Tag Archive for baking

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

On Halloween two of my friends gave me all the pumpkin meat from their Jack-o-Lanterns and I got to make some pretty yummy bread and soup.

Here’s the spiced pumpkin bread recipe I used from a local church’s community cookbook, courtesy of LeAnne Sims using real pumpkin:


3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
2/3 cup orange juice
2 cups pumpkin
3.5 cups self rising flour (if using all purpose, add 1 teaspoon each of baking soda and baking powder, and 1 1/4 teaspoon of salt)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1.5 teaspoon vanilla- I actually forgot to add this to my recipe and it was super sweet and flavorful without it.
1 cup chopped pecans


1) Using a mixer, beat butter until it’s “fluffy.”
2) Gradually add sugar, mixing well after each addition.
3) Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4) Add molasses, orange juice, and pumpkin, mix well.
5) Add flour, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Mix until just blended.
6) Add vanilla and nuts with spoon, spoon batter into greased and floured loaf pans.
7) Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until wooden pick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean.
8) Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup


1 pound of carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
3-4 medium sized sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch chunks
2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger
4 tablespoons of Nutiva’s Coconut Manna or Tropical Traditions’ Coconut Cream Concentrate. 
1 box of Chicken Stock, plus enough water to cover the rest of the ingredients
1 teaspoon of salt
1.5-2 cups of milk


1) Combine everything together except the milk. Let it cook on low for 8-10 hours or u until tender.
2) Add the milk (you can choose to cook for thirty minutes more or just add the milk and go straight to the next step).
3) Blend the ingredients
4) Serve, you may choose to top with coconut flakes if you wish.


Southern Muscadine (Scuppernogg) Jelly


Living in the hot and humid south eastern US has one perk in August: Scuppernoggs almost ripe and ready to be picked. I grew up calling this southern grape scuplin, but the proper name for it is muscadine.

The week before my baby was born last year I went out to a friend’s vine and picked a cooler full of scuppernoggs that were so ripe, they fell into my hands when I touched them.

The day before my son was born, I made 24 jars of jelly. Thus, my mom refers to this batch as “Nesting Jelly.”

I used a recipe from PickYourOwn.Org . I recommend using their site for instructions, as they are very detailed.

The basic instructions for making jelly are:

1) put your scuppernoggs in the food processor, pulverize them.
2) Cook the grapes.
3) Strain the juice from the grapes.
4) Cook the juice with sugar and Sure-Gel
5) Jar

For cute labels, Check out Jessica Jones’ of HowAboutOrange’s label download. I printed them on a sheet of card stock, cut them into circles, and used my sticker maker to make them adhesive.

If you live in a region that is sadly without scuppernongs, you can find some jelly to send from our farmers’ market here in Paxton!

Lemon Cheesecake

Before I met Dave, I think he would have lived off of Captain Crunch, ice cream sandwiches, Little Debbie Zebra Cakes, and black licorice if left to his own devices. People that know me think I am keeping Dave from sugar for some reason. Maybe this is because he posts status updates on Facebook about how he waited for me to leave for the office before pulling out his Captain Crunch so he could eat it guilt free. Even my mom buys him ice cream sandwiches or chocolate because she thinks he needs a sugar fix.

I rarely eat sweets. I don’t have a taste for them, and quite honestly I feel sick when I eat store bought processed treats. I do however, love a tiny sliver of a good homemade southern seven layer cake. If you can’t have homemade cake, Dean’s Cake House in Andalusia, Alabama is still considered homemade around these parts.

The Seven Layers of Southern Alabama Bliss

Dave’s Great-Grandmother Mertice was from Montgomery, Alabama and was apparently quite the baker. When we got married, his Aunt gave us a recipe file box with some of her famous goodies inside.

Dave remembers her making a caramel cake and a lemon cheese cake specifically. He says that both take so much time to make, to recieve one is to receive a true labor of love.

I don’t have time these days to lovingly labor over a stove making caramel or lemon icing…but I do have time to write a check to Dean’s Cake House of Andalusia, Alabama and have one delivered by a friend.

