Pink Heaven

I bet this cake tastes as good as it looks. When our daughter Mary was turning 3-years-old, I made her a pink heart cake, my magnum opus in the kitchen.

Mimiandcake

I discovered this delicious looking pink cake recipe, and I decided to make it for Emily’s next birthday. Pink cake and strawberries are an unbeatable combination for a summer party. Isn’t this pretty looking?

strawberrycake

 

That Time of Year

Shakespeare’s words about autumn  were chilly, rather than warm, but it’s the beautiful and warm part of fall that I like to write about. I’ve already made apple crisp, pumpkin pie and my annual autumn spice cake (recipe below), and if I don’t stop, I’ll add five pounds from my culinary salute to the autumnal equinox.

Emmy, our sole little chick still in the nest, is looking forward to a trip to the orchard for apple picking and pumpkin buying. My sister-in-law put all of our family photos from a Sterilite bin into 8, sorted photo boxes. Looking through them the other day, I saw multiple photos of various years’ trips to the orchard/pumpkin farm with our five other children. Now we will soon have three grandchildren to enjoy the same.The speed of the passage of time continues to amaze.

EPSON MFP image

Sammy, Charlie and baby Will back in the fall of 1997 in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Tom has planted two trees in our new yard. He chose birch trees, as he has at three other homes we have had. He always puts in a Schlueter tree. It’s a family tradition.

Speaking of tradition,  every autumn for years, I have put out my two Dollar Store acorn people. Last year, I looked all over, but couldn’t find them in their usual place. Sadly, they never made an appearance. I looked at the Dollar Store to find replacements, but there was nothing even similar to the little figurines I had. During our move this summer, I was happy to find my two little acorn people shoved back in our hutch in the dining room, and they are now back out on display along with my pumpkin spice candles.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~ George Eliot

acornpeople

Emmy is now happily in first grade, and I am deeply thankful to have her in a Christian school close by, the primary reason for our move. I see her copy work for school come home with hymns and verses to write. The other night, she was writing out this hymn:

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

It struck me again how wonderful it is to have a little academy where that name of Jesus, reviled spit upon all over the world, is still revered and loved.

I am loving the cool, crisp mornings and still warm afternoons, the fresh air, and the deep blue skies of a Wisconsin autumn. The world is in turmoil, the ground under our feet sometimes trembling, but this little blue planet still has beauty, because God, the Creator of all of it,  is in his heaven, and He holds all things in his hand.

I came across some beautiful fall barn photos in Country Living magazine online. If you’d like to see some breathtakingly colorful photos in the country, here you go at this link!

Also, I make an annual practice on this blog of posting the recipe to my autumn spice cake that I initially found in a cookbook from the First Baptist Church of Cook, Minnesota. Those Swedish ladies really knew their baking! So here it is, my favorite spice cake recipe, 2015!

Happy Autumn!

MimiSam2

Little Mary and Sammy, back in 2001 at Nieman’s Orchard in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Muffins

I saw this easy recipe on Facebook today and had to share. The only other thing required is a fresh pot of Colombian coffee! (I’m partial to Colombian.) The only thing better would be my mother’s crumb cake. (See recipe below the pic.)

 

Cinnamon-Sugar-Pull-Apart-Muffinsrecipe

 

Mom’s Crumb Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp. of ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter or margerine
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup sour milk (add two tablespoons of vinegar to make it clabber)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup of raisins (can use chocolate chips or nuts also)

Sift together sugar, spices and flour. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Set aside one cup of the mix. Mix sour milk, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl. (It will foam up so make sure you do this in a bowl.) Add in the beaten egg. Then stir in dry ingredients just until moistened. Add raisins, nuts or chocolate chips. Batter will be thick. Take half of the crumbly mix set aside earlier and put in the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Spoon in batter gently on top of crumbly mix. Top the batter with the 1/2 cup of mix left over. Bake in oven at 350 for 40 minutes or until toothpick/knife comes out clean.

Emmy’s Baking a Cake

Emmy loves to pretend cook, and her play kitchen is one of the things she uses the most. So when she gets the chance to make a real cake, she’s ready. It was a perfect day to bake a spice cake. The weather is cool and fall is definitely in the air. I didn’t use my favorite recipe due to lack of time, but the Duncan Hines variety turned out well and the house smelled very good today. Sam and Laura and their baby (could be 2 in a matter of days) are coming over for our traditional Sunday evening get together for supper, so the cake will come in handy.

 

little baker

Chocolate Eclair Cake

eclaire cake

Chocolate Eclair Cake

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 large box (5.1 ounces) vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 8 oz. container cool whip (you won’t use the whole container) or one batch of homemade whipped cream
chocolate syrup or homemade chocolate sauce

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 9″X13″ glass baking pan.

Eclair Crust: In a medium saucepan, melt butter in water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Mix in one egg at a time, mixing completely before adding another egg. Spread mixture into pan, covering the bottom and sides evenly. *If the sides of your pan are too greased you won’t be able to get the mixture to stay up the sides so make sure to just lightly grease.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown (Mine only took 25 minutes.) You may want to check it occasionally-you don’t want to overcook the crust, it will ruin the cake! Remove from oven and let cool (don’t touch or push bubbles down).

Filling: Whip cream cheese in a medium bowl. In separate bowl make vanilla pudding. Make sure pudding is thick before mixing in with cream cheese. Slowly add pudding to cream cheese, mixing until there are no lumps. Let cool in fridge.When the crust is completely cooled, pour filling in. Top with layer of cool whip however thick you want it and serve with chocolate syrup.

 

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

It’s that time of year again when my thoughts turn to crumb cake and coffee cake. I saw this mouthwatering recipe via a friend on Facebook (thank you, Judi), and thought I would share it (with attribution.) I’m either going to make this one or my mom’s old crumb cake recipe, which you can’t beat with a cup of morning joe. This one looks pretty yummy. Thank you, Alexandra, for the great recipes! I hope my Hope Blog friends will stop by.

Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake ~ 

from Alexandra’s Kitchen.

Serves 6-8

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour (set aside 1/4 cup of this to toss with the blueberries)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh, or frozen blueberries
½ cup buttermilk* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.