Great-Aunt Jenny’s Persimmon Pudding

A number of years ago, I asked my mother and her first cousins to recount favorite recipes and stories of growing up on Iowa farms during the 1930’s. This generation was quickly aging and I thought that it would be wise to capture their memories for a family reunion book. I love family history. The way of a living on a family farm during the 1920’s to 1930’s — for example, with a wood-burning kitchen stove — is just a memory now. Only one generation ago — my how times have changed! My second cousin, whose grandmother moved to California in about 1910, submitted her grandmother’s recipe for “Persimmon Pudding” for the reunion book.

Continue reading

Alice’s Small English Cottage Pudding with a Gluten-Free Twist

Every now and then my friend, Alice, sends me an idea for a blog post. Her recipe for “English Cottage Pudding,” turned out to make a delightful dessert. As we discovered, it is not a pudding at all. Americans would call this a small 8″ x 8″ cake. When a sauce — in this case cherry sauce — is poured over the cake as a topping, the result is a moist and flavorful cake. Alice practices gluten-free cooking and she substituted gluten-free flour in the recipe. It changes the texture of the cake, but it is still delicious. Since fresh cherries are plentiful in the grocery stores in August, I made a fresh Cherry Sauce for the topping. And I found some antique English china dishes dating from 1875 to photograph my cake.

Continue reading

Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Cakes – Miniature Cakes

Miniature Meyer Lemon and Cranberry Cakes make an easy and delicious dessert and a great gift for the holidays. Who doesn’t like to receive a home-baked present?  This lemony cake with cranberries is tart yet sweet and moist. Fresh cranberries give a holiday flair with a flavor “pop.” I used some of the Meyer lemons from my backyard tree to make these cakes and baked them in mini-loaf pans. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom of the post where I share a couple of photos of my elusive backyard cardinal bird pair. Continue reading

Louisiana Satsuma Infused Carrot Cake

Back in my hospital food service catering days, we prepared and served a dinner for the Board of Directors each month. I liked to change things up — partially for boredom’s sake and little for spite as it meant I had to work late that night. So one month I served carrot cake — trying to pack a little nutrition into the dessert. Much to my surprise, one Board member came to me after the meeting and said, “that very large piece of cake was the best dessert you’ve ever served — it was delicious.” And Carrot Cake is delicious. It should be moist, with just a little spice and nutty flavor. Topped with a cream cheese icing, it makes a great dessert for the holidays. And so I’m making my carrot cake again this year.

Continue reading

Persimmon Log Roll

I wanted to bake something really unique for a fall covered dish supper. I kept looking at the persimmons ripening on my backyard tree. How about a persimmon sponge cake roll? Now that’s different. Well I was in a hurry — the egg whites didn’t get stiff and my husband ate one of only two ripe persimmons. But I took the cake anyway and was pleased that it all disappeared. The cinnamon in the cake and cream cheese filling really toned down the flavor of the persimmons. Many folks said how tasty the cake was. Think I’ll make it again — this time properly.

Continue reading

Variations on a Pound Cake

I love to bake desserts especially cakes and cookies. During the winter holiday season they make great homemade gifts and elegant additions to a festive meal. I received a Poppy Seed Pound Cake one year as a gift which was delicious. So I thought it would be fun to make some old-fashioned pound cakes and started experimenting with recipes. Here’s what happened.Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake - 1 - IMG_0914_1

Continue reading

Sweet Potato Spice Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

What to do with the left-over or remaining sweet potatoes from the holidays, one might ask? This recipe uses sweet potatoes in a cake.

sweet potato spice coffee cake with crumb topping - 1 - IMG_1633_1

Before you discredit this seemingly unusual idea, the cake tastes much like a banana cake or applesauce cake. The sweet potatoes make the cake very moist and the molasses and spices blend the flavors together. Try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Continue reading