A Thanksgiving from the Eastern shore (MD/DE)

November 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

I’ve got the lemon shaker pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake (from a much earlier post), spiced cranberry sauce already done. Turkey, brussels sprout salad, green beans, yams with maple streusel, still a work in progress.

Overnight spiced “porridge” with apples and berries was ready for us to start the day.

Enjoy the yummy food!

(Links/recipes updated later)









Nick’s Birthday Cake / A version of our wedding cake

August 11, 2012 § 1 Comment

Here’s Nick’s birthday cake this year, and possibly all future years. Used the buttercream recipe from the last post. Two-layer white cake with raspberry buttercream and lemon curd filling. Just a store-bought jar of lemon curd placed in the first layer, topped with halved raspberries and then a thin-layer of the buttercream. My fear of the raspberry buttercream being too sweet was again unfounded. It really worked well with the cake and the lemon curd.

I did however have my first real issues with the buttercream coming together. I thought it got to hot, but it was really too cold and found some resources online to help. This one helped the most and was exactly what happened to me. And I’m quoting it here for future reference. The buttercream will always work!

“Finally, I found post where someone had the same problem I did… and an answer that made me think I could still pull it off.

Published March 1, 2001. From Cook’s Illustrated.

Can I save broken or curdled buttercream frosting?

Given proper proportions and supervision when its sugar base is cooked, buttercream frosting can be made quickly and easily. But cooks are inclined to read catastrophe into their finished efforts if the icing looks curdled or broken. However, appearances can be deceiving and most problems with buttercreams can easily be corrected.

The biggest threat a buttercream faces is temperature. If the frosting appears soupy and slippery, it’s likely grown too warm. Plunge the bowl into an ice bath and whisk briskly until the icing becomes silky and cohesive again. If the buttercream resembles fine-curd cottage cheese and slides about in the bowl, it’s likely too cold (from cold butter or a chilly ambient temperature). Wrap a steaming hot dish towel, turbanlike, around the bowl to heat it up and whisk or stir it with a wooden spoon to bring the icing back to its shiny, satiny self.

I had to read it a couple of times, and then I laughed. My frosting seemed to have a little bit of both problems, being both soupy and clumpy. First, I plunged it into an ice bath and while things started to firm up a bit, it really just turned back into butter. I put it back on the stand mixer, with no success. I then decided to put it back on the steam to melt it all down and start over. After it melted down, I plunged it back into the ice bath and whisked it by hand as the mixture cooled. Once I thought it had cooled enough, I pulled it out of the cold water and kept whisking. My arm was getting tired and sore (can you tell I don’t do this kind of thing often?!), and I was just about to give up on the clumpy mess when it suddenly began to change, and become a smooth and creamy mixture.”

Buttercream Harumph! / Delicious Science

March 29th, 2010 by Steph.


Mike and Nick’s Improved Smith Island Cake (8 layer cake with raspberry buttercream and chocolate ganache frosting)

August 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

Made this cake for a recent birthday celebration. I’ve been wanting to make this again with a different/better frosting than used for the original recipe posted early in this blog’s life. This new concoction was undeniably successful. Even though the leftovers have to be kept in the fridge (because of the buttercream), this cake remained fresh, moist and really tasty for 4 days (only a emergency kept this from lasting that many days though). The cake recipe is the same as that posted before, but I’ll include it all for easier access.

For those that think making 8 cake layers is too much work (I assure you it’s really not), I think this combo would work very well in a two or three layer cake as well.

Raspberry buttercream adapted from Call me cupcake! and chocolate ganache frosting (not a glaze) adapted from Martha.



1 box cake mix (Duncan Hines yellow is the go-to, but use a flavor if you’d like, I suggest adding zest of 2 lemons to flavor)

1 can evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cup water

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 t. salt

8 T. softened butter

The steps

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease four 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray, dust with flour, and knock out any excess. Set aside.

2. Put cake mix, 1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk, butter, vanilla, salt, eggs, and 1⁄3 cup water into a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 10–12 minutes.

3. Divide half the batter between prepared cake pans (if using 4 pans). Set remaining batter aside. Using the back of a spoon, spread out batter so that it covers the bottom of each pan, making it slightly thicker around the edges than in the middle. Bake until cooked through and golden around edges, 12–14 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly, then loosen cake layers with a knife and invert onto cooling racks.

4. Wash and dry cake pans. Repeat process a second time with cooking spray and remaining flour and batter.

While all the cake layers are cooling, make the raspberry buttercream then the ganache.


Raspberry Buttercream 

This was on the sweet side for me when tasted alone but balanced really nicely in the cake. Adjust if desired or if using for another purpose (will also depend on your fruit).

5 egg whites

3/4 cups sugar

1 stick plus 6 T butter (just 2 T short of 2 sticks)

6 oz package of raspberries, macerated with a sprinkle of sugar


1. Pour eggs whites and sugar in a clean bowl to be used for a double-boiler. Put the bowl in your make-shift double-boiler (pyrex bowl over a pot with a little simmering water in it). Whisk the sugar and eggs constantly until the mixture gets to about 140 degrees F (or rub some of the mixture between figures, if sugar has melted you’re done).

