Edna’s Butterscotch Cake

Butterscotch Cake

The second Michigan State football game of the season was on TV a couple of weeks ago.  Wendy’s husband is a die hard fan.  He’s also a die hard griller.  He decided to have a family football party and grill up some fresh veggie and steak kabobs on his new skewers that he’d purchased at the end of the summer clearance sales.  There was no way he was waiting until next summer to try them out.

Kebobs

My brother-in-law’s kabobs – stay tuned to future blog entries for this recipe and other great recipes from him.

I’d been wanting to try one of my Grandma Dora’s many cake recipes and I thought this would be a festive occasion to which I could bring a cake.  Besides, what’s a football party without cake anyway?!

I knew all of Grandma Dora’s cake recipes called for cake flour.  I had finally bought some at the Amish store when we were up north (the same time I bought the whole wheat pastry flour for the graham bread).  I pulled out a delicious sounding recipe, Butterscotch Cake.

Butterscotch Cake Recipe1

Butterscotch Cake Recipe2Butterscotch Cake (Layer or Loaf)

  • 2 cups sifted softassilk cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons double action baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed in cup
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat for 2 minutes.  Add:

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 medium eggs

Beat 2 more minutes.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Frosting

  • powdered sugar
  • oleo
  • vanilla
  • 2/3 teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in hot water
  • chopped nuts

In the corner of the recipe, there was the name, Edna.  As always, I was curious about Edna – who she was and how my grandmother knew her.  I think she may have had a friend name Edna, but I’m wondering if this Edna was my grandfather’s stepmother’s sister.

Wichterman Kids - Cropped

My grandfather with 3 of his 4 siblings (Roy, Paul, Dorothy and Ray) – Alfred was probably not born yet.

When my grandfather, my Grandma Dora’s husband, was a little boy, his mother died.  His father was a carpenter, but wasn’t able to care for my grandfather or his 3 brothers and sister.  There weren’t day cares all over the place back then, so if you didn’t have someone who could move in and help you, you ended up “farming” your children out to relatives.  That is what my great-grandfather ended up doing.

Dorothy and Paul

My grandfather’s sister Dorothy and brother Paul.

The oldest boys were twins Ray and Roy.  Ray was my grandfather and he was sent to live with an uncle who was a farmer.  This uncle mistreated him and he did not have a good childhood.  Roy, his twin went to live with another family member.  He had a better upbringing and trained to be a dentist while he was in the army.  Next was Paul.  He was also sent to live with relatives and had a good upbringing.  He became an aeronautical technical writer.  Dorothy, the only sister was next.  None of the children were placed together, so she grew up with another family.  She became a teacher.  Lastly, there was Alfred.  He became a farmer like my grandfather and then later in life became a carpenter.

Wichterman Siblings

My grandfather and his sister and brothers (Alfred, Paul, Dorothy, Ray and Roy).

When the five children were older, my great-grandfather married again.  Her name was Alma and she had a sister named Edna.  My guess is that this is the Edna of the butterscotch cake.  I could be wrong, but it makes a better story than just saying that Edna was a random neighbor.

WIchterman Adults

Grandma Dora, Dorothy (my grandpa’s sister), unknown lady, Edna, Albert (my great-grandfather), Alma

Alma and my great-grandfather, Albert lived in southeastern Ohio.  Edna was not married and lived with them.  When my dad was about 9 or 10 years old, he also lived in southeastern Ohio.  He remembers going over to his grandparent’s house on summer nights and sitting on their porch.  Perhaps the ladies talked over recipes and maybe they even shared butterscotch cake as they sat together.

Butterscotch Cake2

Butterscotch Cake ready to eat

I have not made a cake from scratch many times, but putting this recipe together was quite simple. The cake had a bit of a crumbly texture, but I think that is pretty common with cakes made from scratch.  I did not end up making the frosting that was recorded with the cake as I am not a coffee fan.  If you like coffee, though, I imagine it would compliment the cake nicely.

Butterscotch cake slice

Butterscotch Cake – ready for eating

The cake ended up being a hit with all of the football fans that evening.  Michigan State may not have won the game that day, but we knew we had found a winning recipe!

Happy Baking!

Amy

Blueberry Peach Bread – A Bonus Recipe

Peach Blueberry Bread

Blueberry Peach Bread

About a month ago, it came to that spot in the summer when the peaches and blueberries are ripe at the same time.  I love that time.  First, my parents, my sister, my nephews and I went blueberry picking.  One of my nephews loves blueberries – I mean he LOVES blueberries.  When we were picking he said, “Auntie is it still afternoon?”  “Yeah,” I said, “it’s still afternoon.”  “Oh good!”  he said, “That means we still have more time to keep picking!”  He really is a good little worker in the blueberry patch too.  He knows he’ll be enjoying those blueberries for breakfast all winter long.  My mom and I went a second time and picked more because I love to have them in the freezer too, ready for baking into recipes.

