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Cake/ Dessert/ Morning Foods

Raspberry Applesauce Cake

The kids are all gone!🙁

What do you do with all that special “grandkid” friendly food after they leave?

My refrigerator and pantry are always packed with things like applesauce, some good yogurt, some organic meat of some sort, lots of fruit, string cheese of course and lots of other things that I may not be eating if it is left over. As always, I buy way too much. But who wants to run out of food or goodies when the kids are visiting. I usually love the non-so-good-for-you-foods like Goldfish, popsicles, ice cream cups with about 6 kinds of sprinkles, and drink boxes (organic juice of course).

So recently my daughter was home for the weekend; and they had friends and kids at our house, so that meant stock up on some “stuff” for them to eat since they may not want to be eating the paella that we made one night.

On Monday, when the house was all empty except for the two of us, I decided to take on the bulging refrigerator. First, I threw all the fruit into my dehydrator, peeled and individually wrapped my bananas (they are like eating banana popsicles), threw some sweet stuff away. But, then there are the cartons of applesauce staring at me and I don’t even like applesauce.

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Cake/ Dessert

Autumn Apple Cake

Been making this for years and still a favorite.

This is one delicious apple cake that you may want to try out for your Autumn or Fall dinner.

Autumn is a season somewhere between summer and winter. When I think of Autumn or Fall I think of trees shedding their leaves after they have shared all their beautiful yellow, orange, and red leaves. Summer is gone and there SHOULD be a little chill in the air or at least that feeling of “fallness” that I use to know before moving to Texas. The skies may be a little grayer. When you go for a walk there may be a crunch in your step as you step on all those fallen leaves. If I’m out riding my bike, I make sure I ride over any of those leaves. If you have kids or grandkids, they probably love playing in piles of leaves (see my grandsons below — they borrowed a neighbors leaf pile).

But, if you are living in Texas (our part anyway), there sometimes really isn’t a Fall or Autumn season; we go from summer to winter which isn’t always cold but doesn’t quite feel like that Autumn time of the year. We may not have those beautiful trees (ours sometimes don’t lose their leaves until December and January) but my husband can play golf 12 months out of the year. Sometimes shorts can be worn in December and January; our skies always seem to be blue and of course “the stars at night are big and bright” deep in the heart of Texas.

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Bars/ Cake/ Dessert/ Morning Foods

Lemon “Goat” Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Nothing better with a cup of tea than this lemon coffee cake.

Something about the word “lemon” always makes me pucker. Several years ago after returning from Italy I decided I was going to make some
limoncello; we enjoyed it while there and I though how easy could that be to make. So, I go about gathering my ingredients which were a lot of lemons, sugar and vodka. I still think I had either cheap vodka or to0 high of a proof of vodka. Here’s what happened in my little experiment. I did the first stage which might have taken 20 days (not the link I gave you), then I strained it off and did something else to the mixture and I think I had to wait another 20 days. So the morning of the 40th day I couldn’t wait to try it and 8:30 in the morning I poured myself a shot. Wow, it was terrible. I ended up throwing it all away and just bought some at the liquor store.

You won’t throw away this this lemon cake. When I found this recipe at My Lovely Little Kitchen I notice the different cream cheese she used. So when I went to the store to get my ingredients I bought goat milk cream cheese not remembering that she used Greek yogurt cream cheese. I had never heard of either one. When I traced her recipe back to see where she got the idea I ended up at Two In The Kitchen and she had used regular cream cheese and looking further, I saw her recipe came from a fruit filled coffee cake recipe from a Better Homes and Garden book. Interesting how recipes evolve with each time they are baked.

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Cake/ Dessert/ Pies/Tarts

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

What would the world be without chocolate chips?

What would the world be without chocolate chips you say? Definitely not as sweet for sure.

I have to admit to occasionally buying chocolate chip cookies for my kids when they were young and they would probably have been Chips Ahoy by Nabisco. But, 99% of the time they would have had homemade, warm out of the oven, cookies waiting for them when they returned from school with a tall glass of milk.

