some of the best times in life are sitting with good friends and enjoying a piece of pie or …….

Vanilla Cake with Mocha Frosting!!!

I made a cake today for my husband’s birthday.  He requested a vanilla cake with mocha frosting.  Happens to be my favorite combination for a cake.

Here is the recipe for the cake.  When it called for vanilla – I used – for the first time – drumroll, please! – my homemade vanilla!

Vanilla Cake


1 cup unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups white sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

I made layers instead of 9X13 pan as stated in recipe.  If you choose layers watch your baking time- it will take less time.

Cooling Layers

Cooling Layers

Ready to Frost

Ready to Frost

Here is the Frosting recipe – I did increase butter to 1/2 cup (8 T) and added a drip of vanilla and strong coffee.  I also use half & half in place of milk. AND cocoa powder.


6 tblsp of softened butter

 3 c. powdered sugar

  ½ tsp. vanilla

  4-6 tblsp of milk (I use ½ & ½)

   Beat butter & sugar till light and fluffy – add cocoa powder

   Add vanilla  and coffee and beat thoroughly

   Add 4 tsp of milk  for thicker frosting – 6 tsp for thinner



I am not a great cake decorator – never was – maybe someday.  But my cakes are delicious and look homemade.  I dusted this one with a tiny bit of cocoa powder and natural sugar.


cate b


Lemon and Lavender

I just love lavender.  I love the color lavender, I love the smell of lavender and I love the essential oil – Lavender – and all it does for me.

I also love shortbread.

I came across a recipe a while ago on Pinterest and decided to do a varied version for my first try.

I made the shortbread, as per recipe below, but rolled them instead of cutting and then I made a lemon glaze and drizzled the squares after they cooled.  Yum.

Lavender - Yummers!

Lavender – Yummers!

rolled with special rolling pin

rolled with special rolling pin

drizzled and eaten

drizzled and eaten

My plans are to make the following recipe for a birthday party coming up in May – cream cheese filling and all!


 Author: Michelle Hilton

Recipe type: Dessert

Serves: 9


Lavender Shortbread

•1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature (Use the best quality butter you can find. It really does make a difference.)

•2 cups all-purpose flour

•½ tsp. salt

•½ cup confectioners sugar

•2 Tbsp. dried culinary lavender (see note below)

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

•¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature

•4 oz. (1/2 of an 8 oz. brick) cream cheese, at room temperature

•4 cups confectioners’ sugar

•the juice and zest of one large lemon


Lavender Shortbread

1.Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

2.Line two large cookie sheets with parchment.

3.Cream together butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

4.Add flour, salt, and lavender and mix until well combined and the dough dough sticks together well.

5.Roll onto a lightly floured surface until about ¼ inch thick.

6.Cut with cookie cutters and place on the prepared cookie sheets.

7.You may have to lift the cookies with a spatula to place on the cookie sheet. Bake at for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn golden. I baked mine one sheet at a time, but you could probably bake them on two racks and switch them half way through baking.

Lemon Cream Cheese Filling

1.Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.

2.Beat on medium until well combined and fluffy.


1.Pipe or spread filling on half of the cookies.

2.Top with the other half.

3.Serve immediately or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for several days if you don’t eat them first. They are also better if you let them warm up for a few minutes before eating them.


pure beauty

pure beauty


cate b

What Kind Of Cake Do You Make For A 1 Year Old?

Originally posted on Let's Have Another Piece of Pie:

It’s Lucy’s FIRST birthday!  Lucy is our lovely grand-daughter that I have had the privilege of caring for the past year while her parents are becoming college graduates.  Like any caring parent they have carefully chosen healthy foods for her to eat. And like any strong-minded, confident person, Lucy has decided what she likes and doesn’t like.  Just started liking baby cereal a couple of months ago, been enjoying mashed black beans and avocados like they were chocolate with a bit of baby veggies or fruit thrown in.  She loves grilled cheese or quesadillas.  Scrambled eggs has been a favorite for quite a while now – with cheese is better.  Oh, and speaking of cheese – well, chunks of cheese are great.  You would think the child was born with an entire set of teeth – but to this day she only has two front top teeth and one front…

View original 362 more words

Baked Applesauce Donuts

Baked Applesauce Donuts

Baked Applesauce Donuts

My last post was about my new donut pan and a simple baked donut.  Here is an even better, even sweeter, even gooier recipe.