2. Remove from heat, whip until white, fluffy and cool (should be mixture of shaving cream). Start adding butter 1 T at a time. This process can take 10-15 minutes. Just when you think you’ve done something wrong it all comes together. If it gets to cold, put over the double-boiler for a few seconds and re-whip. If it gets to hot and looks curdled and soupy, put it in the fridge briefly and re-whip.

3. Add raspberries (strain if desired, but I wanted it all in) and vanilla to taste. Whip until smooth.

4. Put just enough on each layer.


Dark Chocolate Ganache Frosting

1.5 cups whipping cream

1/3 cups powdered sugar (a little more to taste if desired)

12 oz bittersweet chocolate (roughly chopped, I used 70% Ghirardelli and an amazing local chocolate)

pinch of salt

vanilla to taste

1. In a saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, salt to a gentle boil. Add vanilla, and pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl.

2. Let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined.

3. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.

Holiday Stuffing

December 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

I now have a go-to stuffing recipe that tastes just as good as in-the-bird stuffing (so it thus appeases and fully satisfied the strange Stove Top lovers out there as well as those who like to live on the riskier side of life and eat it straight from the bird). Nick loves it and I have to make it for his family at every holiday, as I will this Christmas. For some reason it’s just taken years to make it to the blog…

It’s from Cook’s Country a few years ago I believe. Soy sauce is the surprise ingredient, and it just gives it a meaty/umami flavor that it doesn’t normally have out of the bird. The addition of the cream and a few more eggs than would normally be used to keep it moist.

I often just put it in a big disposable aluminum pan and cook it in that. It makes a good amount, but there are never leftovers.

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Bread Stuffing
Serves 10-12Firm sandwich breads, like Arnold Country Classics White or Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White, work best here.1 loaf hearty white sandwich bread (24-ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 16 cups)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 onions , chopped fine
3 celery ribs , chopped fine
4 garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees. Arrange bread in single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes, stirring bread and switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool.

2. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onions and celery until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic, sage, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and soy sauce and simmer until slightly thickened and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.

3. Whisk eggs, half-and-half, parsley, salt, and pepper in large bowl. Slowly whisk in warm onion mixture until incorporated. Fold in toasted bread and let sit, tossing occasionally, until bread is saturated, about 20 minutes.

4. Transfer stuffing to greased 13- by 9-inch pan. Melt remaining butter and drizzle evenly over stuffing. Bake on lower-middle rack until top is golden brown and crisp, about 50 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve.

Make Ahead: The stuffing can be prepared through step 3 and refrigerated, covered, for 1 day. When ready to bake, proceed with step 4, increasing cooking time by about 20 minutes.

Puppy Chow

December 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

This is probably the recipe from the box of cereal, but it’s still good.




9 cups of favorite Chex cereal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. Measure cereal and pour into large bowl

2. Combine chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter in 1 qt microwavable bowl. Microwave on high for 1-1.5 minutes, until melted. Stir in vanilla.

3. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal. Stir until all pieces are coated.

4. Pour cereal mix into large ziploc bag with powdered sugar. Shake until covered.

5. Spread on wax paper until cool.

Meringue Pecan Crescents

December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is a tricky one, and the best cookies from my grandma.

makes 6 dozen


Cookie dough

1 oz yeast

3 tbs sugar

1/2 cup scalded/cooked milk

4 1/2 cup flour

4 sticks butter

4 egg yolks, well-beaten


6 egg whites

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 cups finely chopped pecans

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract


Cookie dough

Mix yeast, sugar and milk together. Let stand 5 minutes.

Cut butter into flour.

Add eggs and yeast mixture. Blend thoroughly.

Divide into portions (in 3-4 pieces and roll into ball). Flatten and wrap in wax paper.

Chill for several hours.


Beat egg whites until very stiff.

Slowly add sugar while beating.

Sprinkle in vanilla and almond extract over pecans and toss. Add to meringue.


Roll out a portion of the dough into a circle.

Spread with meringue mix.

Cut into pie-shaped wedges.

Roll wedges from wide end to the point.

Twist into half-moon shapes.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Cook at 375 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.


After completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment



Combine 1 1/2 cups Zwiebeck crumbs, 3 tbl sugar, 3 tbl melted butter

Press into bottom and up sides 2″ of 9″ springform pan. Bake at 325 for 5 minutes.


16 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup light cream

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar

4 egg yolks (keep whites separately)

3 tbs all purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt


Beat all ingredients in mixer until smooth.

Fold in 4 stiff-beaten egg whites.

Turn into prepared crust.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour. (in water bath?)

Combine 1 cup sour cream, 2 tbs sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Spread over cheesecake

Bake 5 minutes more.

Chill thoroughly before serving.

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