When we lived in Chicago back in the 80’s and my daughter was in pre-school, I was guilty of talking her out of going to pre-school one day so we could go to Woodfield Mall. At the time, I think that was one of the largest malls in the U.S. and they had a Mrs. Fields Cookie shop which I absolutely in love with their Macadamia Nut White Chocolate and Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies were always warm out the oven. So on our little outing that day, which was a cold, snowy day, we checked our heavy coats into a locker and took out for a little shopping excursion. Ummm, I can still taste those warm cookies with large pieces of macadamia nuts along with all those chocolate chips. We didn’t make a habit of skipping school but that was one nice mother/daughter day.

I was looking for a dessert to make for our bunco group and wanted something memorable. I seldom sign up for dessert because there are always so many appetizer recipes I want to try out on everyone. While out to dinner one night, my friend, Peggy told me about this dessert she had seen on one of Ina Garten’s shows. I remember seeing this show in the past but the only thing I remembered about it was her talking about going to Tate’s Bake Shop to buy their chocolate chip cookies for this recipe. Since my cc cookies are not nearly this flat and crunchy I decided to try Tate’s recipe that was printed on’s website.

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Cake/ Dessert

Amalgamation Cake

Just in time for the holidays.

The Purplish color comes from the blackberry jam.

Growing up I remember a special holiday cake my mother use to make and that was the Amalgamation Cake. I don’t know the history behind the recipe but according to Wikpedia, amalgamation is the process of combining or uniting multiple entities into one form.

Ok, that kind of describes this cake which is full of eggs, sugar, blackberry jam, raisins, nuts and coconut. What that description does not describe about this recipe is the love that my mother put into making it. Whether she was making this for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, she knew just the right time to start making it. Of course she always shelled her own pecans and after carefully measuring everything, mixing, baking, cooling then frosting with a delicious coconutty frosting she would wrap the cake in multiple layers of plastic wrap and then foil and then put into a closet to rest (or I suppose to ferment) until the big day which she would put it out just in time for dessert to be served. (Of course, this was Missouri so I’m sure the closets were a little cooler than here in Texas.)

This cake has a purplish color to it and is so rich and scrumptious that you only need a very thin piece to satisfy your sweet craving. I’m making this cake for our craft circle boutique and some lucky person will go home with a cake that they can put in the freezer until the holidays when they can pull it out and slice up for Christmas dinner.

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Cake/ Dessert/ Morning Foods

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake

Have a cup of tea to go with this Blueberry Coffee Cake

I was looking on Pinterest one day for something to do with all these blueberries I still have in my freezer and came across this recipe from Cozy Country Living. I did add some lemon and lemon zest to the recipe just because I feel like lemon goes really well with blueberry recipes.

The picture of the coffee cake also looked delicious since it was baked in round pans instead of an oblong pan like most coffee cakes are baked in.

A hoarder of frozen berries I am. I have to admit I either pick a ton of the things or when they are on sale for $1/carton I buy like $40 worth and then vacuum seal them thinking I will use them for smoothies etc during the year and then all of a sudden it’s time for new berries to be picked and I still have some left from last season.

The only think I don’t like about using frozen blueberries in baked goods is that I end up with purple dough. Even though purple IS my favorite color I would rather my cakes/breads etc. be speckled with the fruit rather than take on the color and tint my dough. Whatever happens when it gets mixed and baked, it’s still delicious in the end.

King Arthur Flour offers a secret to baking with frozen berries. They say to rinse your frozen berries with cool water until the water runs clear and then pat dry with paper towels. They showed several examples on their website with the berries being used both ways and you can really tell the difference — I should never have purplish/green blueberry baked goods again.

I took these cakes to my craft circle on Tuesday to be shared with whoever can get to them first.  Like I’ve said before, I love people trying the things I bake and if they like them, then I can persuade them to look at the blog.

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Cake/ Dessert

Chocolate Cream (Dream) Cake

Dreamy beyond your imagination.

What is it about dreams that’s so fascinating. I have never figured out why I dream the things I do while I’m stacking the ZZZZZZZZ’s. I’m sure everyone has had the dream where you fear someone is chasing you and you can’t get away or you go to school with your pj’s on and how embarrassed you were.