Then, my other sister called to say her farm market had peaches ready.  We always buy our peaches from her farm market because they have the best deal.  So, we had a bushel of peaches and lots of blueberries and I decided I needed a recipe that would use both.  I looked through my grandma’s recipe boxes, but I couldn’t find anything with peaches and blueberries.  So, I looked elsewhere, found this recipe, and changed it up a little to make it the way I wanted it.
Blueberry Peach Bread
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup diced peaches, peeled (about 3 peaches)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg is added. Add in the vanilla. Mix well. 
Add in the yogurt and mix until well combined. 
Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. 
Gently fold in the blueberries and peaches. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Peach Blueberry Bread2

Blueberry Peach Bread

It turned out to be a great recipe.  The combination of the two fruits complimented both the appearance and the taste.  I made a couple of loaves and was able to take one to my parents’ anniversary luncheon at Wendy’s house (the luncheon she talked about when she shared Mrs. Magary’s spice cake).  It was a pretty bread for a special occasion.

I hope you can give this recipe a try.  If you do, let me know what you think.  Frozen blueberries should work just fine and I would think canned or frozen peaches would be okay too.
Happy Baking!
Amy

Zucchini Bread – A Bonus Recipe

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Zucchini from my garden.

 At the beginning of the summer, my garden looked quite nice.  A little fence all around and everything neatly planted.  But, as summer went on, and mosquitoes drove me out, weeds started setting in.  Plus, a large pumpkin vine that came up on it’s own is now trying to take over.  If that isn’t enough, a large woodchuck has somehow found his way under the fence and is making my garden his home.  Unfortunately he has decided that he especially likes green beans and zucchini.  Before he made his entrance, however, I had quite a few zucchinis.  I posted this recipe earlier in combination with the scalloped corn recipe.  I decided to separate it now and give it it’s own post.  This recipe is not from my grandmother’s recipe box, but from my mother’s.  This is a recipe my family has enjoyed for years and I hope you will too.  I like to make many loaves when the zucchini is fresh and freeze them.  Then, when I am going somewhere and need something to share, I can just pull it out of the freezer and take it along.  I am always asked for the recipe.

Zucchini Bread

Beat all together:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

Add:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Pour into greased two loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

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zucchini bread ready to eat

Happy Baking!

Amy

Louise’s Oatmeal Drop Cookies

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My dad has lots of memories of eating cookies growing up.  We’ve already shared hermit cookies, ice box cookies and shortbread cookies.  But, since Grandma Dora’s recipe boxes are overflowing with cookie recipes, I decided to try another one.  I found several different oatmeal cookie recipes.  When I was trying to decide which one to use, I found one that had the word “good” written in the corner.  That seemed like a good sign, so I pulled it from the box.

My mom must have taken the idea of rating recipes in the upper right corner because she has the word “good” or “really good”, etc. written on many of her recipe cards.  My favorite is a recipe I found in her recipe box on which she wrote, “okay, not great.”  She must have tried the recipe, thought it was only okay, so wrote it on there, and then put it back into her recipe box.  Funny.

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Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

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Oatmeal Drop Cookie Recipe

My grandma must have enjoyed swapping recipes because she had them from many different people.  This one says Louise up in the corner.  The recipe is as follows:

Oatmeal Drop Cookies

  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup nut meats (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Cream shortening and sugar thoroughly.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Sift together flour, baking powder, spices and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Stir in vanilla.  Add raisins and oatmeal.  Drop from teaspoon on greased cookie sheet.  Bake in medium hot oven (375 degrees) for 15 minutes.  Makes 4 dozen.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 001

I creamed the shortening and sugar first.

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I then added the eggs one at a time.  It made a beautiful, creamy mixture.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 004

I then mixed together the dry ingredients (except the oatmeal) and the added them alternately with the milk.

Oatmeal Drop Cookies 005

After that, I added the vanilla.  The recipe just called for nutmeat and raisins (no amounts).  I decided on a cup of each, but I’m sure they would be fine without them for those who don’t like those tastes.  I added the oatmeal, raisins and nutmeats and had a nice dough.

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I put the dough out on the cookie sheets.

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I baked them in the oven for about 13-15 minutes.  At first I thought this would be too long, but it turned out just right.

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The cookies were delicious.  They have a distinct, old fashioned taste that you’re sure to enjoy.  I hope you give them a try.

Happy Baking!

Amy

 

Granola – A Bonus Recipe

Summer 2014 168

Granola – I ate this bowl of granola for my breakfast right after I took the picture. It was delicious!

