cakes · Celebrations · Family life · Parenting

Girl’s Trip #2

Throwback to our first Girl’s trip.

Almost 3 years ago my girls and I took our first girl’s trip. We were celebrating my birthday then. We had so much fun, and it was such a special blessing to connect with one another, that we were excited to plan another one!

Last weekend we took our second trip to celebrate a special 30th birthday, and I’ll let you figure out who’s turning 30! We went to a spot in South Carolina that was absolutely beautiful and perfect for our two night, three day getaway!

The most important part of any time is the people with whom you share it! We get along so well and it’s just so easy to be together. How blessed I am!

The place we stayed was on the 11th hole of the golf course, and also near a beautiful lake! There were stunning views all around us!

We chose to bring food and cook supper, lunch and breakfast. We want to have good food anytime we get together! This time did not disappoint!

To celebrate the birthday, we went out to dinner one evening. The picture below was my Tomato pie. It was amazing! It’s very different from the recipe that I make, and I loved it!

For birthday cake, I brought Chocolate Orange cakes – an Ina Garten recipe that we love. We went to a beautiful gazebo at the Lakeside for our birthday party.

There were so many fun things to do! One day we spent five hours in the swimming pool and had it almost completely to ourselves. What a fun, relaxing day!

No girl’s trip is complete without some shopping, right?! Soooo…

We had intentional times of conversation, talking about important matters in each of our lives. We had times of prayer and times in God’s Word. I’m so thankful we can share those spiritual moments that knit our hearts together.

Whitney did a great job planning the location for our getaway. We are all looking forward to the next event that we can celebrate!

Have you ever had a strictly girls trip? What was the best part?

cakes · Celebrations

Celebration Cake!

Strawberry Layer Cake

Last week I mentioned our wonderful 40 anniversary celebration our daughters gave us. Our family celebrations usually always include some GREAT food. This party was no exception! After lunch we went to our daughter’s home for cake! This was a Strawberry Layer Cake from Taste of the South. I’m sharing the recipe with you today because it was fabulous, and because strawberry season is upon us! If you need a reason, this is the perfect one to buy strawberries!

Strawberry Layer Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided
  • ½ cup strawberry preserves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Strawberry Frosting (recipe follows)
  • 4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • Garnish: fresh strawberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 2 (8-inch) round, tall-sided cake pans with baking spray with flour; line bottom of pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Beat in 2 cups strawberries, preserves, and vanilla. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks. Spread about 1½ cups Strawberry Frosting onto one cake layer. Place about 1 cup Strawberry Frosting in a piping bag, and cut tip to create a dime-size opening. Pipe a border around edge of cake layer. Sprinkle frosting with 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar. Layer remaining 2 cups strawberries slices in center of frosting; sprinkle again with remaining 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining Strawberry Frosting on top and sides of cake. Garnish with strawberries, if desired.

Strawberry Frosting 
Makes about 4 cups
Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
  • 5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup strawberry preserves or jam

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar alternately with cream, beating until combined. Increase mixer speed to high. Add preserves, and beat for 1 minute.

This made a wonderful celebration cake, but you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to make it – especially if you love strawberries!

Are you a strawberry fan like I am?

cakes · dessert

Gingerbread Cake with Fresh Whipping Cream

Oh, the flavors of Christmas! Can we get enough? Surely gingerbread would be one smell and taste associated with Christmas baking. However, you don’t need to go to all the fuss of gingerbread houses or decorated gingerbread men to get that delicious, reminiscent flavor.

When I was growing up, we usually always had dessert with supper, and one treat I loved was Gingerbread Cake. I can still see the metal pan, filled with the gingery goodness. My mom would serve it topped with a dollop of whipping cream. Yum; it made the house smell so good, and it tasted even better.

I was glad to find a recipe from Cooking light for a Gingerbread cake that took me back to my childhood. This recipe has a Lemon Glaze to pour over it, if you wish. I’ve made that and love it, but for December, I’m sticking to whipping cream as the garnish! It only takes a few minutes to whip this together!

Gingerbread Cake
1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup hot water
1 cup light or dark molasses
1 large egg
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
 Cooking spray
Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed
Ground cinnamon (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine butter and hot water in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk until the butter melts. Add molasses and egg, and stir with a whisk until blended. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Add flour mixture to the molasses mixture, stirring just until moist.

Spoon batter into a 9 x 9-inch cake pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool gingerbread in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

For Glaze: Combine sugar and lemon juice, stirring until well blended. Pierce top of gingerbread liberally with a wooden skewer. Pour glaze over gingerbread. Cool completely.

Top each serving with the whipped topping. Sprinkle gingerbread with cinnamon and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

I love serving this warm and then topping it with fresh whipping cream and a dusting of cinnamon. This would make a great weeknight dessert to serve to your family. Why not put it on your menu for this week and add some Christmas-y smells and tastes to your supper meal? It would make a great memory recipe for your family!

What recipe evokes memories from your childhood?

cakes · Lightened Up Recipe

Apple Cake & Caramel Sauce without the Guilt

Just because you’re trying to lose weight (as I talked about here) or maintain your current weight doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a sweet treat every now and then. While my husband and I have been on Weight Watchers, we’ve occasionally enjoyed a small portion of some type of dessert. I feel like it’s been crucial to do so every now and then so that sweet tooth gets satisfied (and we’ve realized that just a little bit does indeed satisfy!).

I personally don’t love the desserts with artificial sweeteners, and after a fail or two, I have decided to simply use recipes that cut back on fat instead. Cooking Light has been my go-to for most of those kind of recipes, but then last week I fell upon this Apple Cake recipe from my Gooseberry Entertaining Cookbook! What? Their recipes are usually quite high in fat, but this recipe uses grated apples to make up for the normal fat ingredient. The result? A super moist and flavorful cake that we loved! I will admit that the caramel sauce was different. It wouldn’t be the kind of sauce you’d make for dunking apple slices, but it’s good on the cake. Considering that my traditional recipe calls for 1 stick of butter and this has only 1 tablespoon, I’ll gladly enjoy the flavor of the caramel without the added fat! Here’s their recipe…

Warm Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 c. apples, cored, peeled, and shredded
1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 T. all-purpose flour
1/8 t. salt
1 c. water
1 T. butter
1/4 t. vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Mix together egg and apples; add to flour mixture. Stir in walnuts. Spread in a lightly greased 8″x8″ baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Prepare Caramel Sauce: Combine brown sugar, flour and salt in a small saucepan. Gradually add water; stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook for one to 2 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Serve Cake warm, drizzled with Caramel Sauce. Makes 9 servings.

If you want to make this really special, go ahead and make up some fresh whipping cream and add a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin spice.

Think ahead to Thanksgiving and pin this on your Pinterest board so you can have a yummy, warm Apple dessert and not blow your calories for the day! You can have your cake and diet, too!

Another cake suggestion that’s lighter is this this Carrot Cake. It’s one layer and super moist and delicious! An Angel Food Cake is also a lighter alternative. This one is super good. I wish I had the WW points for these or the nutritional values, but I’m not that savvy! So sorry!

Happy baking!