The dreams that use to disrupted my sleep the most were my catering dreams where I forgot to buy the food and got to the party with no food cook and only an hour before the guests arrived and while I’m quickly trying to throw something together I’m telling myself “WAKE UPPPPPPP” this is only a dream. No matter what my dream is it’s gone in a wink as soon as my eyes are open. My husband, on the other hand, dreams in technicolor and the most elaborate involved dreams you have ever heard; dreams he can’t even interpret and he can go on for 15 minutes telling me every detail of the dream.

This chocolate cake just happens to be the dreamiest chocolate cake and you could not even dream up something this delicious. I saw Laura Calder of French Food at Home (Cooking Channel) make this and knew I had to give it a try. She calls it Chocolate Cream Cake; I think this is the cake you may dream about or in my case it may be the cake that keeps me from going to sleep.

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Cake/ Dessert

Lemon Raspberry Pound Cake

Lemony, raspberry pound cake; what more could you want?

As I have said before, a rainy day is one of my favorite days. The day I made this cake it had been raining for two days and I still wasn’t tired of seeing the stuff come down. I love the long thundering sounds that accompany the rain. So what should one do on a rainy day but bake!

This cake recipe is a recipe of my nephew’s wife. Now is she my nephew’s wife or is she my niece-in-law; I just call her Julie and be done with it. In my searching the internet on the proper title I did find out that my nephew’s daughter, Statyn, is my niece once removed.  I have always wanted to know what once removed meant; now I know.

My sister has been talking about this pound cake for a few years now and I had it in my head it was a lemon pound cake — wrong. By the time I realized it wasn’t I already knew I was making a lemon raspberry pound cake. So if you want to make her original pound cake, just leave out the lemon zest, juice and raspberries and you have Julie’s Pound Cake recipe.

For the last year when I’ve made something new that I knew would be dangerous to leave around the house I have been taking it to craft circle on Tuesday mornings. This particular morning the cake was gone before the lunch break. Guess someone enjoyed it. Of course I had to sneak a piece before I took it so I could get a couple of pictures.

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Cake/ Dessert

Very Berry Cake

This mixture of berries is wonderful.

It’s berry picking time again and what berries are you going to be picking and the BIG question is what are you going to make with them. Don’t you just love trying out new recipes on friends and family? I do and this one turned out great.

This recipe came to life when I saw Pioneer Woman make her Blackberry Cobbler. I needed a quick dessert for a meeting I was having at my house one night and with blackberries and blueberries in the freezer I had a head start on the grocery shopping. I knew I wanted to add strawberries to the mix and I think that was a good move. You can decide what fruits to use when you make it and if you do, please leave a comment below.

I made one other change which you may or may not want to try; I added some chopped crystallized ginger to the top of the cake. I love the peppery, sugary bite it added to the cobbler. This recipe is definitely more of a cake than a cobbler, I think, and a little vanilla whipped cream just takes it up a notch. I guess ice cream on the warm cobbler/cake right out of the oven would be wonderful but I’ve always gone more for whipped cream than ice cream on desserts.

I’m calling this a cake because to me a cobbler has lots of fruits, juice and pastry crust strips on the bottom and top of the dessert. That’s what I grew up with.

BLAST FROM THE PAST:  Need another use for those berries. Here’s a Blackberry and Raspberry Upside Down Cake that I posted back in 2009.

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Cake/ Dessert

Lemon Pudding Cake with Preserves

Lemon dessert perfect for Easter dinner. Lemonlious!

Why is it when Spring and Summer starts to show it’s pretty flowers, newly leafed trees, singing birds and light rains we think of things like lemon, asparagus, and beautiful green lettuces. Maybe it’s to purge our bodies of all those foods we consumed during the cold winter months. Then comes summer and we have a lot of hot dry days (especially here in Texas) and I’m still thinking of some kind of fresh tasting dessert.

Easter I think is the beginning of spring with all those little rabbits and chicks popping up all over the place. You may still be having a chill in the air or even a little snow but this dessert just couldn’t wait to make an appearance.

I actually had this made last fall and intended on posting it if I ran out of things to cook while doing all that rehab on the knees; but then I kept thinking to myself that the recipe needs to wait until spring. I did make it a couple of times in the winter months though and loved it every time.

