Tag Archives: Baking

Strawberry Trifle Recipe (Dessert for Kara)

Strawberry Trifle

This blog post is for my niece Kara. It is her very favorite dessert, except for possibly cassata cake. Come to think of it, the desserts have essentially the same ingredients. She always requests this dessert and even asked for us to make it together when she spent the day here. She can eat more trifle than should be able to fit into a 50 lb. body! Must run in the family. This recipe is an original concocted by me.

Ingredients:

1 boxed white cake mix, prepared

1 lb. fresh strawberries, save a large one for garnish

1 1/2 tubs Cool Whip, regular or light, thawed

2 boxes instant vanilla pudding, 1.85 oz. each (4 serving size)

3 cups milk

chocolate for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  • Make boxed cake mix as per package directions. Bake it in a 9″ x 13″ pan. Allow to cool. Cut the cake into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.
  • Prepare the pudding. Empty both boxes of the pudding into mixer bowl. Add 3 cups of milk and mix. The pudding will be a little thicker than usual. Chill for a few minutes.
  • Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut them into bite size pieces.
  • The trifle should be assembled in a clear glass trifle bowl for visual effect. I use the plastic bowl from my salad spinner since my trifle bowl cracked. The bowl is clear so works fine. It is used in the pictures here.
  • Spread a thin layer of Cool Whip to cover the bottom of the bowl.
  • Place a layer of cake cubes over the Cool Whip spread in the bowl.
  • Add a layer of the strawberries.
  • Spoon a layer of pudding over the strawberries.
  • Add a layer of Cool Whip.
  • Repeat until all ingredients are used up, making sure your top layer is Cool Whip. I always do the layers in this order. This allows any strawberry juice to soak into the cake and the pudding to run in the strawberry crannies.
  • I take the large, reserved strawberry and make slices, leaving it attached to the hull. Push the attached sliced so they spiral and place in the middle of the top dessert layer for garnish. (See photo above.)
  • Optional: Take a fine grater and grate chocolate directly on to the top of the dessert. You can use a Hershey bar or other chocolate. I used a Malley’s chocolate Santa left over from Christmas on this one. Use good quality chocolate.
  • Refrigerate until serving. I would say this serves about 10-12 people. Unless one of them is a trifle-loving niece, then it serves about 4!

Feel free to make substitutions! You can use any flavor cake. I like strawberry as pictured below. I have also used chocolate or brownies. Use different fruits as well. It will work with raspberries, blueberries, or peaches. I would avoid bananas because they might turn brown. You can also use different flavors of pudding. Mix and match ingredients as per your taste.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing-Gluten Free Version

Scones
Gluten Free Scones

When I made the Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing https://sanctuary-acres.com/2021/04/29/cranberry-orange-scones-with-maple-icing/ , I also made a gluten free version. Here is the recipe I used from Pinterest for the gluten free version https://feastingonfruit.com/vegan-oat-flour-scones/

I did make a few alterations to the gluten free recipe. Of course. I used chopped cranberries for the fruit and added the maple icing. I also used regular sugar and butter. The texture was a little on the crumbly side but the flavor was good.

Scones
Left: regular scones, Right: gluten free scones.

I have been experimenting with various gluten free recipes so you may be hearing more about this from me. Baking is my forte and it appears that there is nothing that reacts the same way as wheat gluten. There are substitutions but they don’t work in the same way, so the results are different. This usually means a different texture and in my experience a flatter product. Gluten appears to be necessary for the rise.

When I make some other gluten free baked goods that I am happy with, I will share the process with you!

Scones
Left: regular scones-iced, Right: gluten free scones-iced.

Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing

Cranberry-Orange Scones
Cranberry Orange Scones with Maple Icing

I posted a picture of these scones and had several requests for the recipe. I had to type it up to include my alterations as I never prepare a recipe without making some changes. I figure, I know what I like so why not adjust the recipe accordingly?

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 1/3 cup cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I substitute regular milk or almond milk with a splash of white vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest, freshly grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda. Use a pastry cutter to cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. The butter melts during baking and allows air spaces for a soft interior texture. Stir in the chopped cranberries. The dough may require a bit of kneading to come together. Knead as little as possible, so you don’t melt the butter and lose the air spaces.

Pat dough into an 8 or 9 inch diameter circle on a greased cookie sheet. Score the circle into 8 wedges with a serrated knife, or adjust the size and number of wedges as desired.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and move to a serving dish. Frost (or not!) when mostly cool.

Maple Icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted and slightly cooled so it doesn’t melt the sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Mix above ingredients together. Add more sugar to thicken, or more syrup to thin. The ratio may need to be changed slightly, depending on the temperature. Spoon mixture evenly over scones and frost with a butter knife.

Enjoy!

How Many Variations Can You Come Up With For This Cookie Recipe?

Orange ginger cinnamon cookies
Orange, Ginger Cinnamon Cookies

I love this cookie recipe! I got it from Pinterest, the source of most of my new recipes. Click on the following link for it. Easy Snickerdoodle Cookies Without Butter Recipe – The Frugal South Note that the recipe is not mine. The original recipe at the link above, is for snickerdoodles, but anyone who knows me, knows that I like to alter things.