Since it is “back to school” time for a lot of families, I was thinking about how breakfast sometimes has to be done in a hurry.  When I was eating my favorite quick breakfast the other day, I thought about how I should share this great recipe with all of you.  This one, like the zucchini bread and the raspberry pie, is a bonus recipe because it does not come from my grandmother’s recipe box.  My good friend Linda gave me this recipe last summer.  She got it from her sister, also my good friend, Laurel.  I have made a lot of different granola recipes, but once I was given this one, I don’t deviate from it very often.  In fact, I often double it because it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for even longer.  And, as soon as it is gone, it is not long before I am stirring up another batch.

The recipe is as follows:

Granola

  • 4 1/2 cups oats
  • 1/2 cup each raw walnuts, almonds and cashews
  • 1/2 cup each raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola or veg oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately  Mix wet into dry and then spread out on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes and then every 7-8 minutes until beginning to brown. Cool on counter and then place in fridge for 2-3 weeks. This is also delicious with dried cherries, cranberries or raisins.
Orange Ice 001

Granola cooling in the pan.

One of the nice things about this recipe is how you can change it to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.  I usually use 1/2 cup of flax seed meal and 1/2 cup of wheat germ in place of the sunflower and pumpkin seeds because that is what I have.  I also lower the maple syrup to 1/4 cup so I am eating less sugar and it still tastes great.  I also use whatever nuts I have on hand at the time.  It is so simple to put together.  I usually top it with yogurt and fresh fruit.
1 Birthday

Childhood birthday part with Linda, Laurel and Beth and our friends Sarah and Michael.

Linda, Laurel and their sister Beth were some of my sisters, brother and my best childhood friends.  In fact, they are more than childhood friends – they are our forever friends because we love them still and feel like we are with family whenever we are with them.  Thank you for the great recipe girls!
Happy Baking!
Amy

Lucille’s Shortbread Cookies

My parents and sister Amy came over for dinner tonight.  We had plans to eat and then  head across the road into the “Farmer’s Field” for a hike.  On the way to our house, they stopped by a friend’s house who was on vacation and had asked them to pick the vegetables from her garden while she was gone.  She had mentioned to them that she had bunches of broccoli, so Amy was planning on whipping up a pot of broccoli cheese soup when she got to our house.

Since Amy was making the main course, I decided to make the fun stuff, dessert!  I opened Grandma Dora’s recipe box and came across a simple recipe for shortbread cookies.  It had very few ingredients and I could tell it wouldn’t take long to make them.  I pulled everything that I needed out of the cupboard and started baking.

Shortbread Recipe

Lucille’s Shortbread Cookies

  • 1lb margarine (or butter)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups flour

Cream butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla.  Add flour.  Roll dough in small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.  Press dough down with a fork.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies begin to lightly brown.

(I halved the recipe  It made about 2 dozen cookies.)

Shortbread Wet ingredients

I started by creaming the butter, brown sugar, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla.

Shortbread Cookie Dough

Then I blended in the flour. (I scraped the sides with my boys’ awesome car shaped spatula!)

Shortbread Cookies on Tray

I rolled the dough into small balls and pressed them down gently with the tines of a fork.  Once the oven was preheated to 350 degrees, I popped the tray into the oven.  I wasn’t sure how long they needed to bake, but 10 minutes seemed to be the magic number.

Shortbread Cookies

We all sampled a cookie before our hike out in the field tonight.  They were light and really tasty!  Lucille’s Shortbread Cookies are petite and adorable.  They are simple to make and even easier to eat!

Happy Baking!

Wendy

Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake

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Grandma Dora and Grandpa in front of their log cabin home as newlyweds.

When my grandparents were first married, they lived in a small log cabin on the top of a hill, looking over a pond.  They had nothing, but they were happy.  They were married for many years, where they worked hard and raised a family.  My dad said he doesn’t remember them celebrating their anniversary.  Perhaps he never noticed because there was never spare money to do anything fancy, but I’m sure they celebrated in their own simple way.

My parent’s just celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary.  We had a small luncheon at our house with a few of their friends.  It was potluck style.  Everyone brought salads to share.  I decided to make the dessert, the anniversary celebration cake.  I flipped through Grandma Dora’s recipe box and found Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake.  It looked like a simple, but yet elegant cake, with it’s Ground Raisin Glaze.

Spice Cake Recipe1

Spice Cake Recipe2

Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake

  • Yolks of 3 eggs, white of 1 (other 2 whites for glaze)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • A little cloves or nutmeg (I put in 1/8 teaspoon cloves.)
  • 2 cups flour

Cream eggs yolks, 1 egg white, butter and sugar.  Combine dry ingredients.  Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk a little at a time until batter is formed.  Generously grease and flour a bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 36-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Ground Raisin Glaze

  • Whites of 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup ground raisins

Beat egg whites.  Boil sugar and water to make a syrup.  Pour syrup over beaten egg whites.  Mix in ground raisins.  Serve warm, drizzled over cake.