I love anything lemony. Remember the ;Lemon Citrus Flower I made, or the Lemon Meringue Pie (my husband’s favorite) or this Lemon-scented Pull-apart Bread. There’s just something about that little yellow citrus fruit that makes you pucker just thinking about it. And it is used in sauces, to flavor water and even dipped in salt it will clean your copper bowls beautifully. And, if you want a neat trick to show the kids, squeeze the peel at the same time you light a match and see what happens. (Keep away from kiddos though) If you have a use for lemons that you would like to share, please leave a comment.

I’m never going to give up desserts because I think any dinner party needs a fantastic ending. I think this little lemon pudding cake fills that need. It’s light, lemony and you can control the portion size so no need to worry about all those calories.

Back last summer when I went to pick berries there was a lady selling her raspberry preserves. I bought some thinking I would use it with this recipe but it was not a very pretty color. It was delicious but I wanted a bright red raspberry preserve to put on top of this Lemon Chiffon Pudding Cake. I decided to make my own preserves and found this recipe at The Girls Guide to Guns and Butter. So you can either make your own or simply buy the reddest one you can find.

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Cake/ Dessert

Be My Valentine Pound Cake


When you were a kid (unless you are my age maybe you didn’t do this) didn’t you just love Valentine’s Day. You got to make your special box to take to school so everyone could deposit a valentine card in it as you munched on treats during your Valentine party that your room moms tried to make so special. Not sure if they do parties these days. And I’m sure the kids would not be munching on cupcakes, candy, red punch etc. that we stuffed our cute little faces with; we’re still alive and it sure didn’t hurt us any.

I remember how special my valentine box was one year. My sister and I covered our boxes with crepe paper and then our mother would take strips of crepe paper and sew gathering stitches. We would then draw the long strips up into ruffles that we would glue around the boxes. How pretty they turned out and we were always so excited to go to school the next day to see what everyone else’s looked like. I wonder if kids these days still make valentine boxes.

All this Valentine talk got me to looking for something different to make for Valentine’s Day. I came across this idea at Very Culinary. I loved the idea of putting the hearts in the middle of the pound cake but I did not want to use a box pound cake. Why pay for a mix when you can make it twice as good (at least) from scratch. If you are in a pinch for time look at her recipe and go by her directions. She used two boxes of Betty Crocker pound cake. Take a look at her recipe using pumpkin bread for the inside and pound cake on the outside. I listed her frosting at the bottom of the page which is the one I used except for browning the butter. It is a fluffyier looking frosting that the glaze from Very Culinary. I tinted mine pink for Valentine’s Day. I also did Very Culinary’s glaze on one of the cakes.

I decided to use my nephew’s wife’s (Julie) recipe for her delicious pound cake. I knew I wanted two cakes so I made one recipe, dyed it pink (should have dyed darker) and put that one recipe into two bread pans. Then I made another recipe and left it white and that was what encased the pink hearts into the center of the loaf. So, if you want easy, buy 2 boxes cake mix, make one pink and one white then follow directions at Very Culinary’s site.

Also, I have seen other sites where the person used a pumpkin for fall, clover leaf for st. pat’s and you could also just do a pretty flower cookie cutter for a flower center.

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Cake/ Dessert

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Gale Gand’s Blackout Chocolate Cake just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Recently I was going through some old Food and Wine magazines. Anything chocolate always gets my attention; my page flicking came to a screeching halt.   I came across this recipe by Gale Gand who was named Best New Chef back in 1994. She is now chef-in-residence at Elawa Farm in Lake Forest and part owner of Tru in Chicago.  This recipe has been her most requested recipe and who doesn’t want a “most requested recipe”. (read article able recipe at above link.)

Is there is nothing better than the feeling of chocolate melting over your tongue as you eat a piece of anything chocolate? Whether it is a Hershey’s Kiss, a chocolate covered almond, even a Milk Dud, or the most delicious chocolate dessert you have ever put in your mouth, chocolate is something that creates a buzz, euphoric sensation even stronger than a kiss. (That was results from a study done by a neurophysiologist back in 2007.) Believe what you want.

I know there are people out there who do not love or even like chocolate, and that’s so hard to believe and can you imagine being friends with a person like that, just kidding.

Don’t use Dutch processed Cocoa powder (see note below), plain old Hershey’s works just find. There is a difference in the Dutch cocoa that does not work with the baking soda in this recipe.

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