I first found this recipe during the beginning of our state’s first stay at home order during the pandemic. I was looking for dessert recipes without butter because I was running low on it. This recipe uses oil instead of butter. The other great thing is, the recipe is easy! Always a plus. As the pandemic has dragged on, I have made many variations of this cookie and all have been delicious. One special note, which is pointed out on the link, do NOT over bake these cookies or they will get hard.

Some variations I have made on the original recipe follow. Add the ingredients in addition to those in the original recipe:

  • 1 box lemon jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 Tablespoon milk (or almond milk), add almond slice on top
  • 1 box lime jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, and 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 box orange jello, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup oatmeal, 1 Tablespoon milk, and optional-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa, 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter

Any of these variations could have the following added too:

  • chocolate chips, or any flavor chips
  • walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.
  • coconut
  • dried dates, apricots, craisins, raisins, etc.

I stopped adding the sugar and cinnamon mixture from the original snickerdoodle recipe to the top of each cookie, only to save time and make it easier. You could continue to do this, if you wanted.

snickerdoodle cookie recipe
Cookies fresh from the oven!

How many variations can you come up with for this recipe?

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Recipe For Coconut Walnut Cake

Coconut walnut cake
Coconut Walnut Cake

I was looking for a coffee cake recipe that didn’t require butter. I couldn’t find one so I adapted my old standby muffin recipe. The cake turned out to be exactly what I had in mind.

Muffin Recipe

Muffin recipe transformed to cake follows. Double the recipe above so there is sufficient volume for a Bundt pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (I made adjustments to the time and temperature to accommodate a cake. )

First, combine the wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup liquid-I used vanilla almond milk
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs

Whisk the above ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Add to wet ingredients and stir just until mixed. Then I greased a Bundt pan and added chopped walnuts to the bottom of the pan. Approximately 1/2 cup.

Then I folded the following into the batter.

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pour the batter into the pan. Place in oven for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a large plate. Allow cake to cool completely.

You could consider the cake done at this point. I decided to add an orange glaze. To do this I mixed together the following:

  • Juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Blend these three ingredients to desired consistency. Add more juice if you want to thin the glaze. Add more sugar to thicken.

Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.

And you are done! Enjoy the cake with a scoop of ice cream on the side, or just with a warm cup of tea.

It’s Good to Have Options

Pumpkin Pie
Freshly baked pumpkin pie

Today was a baking day. We were out of dessert, so I decided to rectify the situation. We never did get pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving since we didn’t have a big family gathering this year. So I baked this pie right before dinner.

Brownie and ice cream
Brownies and ice cream

The oven was already on so I whipped up a batch of brownies from scratch and put those in to bake at the same time. Turns out, it’s a good thing I did. The pie wasn’t cool enough to have after supper. We had the brownies with ice cream instead.

It’s good to have options. And extra dessert!

A Little Christmas

Morty under the Christmas tree

The Christmas spirit has arrived at our house. It began to snow late this morning. It was a calm, light fluffy snow. The kind that invokes thoughts of good cheer and peace.

So I got out our little tree and decorated it. All of our animals love the tree, but especially the cats. They take up residence underneath and you can find one or the other of them there for the season. After a few squirts of Bitter Apple chew deterrent, they stop chewing it for the rest of the season.

Thumbprint cookies

After lunch, I made a couple batches of cookies we traditionally have around the holidays. First, I baked the thumbprint cookies and filled them.

Molasses crinkles

Then I made molasses crinkles from a recipe handed down from my mother’s Aunt Clara. Mine are never as good as Aunt Clara’s but they are delicious nonetheless. I suspect Aunt Clara used lard in her’s.

Now I am ready to relax for the evening with a couple of cookies and a good book.

First Pie in the New Oven

Our stove had been on its last legs for a while and finally died right before Thanksgiving. In this wonderful (sometimes!) age of being able to order things on-line, I was able to have another one here within a couple days without ever leaving the safety of home. And free delivery! I did have to adjust the temperature on the oven. It seemed to run a little low, but all is fine now.

Today I made the first pie in the new oven. I wanted to make a shoo fly pie and for some reason I got a recipe from Pinterest rather than using my usual one. In the mood for something different I guess. The recipe I went with is quite different. The crust has flour, butter, egg yolk, olive oil, and white wine. Yes, you read that right, white wine. And in addition to the molasses, the filling has black coffee.

While the pie is good, I think I prefer my old standby recipe, clipped from the newspaper years ago.

White Cake

Egg Whites

Yesterday was my first attempt at making a white cake from scratch. That’s what my husband requested for his birthday this year. This picture shows the six egg whites beaten until stiff and ready to fold into the rest of the batter.

White Cake From Scratch

I iced it with the requested buttercream frosting. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. It involved 3/4 of a pound of butter. No wonder it was tasty.

When I bake cakes, I generally use a box mix as the base and make flavor additions and adjustments. I will be trying other cakes from scratch in the future.

Now to find something to do with those six egg yolks!