Category Archives: Cake & Pie

Strawberry Shortcakes (from scratch – without a packaged mix)

P1050852Sunshine, Summer, Simplicity, Strawberries, and Shortcakes. They just all go together too well to not make this dessert at least once this summer!

Strawberry Shortcakes make such a pretty little dessert to the eye and a yummy dessert to the taste!

There are many different styles of this classic berry treat. Some people use pound cake or a plain yellow cake, and some people prefer angel food cakes to absorb those yummy strawberries!

My personal favorite version is with the slightly sweet individual biscuit-like shortcakes. The most well-known way to make these are with a pre-packaged biscuit mix, like Bisquick.

But, you can make them quick as a wink on your own with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. This will be cheaper, as well as better for you than a packaged and preserved mix.

These shortcakes are buttery, slightly sweet, with a fluffy inside and a little crunch on the outside from the sprinkled sugar!

Here’s how to make them!

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The Easiest Pie Crust (No Rolling)

P1050398-001Pie crust doesn’t have to be difficult!

This is the pie crust that my mom has been making with pumpkin pie for years.

However, it can be used with most any pie that calls for a single crust.(in other words- only crust on the bottom) I use it all the time!

It is my favorite, because it just couldn’t be any easier to make. You don’t have to roll out the dough, and you can mix it together right in the pie dish!

It also is my favorite because it is flaky and tender and a perfect compliment to that special pie that you worked so hard on.

I wouldn’t say pie crust is ‘healthy’, but a homemade crust is going to be worlds better for you than those refrigerated pie crusts that are readily available at the grocery store. Yes, they might save you a few minutes, but compare this list of ingredients to the 5 simple ingredients in the homemade crust. (Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Lard with BHA and BHT to Protect Flavor, Wheat Starch, Water. Contains 2% or less of: Salt, Rice Flour, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Propionate (preservatives), Citric Acid, Yellow 5, Red 40.) (source)  Wow!

Happy pie-making!

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Irresistible Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

P1050135It’s fall! Time for colored leaves, crisp air, blue skies, and a lot of pumpkin and apple recipes! I know I’m not alone. Pumpkin desserts are a favorite this time of year, from the traditional pumpkin pie to all sorts of delectable goodies.

Among my “must-make” fall recipes each year is this cake. As usual, I like it simple: just a plain Pumpkin cake topped with cream cheese frosting. However, this fall favorite of mine is far from boring because the cake is so wonderfully moist and dense, and the icing is extra thick and creamy. You just don’t need any frills to make it special!

One special feature I love about this cake, is that it is stored in the refrigerator, due to the cream cheese frosting. And I think this is what really makes the cake so delicious. There’s just something about those perfect slices of pumpkin and cream cheese, right from the refrigerator- cool and creamy.

I’ll admit something.. I ate the leftovers of this cake for my lunch… more than once this week. Not dessert after lunch, but lunch itself. Healthy, huh? But, I couldn’t resist! ( I did also feel appropriately guilty about my indulgence after the deed was done!) But it was so good!

You’ll be coming back for more, too- I promise.

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Cool Lemon Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

P1040154Lemon flavor always reminds me of spring and summer. It’s cool and refreshing, yellow and sunny, cheerful and light. This cake is all those things, and delicious, too!

The original recipe for this sheet cake used a boxed cake mix and canned lemon pie filling. So, I knew I needed to find a way to get the same result without the pre-packaged ingredients.  My little Sis is home from college for the summer, and this is one of her favorites, so this weekend I recreated it- and let me tell you, nothing was lost from ditching the pre-packaged mixes- except maybe a little extra time and a load of preservatives and other unwanted ‘ingredients’!

Now, WARNING! This cake uses a lot of ingredients, it does require a few extra steps, and it is not going to make you skinny! However– it’s fresh and delicious, slightly dense, moist, cool, and lemony, and topped with a great cream cheese frosting. In other words- it’s worth it!

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Classic Apple Pie

P1030484I love apples. I love pie. I love baking apple pie!

I think pie is one of the most satisfying desserts to make. The finished product is just so rewarding- baked beautifully, golden, and bubbly. And then, to have that first piece slide perfectly out of the

pie plate…ahh, makes me happy!

This week was my husband’s birthday, and as is our custom, he got to choose a favorite meal and dessert as part of the celebration. So, for the second year in a row- he chose this apple pie. Now, that might not seem too amazing, but you see, Tim did not always like apple pie. In fact, it has only been since I have been making this apple pie that he has found that it is one of his favorite treats! And so, my once “chocolate-only-please” guy has been reformed and now asks for this once-disliked pastry, frequently! (WOO-HOO! I love it when I can change his opinion about certain foods!)