I took the cake out of the plastic box and placed it on a platter for Dave when he got home from work. I even cut a 1/2″ off the styrofoam plate so when it sat on the platter so you couldn’t tell it was store bought. Dave walked in to door and responded, “You got me a cake from Dean’s!?!” *Note: he’s never had a cake from Dean’s before and only talked about getting one from there* There’s no fooling that man.

Amazingly enough Dean makes a Carmel Cake and a Lemon Cheese Cake. We have wondered if the recipe was close to his grandmother’s since church ladies often shared recipes and Montgomery and Andalusia are not that far apart.

Seven Layers of Lemony Goodness by Dean’s Cake House of Andalusia, Alabama

My friend Stacey’s grandmother owns and operates Dean’s Cake House. I remember the day I found out was her birthday when we worked together at summer camp in high school. She had this massive sheet cake to share with us all in a Dean’s box. I said, “Wow, Stacey! Your cake is from Dean’s?” She smiled, “She’s my grandma.” What a lucky duck!

Dave cuts the largest slices of seven layer cake I have ever seen. In my family you are given a 3/4″ skinny long piece. This is the cake after Dave cut 3 pieces! I was shocked at the wedges he cut out for himself and me, but I didn’t say anything and allowed him to enjoy his cake. Up until this day I didn’t even think about the art of cutting a seven layer cake. Maybe my family cuts the cake slices so small because there are so many of us around and only so little cake. My granny has always cut cake that way, but there were always 10 people around at any given time in and out of her house.

I can’t share these pictures of this beautiful cake with you though and not share Great-Grandma’s sacred recipe for making your own labor of love. So here it is, probably the first time it’s been shared online. I wasn’t told it was secret though, so you all get to benefit from that ;)

Mertice’s Lemon Cheese Cake Recipe

What’s interesting about a Lemon Cheese Cake is there’s no cheese in the cake. It’s named that simply because it looks like a huge cheese wheel…at least that’s what Dave told me. Leave it to a southern to name it that.

The recipe doesn’t go into how to bake the different layers, but to make a seven layer cake you need a 9″ round cake pan, preferably several round cake pans. You put a thin amount of batter, say 3-4 tablespoons into each pan and bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until done. Repeat until you have your desired amount of layers.

When you ice the cake, just ice in between each layer and then coat the whole cake with a icing on the outside when the cake is assembled.

My brother once asked someone to make him a 13 layer cake when he was 7 years old, not being sure how many layers he should ask for. The lady laughed, promised him she would, made it, and then swore up and down that she would never make a 13 layer cake again since it took her several hours to complete all 13 layers.

Cake Ingredients:
3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoon baking powder
6 egg whites beaten stiff (add last)

Icing Ingredients: (This icing is more like a glaze then a true icing.)
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
juice and grated rind of two lemons

Cake Directions:
1) Mix all ingredients for cake except egg whites.
2) Beat egg whites and fold into cake mixture.
3) Bake at 350° until when a toothpick is stuck in the center of the cake it comes out clean (Sorry, I can’t be more specific. That’s what the recipe says)

Icing Directions:
1) Mix  all ingredients and cook over medium heat until thick. Stir to keep from sticking or cook in a double boiler



Strawberry Pie

Just in time for the 4th of July, here’s Jo Bailey’s Strawberry Pie!

1 9″ pie shell, baked (I baked mine in the toaster oven. Cover your pie shell with foil when you bake to avoid burning the crust.)
1 quart fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
whipped cream

1) Jo says to crush 1 cup berries with a potato masher, but I just sliced mine I couldn’t find the masher. Regardless, you want to make the surface area of the berries larger so they can cook easier. After crushing or slicing, cook with water for 2 minutes.

2) Blend sugar and cornstarch first, then add to berry juice (Jo says you can strain the pulp at this point if you want it to be prettier, but I didn’t do it for my pie I made here).

3) Cook over medium heat until the glaze is thick and clear.

4) Spread a small amount of glaze in pie shell. Arrange remaining berries on shell.

5) Add rest of glaze.

6) Chill 3-4 hours.

7) Top with whipped cream.

(Dave got the first piece and was super excited.)

Hope you guys enjoy! Don’t forget to visit us at the farmers’ market soon!