini loaf.  I’m so happy I pinned it to my Tastes of Summer board on Pinterest because I never would have been able to find it again.  It is so tasty, melts in your mouth when warm out of the oven, and just as much flavor when it’s cooled off.

Today I want to thank my friend Craig for posting this recipe!  And to all the friends and Pinners who share their tastes of summer recipes, I guess I’ll have to bake some of these in the winter too!

I’ll have to go pin these recipes from other bloggers:

Birthday Cake Tradition


Daily Prompt: Time After Time

green bowlI was born on St. Patrick’s Day.  Everyone’s Irish on that day and conveniently I am anyway, so it makes it an extra special day for me.  I also have two older sisters born during that same week in March and we’ve often celebrated our birthdays together.  But we’ve always each had our own favorite cakes.

What likely started as my Mom’s attempt to give the birthday girls in March our own special day, has continued into a birthday tradition for me.  My birthday cake has been white cake–green frosting, every year for as long I can remember.  Even when I lived in Vermont my mom put the cake, carefully packaged in a box and shipped via UPS, I would have my cake, and eat it too, on my birthday.

green frostingThere may have been a couple of years when my cake was made by someone other than my Mom.  A co-worker, a friend, another family member, all have made the fluffy white cake topped with varying shades of green frosting, upon which my candles have been lit.  Thanks to everyone, especially Mom, for making sure I could MY eat cake on my birthday!

Lots of Bloggers Have Traditions:

Giant Step: Kelly’s Cheesecakes and Cookies


Daily prompt:  What giant step did you take where you hoped your leg wouldn’t break? Was it worth it, were you successful in walking on the moon, or did your leg break?

I don’t consider myself much of a risk taker, although I imagine every day we get out of bed is something of a risk.  About thirteen or so years ago, I took a pretty big risk when I set about trying to sell my cheesecakes and cookies. 

I’d been baking for years with great success for friends, family, and co-workers; the encouragement to get paid for what I love to do prompted this:

 business card cookies

The first year I took orders from co-workers and family, who either didn’t have the time or inclination, to do their own holiday baking.  I’d made an attractive brochure that included some pictures and an order form.  Of course there was an “order by” to insure delivery for the holidays, but invariably someone would want something and I would do my best to oblige.

My kitchen would become a factory setting for mixing, baking and creatively packaging all the goodies.  I would work full days at “real job” and every night and weekend from the day after Thanksgiving until December 25th, my kitchen was in a constant state of production.

For three consecutive years I took orders in October and November in preparation for the season.  Baskets of cookies and biscotti; cheesecakes, milky way cakes, sour cream coffee cakes filled my freezer.  Mind you I didn’t have a very big freezer, so the front hallway and second floor balcony porch doubled as cold storage for the inventory needed to fill my orders.

Since then some of the tools of the trade have improved, as have several of my recipes and techniques.  With the exception of the holiday season I found myself unemployed, I haven’t baked for profit in about eight years.  There were times I thought “I could be the next Mrs. Fields”.   However, the idea of the risk involved in truly branching out to run my own business, is not a risk I can take right now.   

I [almost] always find a great deal of joy in the process of  baking.  Today, I want to thank all those friends, family members and co-workers, who placed orders; and, more importantly, continue to believe in my baking talents!

Risk Takers:

Blondes Have Got to Stick Together


My posts this month that have had the greatest amount of traffic and feedback have been my recipes.  I’ve found it rewarding to share the yummy baked goods that bring family, friends and co-workers joy during the holidays.  The fact they have elicited some happy memories for you who read these posts, is a bonus!

pbballsTonight, it’s not that I don’t want to write an original blog; it’s that I’ve been reading another blog for the last couple of weeks, and I think you might like it too.  Haley Williams, of If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen, is an engaging writer and her recipes are fantastic.  Her blog’s title is what caught my eye; as a blonde myself I thought it was quite a clever play on words.

This weekend I’m planning to try two of the recipes she shared this week;  Angel Wing Cookies and Peanut Butter Balls.  These pictures alone make your mouth water, don’t they! The stories shared along with the recipes are worth your time, so check them out.

angel cookies

So, today, I want to thank Haley for sharing some terrifically written stories, and recipes for treats that are likely to become holiday favorites in my family starting this year!

Silpat, This Baker’s Best Friend


silpatsFor those who know me, you might be surprised to find out that there was a time when, yes, I would burn cookies–not on purpose, naturally.   It was not an everyday occurrence, but when it happened there could be an episode or two of throwing the odd cookie sheet across the kitchen with the charred remains of cookies gone bad.

uses for silpatThe other day I read a blogger’s post that thanked her Kitchen Aid mixer, it was great.  Today I’m thanking the makers of the Silpat.  I’m not sure when I got my first Silpat, but I’ll say that I will NEVER bake without them, ever!  These silicone treasures are the saving grace for all of my baking.  I started out with just two of them, but when I found they were on sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond (and I had a coupon for 20% off) I had to get more.  Now, I have six of them and can easily get all my cookies done by stacking up my half-sheet pans with their respective Silpats, rotating them in and out of the oven easily!

Regardless of whether it is cookies, or scones, or some other treat, I rarely, if ever burn anything anymore.  If you don’t have these things, get some!

Just One More Holiday Recipe…For Millie


millie 2I thought yesterday was going to be my last recipe, but today I was thinking about my friend Millie.  She’s a great lady!  I met her in 1998 when she started to work for me, we worked together for about eight years.  Recently, I’ve had the chance to work with her again.  It was a real treat, and when I say treat, I mean…well…have you ever worked with someone who’s just brilliant?  Millie is in that category for me; she’d lead my dream team if I could make that happen!  Her attention to detail is impeccable, she’s truly a team player, loves her coffee, and makes my life easier!

coffee cakeMillie’s favorite of all my holiday recipes is from the Betty Crocker cookbook, the Sour Cream Coffee Cake.  For the most part I follow the recipe, but one year I got a little cinnamon happy.  While I don’t often subscribe to the belief that “more is better” in the case of cinnamon in this coffee cake its true!  I put it in the batter and in the glaze, as well as what’s called for in the filling.

If you have  “Millie” in your world, this coffee cake is a great way to say thank you, during the holiday season, or anytime.  Thanks, Millie!

Filling

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Coffee Cake

3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sour cream

Light Brown Glaze

1/4 cup butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

I add cinnamon, about a tablespoon, to this mixture and it makes for a great flavor!

Heat oven to 350ºF.

  • Grease 12-cup fluted tube cake pan or 10-inch angel food (tube) cake pan.  (I like using the tube pan!)
  • In small bowl, mix all Filling ingredients; set aside.
  • In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, 3/4 cup butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and the eggs with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in flour mixture alternately with sour cream on low speed.
  • Spread 1/3 of the batter (about 2 cups) in pan; sprinkle with 1/3 of the Filling (about 6 tablespoons). Repeat twice.
  • Bake about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in 1 1/2-quart saucepan, heat 1/4 cup butter over medium heat until very light brown; remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle cake with glaze.

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