Baked Applesauce Donuts

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chunky applesauce
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
1/4 cup butter, softened


Glaze: I made the glaze in the sauce pan I melted the butter in.
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

. Stir all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl; add applesauce, eggs, milk, and softened butter. Beat mixture with an electric hand mixer on low speed until combined into a batter; spoon into a donut pan. (spray lightly with PAM)

. Bake in preheated oven until donuts spring back when touched, 8 to 10 minutes.

. Beat confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, water, and vanilla extract together in a bowl until smooth. Dip warm donuts into the glaze and let any excess glaze drip back into bowl before placing glazed donut on prepared baking sheet to cool.

Yields: 1 dozen of sweetness


cate b

Salted Orange Walnut Cookies


I haven’t made these yet – but want to. If anyone does them please comment . Enjoy! cate b

Originally posted on :

IMG_6419 Hello cookie lovers–  I’m usually the one who loves cookies to be the sweeter, the better.  But these plain, homely little gems are citrusy, salty, nutty and just sweet enough.  I have to admit they are truly addicting!  I ate most of the batch you see here all by myself.

And I don’t regret it…

3 cups walnuts, pieces
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)–at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
grated zest from 1 orange
2 large egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 tsp. flake sea salt (like Maldon)

IMG_6427Toast the walnuts in a 350 oven for 8 to 10 minutes until they just start to brown.  Take them out and chop them to fine bits.

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, orange zest and egg yolks.  Then beat in the flour and salt.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for…

View original 86 more words

Baked Donuts – Do I Hear An Amen?!?!

I enjoy a little something on the sweet side with my morning coffee.  I don’t have to have it every day but a few times a week.  Donuts are awesome and a rare treat for us.  But now, I have a donut pan:

Donut Pan

Donut Pan

I followed the directions that came with my donut pan and they were perfect!  The only big mistake I made was to brush melted butter on them and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them as opposed to their suggestion of dipping in butter and then cover in cinnamon/sugar.  Mine were definitely less calories.  Next time I want to use a glaze or light frosting, simply because they are lighter on one side due to the baking process.  A glaze of frosting will remedy that.

Please know that when I make a recipe asking for buttermilk, I put about a tablespoon of vinegar into measuring  cup and add milk up to desired mark and let it sit a few minutes.  Great inexpensive substitute for buttermilk, especially if you do not like buttermilk.  No waste.



cate b

Mexican Flan

We were invited to a dinner with the theme of Latin American Cuisine!  One of my favorite types of food.  I was going to make a Double Chocolate Cream Pie with a touch of cayenne and topped with a dollop of a slightly sweetened Lime-Sour Cream and sprinkled with fresh cut cilantro – sorry, is your mouth watering over this or are you skeptical?  Well, I didn’t make it this time but I have before and let me tell you, if you like those flavors at all, when you put them together it is unbelievable!   I’ll save that recipe for another post.

So what did I make, you ask?  As the title implies, I made a Mexican Flan and a batch of Sopaipillas.  Flan is like a sweet egg custard, and this one has a slight orange flavor to it. I found the recipe here:

The recipe is easy to follow.  Don’t let the first step frighten you.  The “melting” of the sugar is easy and it came out perfect.  So, when it hardens in your mold, do not panic.  It is a wonderful surprise when you unfold the flan.

Here is Step 1 - after the sugar caramelizes and is lured into the "mold"

Here is Step 1 – after the sugar caramelizes and is poured into the “mold”

The recipe calls for a Flan Mold.  I do not own one and had no time to find one so I used my Corning-ware casserole dish.  It worked perfectly.

I used my stand mixer instead of a blender.  Again, worked perfectly. Here is the after-baked flan:

after baked

after baked

Fortunately, I remembered my Christmas platter.  The size was perfect to put the Flan on.



And then came the moment to un-mold this baby.  I was nervous.  When I set the platter over the dish and gently, yet quickly flipped it, set it on the counter and said a brief prayer…….. I lifted the dish and heard the most incredible, delightful sound in Flan making….. a sweet suction sound ….. and there she was!



And oh my!  What a flavor.  You must try this.

Now, the Sopaipillas.  With my kitchen shears I cut flour tortillas into triangles.  Fried them in oil and drained on paper towels and sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar!  Simple as that.  They taste great with ice cream!  Or Mexican Flan!

Frying the tortillas

Frying the tortillas


Sprinkle, sprinkle!

Sprinkle, sprinkle!









I hope you try this!  It is so good and easy.


cate b




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