P1030467Ok, now I must admit- this recipe is very basic. It is simply apple pie with homemade crust-  you are very likely to have a similar recipe that your grandma used to make. But, as I have said before, I like simple and classic dishes. And I think simple dishes are some of the best dishes when they are done well. (that’s how they became classics!)  Also, you will not find pre-made crusts and canned apple pie filling in this recipe (because those are filled with icky chemicals and things!)- it’s completely from scratch!

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Grandma’s Easter Morning Shoo-Fly Cake

P1030112Among the Easter festivities I remember as a little girl, one was this Shoo-Fly Cake that my Grandma Laury always made for Easter morning breakfast. I’m not sure how she came to always bake up this old-fashioned cake for Easter- I wish I knew if there was a story behind that tradition that the different branches of my family (my mom, sister, myself) still keep alive each Easter.

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Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Cake

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Have you ever had an oatmeal cake? Most of us have had oatmeal cookies, I would guess. But, i don’t know that Oatmeal Cake is quite as common. But, it should be!

This is a cake recipe that has been in my family for many years. I can remember enjoying it many times since I was a little girl.

The smell of this cake baking is just so warm and cozy. It reminds me of those cartoons that show the aroma rising up and pulling a person off their feet and toward the delicious smell. The oatmeal gives the cake moistness and cinnamon adds that old-fashioned flavor.

To top it all off, a buttery coconut and brown sugar mixture is poured on top and placed under the broiler to give it a bubbly and slightly caramelized finish.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ll be quite content. Trust me!

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter- room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup white ad 1/2 cup of wheat)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt

Topping:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 6 Tbs. melted butter

Boil the 1 1/3 cup water. Measure the oats in a small bowl.

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As soon as the water begins to boil, pour all of it over the oats. Stir, and set aside to allow the water to soak in.

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In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars.

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Add the eggs and mix well until fluffy.

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Sift all the dry ingredients together.

Give the oats mixture another stir. Most of the liquid should be absorbed.

Now, pour half of the dry mixture in the mixing bowl. Stir slowly. Add half of the oatmeal. Stir slowly.

Now- do that again…dry mixture and then the oats. Mix just until well-combined.

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Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes- until the cake testes done. ( it is done when a small knife inserted in the middle will not be gooey…if a few moist crumbs hang on, that’s ok- just not wet and gooey)

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The topping needs to be applied to the cake while it is still hot.

So, as soon as the cake is taken out of the oven- start working on the topping.

For the topping:

Melt the butter. Add the other topping ingredients and mix until the sugar is dissolved and everything is well-incorporated.

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Pour all of this over the hot cake, and carefully spread it out so that it covers the whole cake.

Turn the broiler of the oven onto high. Make sure the rack inside the oven is at the very top position.

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Slide the cake to the top rack. Keep the oven door cracked open so you can keep an eye on the cake.

The broiler is very hot and will burn the cake very quickly. So- keep an eye on it constantly.

As soon as the topping on the cake begins to bubble, give it about 30 seconds- just until the topping is melted and the coconut is starting to brown.

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Cocoa Sheet Cake with Fudgy Frosting

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I have been making this fudgy chocolate cake since I was a teenager, and it’s still a favorite of mine and the rest of my family, too. Even my dad, who is not a huge chocolate-lover, really enjoys this cake!

In addition to fulfilling your chocolate cravings, it is quick to prepare, the baking time is short, and you don’t have to wait for the cake to cool to frost it. And, speaking of the frosting, Oh my! I could lick spoon after spoon after spoon of that warm and chocolatey goodness!

COCOA SHEET CAKE:

1 cup butter or margarine

3 T. cocoa

1 cup water

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup buttermilk (can also use sour cream)

2 eggs

1 tsp.vanilla

To begin, boil together the butter, cocoa, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat stirring frequently constantly.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

Pour the cocoa mixture over the dry ingredients. Beat until well combined

Add buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.

Pour into a greased 15x10x1 jelly roll pan (like a cookie sheet with sides- the one I use for this is about 17x12x1)

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes- just until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from the oven. Now start working on the frosting!

FUDGY CHOCOLATE FROSTING:

2 T. cocoa

1/2 c. butter or margarine

6 Tbs. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

1 lb. (approx 4 cups.) confectioners sugar

Boil together the cocoa, butter, and milk in a saucepan. Boil for 2-3 minutes- stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Add vanilla and powdered sugar.

Stir vigorously to fully incorporate all the powdered sugar.

The Frosting should be smooth and glossy.

Pour all the frosting over the still-warm cake. Spread to cover the whole cake.

Eat this warm with a tall glass of milk…. and then eat some more later when it’s cooled! Tastes great either way!

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