(A half recipe of the Ground Raisin Glaze would be plenty.  Though you could freeze the extra for another time.)

Spice Cake IngredientsI gathered my ingredients and got started.

Spice Cake Sugar Eggs Butter I started by creaming together the eggs, 1 egg white, brown sugar and butter.

Spice Cake Dry Ingredients

Then I mixed all of the dry ingredients together and set the bowl aside.

Spice Cake Alternating

If you don’t have buttermilk or sour milk, you can make buttermilk.  Measure 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and pour it into the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup. Then fill the rest of it up with milk.  I did this and began the process of mixing the batter together.

Spice Cake Batter

I slowly alternated adding the buttermilk and then the dry ingredients mixture, little by little, into the creamed ingredients in the Kitchenaid, until the batter was smooth.

Spice Cake in Bundt Pan

I greased (and later learned that I should have greased it MORE and floured it too) my bundt pan and added my ingredients.  I popped it into my oven, at 350 degrees, and started the timer.  There was no temperature or time on the recipe, so I guessed, slowly adding time as needed while it baked.

Spice Cake Baked

While it was baking, I  kept commenting how it smelled like Christmas in our house.  I think it was the cloves, which I don’t use very often.  After 38 minutes in my oven, the toothpick came out clean.  It was done.  I pulled the golden-brown beauty out of my oven.

I left the cake to cool for about 20 minutes before inverting onto a cake plate.  This is where I ran in to trouble.  After the 20 minutes was up, my bundt cake wouldn’t budge!  How could something so beautiful be so stubborn?!  (Sounds like what my husband says about me. Ha!) I began doing some research, and found a bunch of tips, which I will share.

Loosen the sides of your bundt cake with a rubber spatula, not a knife, as the knife will scratch the insides of your pan.  (Mistake number one.  Oops!  Way to ruin your new bundt pan, Wendy!  You know, the one that you bought to color coordinate with your kitchen!  Ugh!)  Before you begin, GENEROUSLY grease your bundt pan.  I thought I had, but apparently I wasn’t generous enough.  You can also flour it, too.  Specifically for chocolate cakes, but you can flour other kinds too if you wish.  (I WISHED I had read that before I put in the batter!)  So I was in a dilemma.  You can’t go back after it’s baked!  I read on a website that you can steam your bundt cake out, so I thought I’d try that.  I boiled water in a tea kettle, placed a kitchen towel in the bottom of the sink and poured boiling water over it, just enough to wet it, not so it was dripping.  Then I laid the towel over the bottom of the bundt pan while it was inverted on the cake dish.  It popped right out!  Whew!  It was a MIRACLE!  Crisis averted!!

Deep breath…….Now it was time to make the Ground Raisin Glaze.  What were ground raisins?  Do you buy them ground or grind them yourself or what?  I’d never heard of them, so I went back to the computer and did some more research.

Raisins have tendency to clump up in baking recipes, so they are ground to avoid this. To make ground raisins, you boil them in water for five minutes, let them cool, and then put them in a food processor, chopper or blender.  They look almost pureed when you are finished.

Spice Cake Raisins

The recipe calls for 1 cup of ground raisins.  I knew that I’d need more than a cup of whole raisins to end up with a cup of them ground.  I measured in 1 cup and then threw in extras with my hand.  Probably about a half cup.  I boiled them for five minutes, drained the water and left them to cool.  Once cool, I threw them in my chopper.  I ended up with one cup ground raisins, which I set aside.

Spice Cake Egg Whites

I beat the egg whites by hand in a bowl.

Spice Cake Cooking Sugar

Next I brought the sugar and water to a boil.

Spice Cake Raisins in Frosting

Then I poured the boiling syrup over the eggs whites, which seemed to cook them just a little.  I added the ground raisins and whisked them all together.  The Ground Raisin Glaze was completed.

Spice CakeI served Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake by slicing a piece and drizzling Ground Raisin Glaze on each plate.  You could put it on the whole cake, but I was afraid that any leftover might have gotten soggy.

Our friends at my parent’s anniversary party thought it was a very good cake, totally different from typical, box cake mixes.  It had the consistency of a quick bread, like our first entry, Date and Nut Cake.  They suggested that if someone didn’t like raisins, they could still make the cake, but use other glazes or frostings.  Raspberry was mentioned.  I thought cream cheese frosting would be really good on top too.  A simple powdered sugar glaze, drizzled and hardened on top would be not only easy, but elegant.

My parent’s enjoyed their anniversary luncheon.  I hope that Mrs. Magary’s Spice Cake helped to make it a little more special.  It really was a beautiful, celebration cake!

Happy Baking!

Wendy