prune cake

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Thanks To Prunes, The Wait Is Over

If you’ve made it this far into the recipe then you’re obviously open to prunes. I mean hey, they have a bad rap for being associated with senior folks… and for giving the gift of, ahem, “regularity.”

Regardless of prunes’ affiliation with the trots at least 4 generations of my family have loved knocks at bathroom humor even before it was vogue. So I’m not sure why it took me 8 years after recovering Mom’s cookbook to dive into this recipe just because of the word “prune;” I should have been drawn to it!

So in 2000 even though the FDA changed the name of prunes to “dried plums” which boosted sales I say bring on the prunes! They taste great no matter what they’re called and who doesn’t like a little regularity? Plus, it seems that California may have returned to their prune-y roots, making me want to just call this “prune-plumb cake” just to ensure I have all “loose ends” covered (pun intended).

A Prune By Any Other Name…

I smiled when I saw this came from the Fredericksburg cookbook of our family friend “Lela.” Fredericksburg, Texas holds a special place in the hearts of Texans and it’s where Texas-German charm and heritage runs as thick as our state’s love for silky queso. I had a gut instinct this cake had historical origins to our European roots and I was right! Whether it goes by spice cake, election cake or muster cake, this is a delightfully decadent and dense cake that tastes like a warm slice of sweet Christmas drizzled with butter.

What’s different about this cake is the twist of incorporating Texas pecans and vanilla, and commingling them with the fruity smash-up taste of prunes in both the cake and the icing! I think you’ll agree this cake will disappear in a jiffy!

I saw in a recent McCormick video (below): “It’s the recipes we pass on to the next generation that are the reason there’s really no flavor like home.” And I hope this recipe becomes a, ahem, “regular favorite” that hails from Fredericksburg, to Lela, to my Mom, to me, and now to you!

Foodie Tips

❤  You can enjoy prune cake tabletop warm or cold from the fridge… but my favorite is when it’s just a bit warmed from the toaster oven or the microwave.

❤  9″ x 13″ loaf pan? This threw me because I thought loaf pans were almost as tall as they were wide. A 9″ x 13″ pan is what I call a sheet cake pan. I’m wondering if I could make a couple of 5″ x 9″ loaf pan cakes out of this!

❤  Prunes’ super power? Fiber, sorbitol, and polyphenols. They act as antioxidants and help keep a clean house.

i. Time

Total prep: 1-2 hours (includes cooling the cake)

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. Ingredients

for the cake:
3 | cage free eggs, well beaten
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | soda
1 cup | buttermilk
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
1 teaspoon | ground cloves
1 teaspoon | allspice
1 teaspoon | nutmeg
1 cup | mashed prunes, cooked
1 cup | pecans, chopped
2 cups | flour
1 teaspoon | baking power

for the icing:
2 tablespoons | butter (my Grandmother insisted on “Falfurrias” brand butter)
1 cup | sugar
2 | cage free eggs
½ cup | sour cream
1 cup | chopped prunes
1 cup | more chopped pecans
1 teaspoon | vanilla
a pinch | salt

iii. What to do

1. In a medium bowl beat the eggs and add the sugar. Beat everything together.

Prune Cake Recipe

Now Forming: A Blowout

2. In a measuring cup add the soda into the buttermilk, making sure to leave plenty of room as the soda will cause carbon dioxide bubbles to form, so use a larger measuring cup to prevent a “blowout,” (shown).

3. Add the salad oil, the buttermilk mixture and the the rest of the cake ingredients and mix well.

4. Bake everything in your choice of a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan or three greased 8-inch cake pans at 350°F for about 25 minutes. When done remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack, if you have one.

Prune Cake Icing

5. After the cake has cooled a bit you can jumpstart your icing! Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs. Mix with the remaining icing ingredients, transfer into a medium pan and cook over medium-low or medium heat until thick. Spread on cooled cake.

Serves: About 20 (sheet cake style)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom's Prune Cake Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Cake Recipe

 

Who is Lela?

When I was growing up Lela Swinny lived at 3006 Northridge in San Antonio just 2 doors around the corner from my family’s home at 2927 Trailend.

The Swinny family was a delightful bunch of folks and my family spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

American Revolution Bicentennial LogoMom’s dear friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim in their awesome pool, and how to cook a memorable breakfast treat called “Egg In A Nest,” which is also posted here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

True family fact: Back in the 1970s Lela was throwing out an old desk that caught my Mom’s eye. A coat of red paint later and it was a cornerstone in my brother Tim’s red white and blue bedroom (it was around the time of our Country’s Bicentennial celebration so red white and blue was hot). In the 1990s I painted the desk black and it’s the desk where I author this blog to this day, proving that Lela is still with us, heart and soul!

You’ll find a picture of Lela and me in the “old family photos” tab and you can search for her by name to connect with more of her spirited recipes.

Cheers to two great friends – Mom and Lela!



kalua pork

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook NookPerfect Chow For A Luau

I probably overlooked this recipe due to my first hangover in college from an untimely overdose with Kahlúa.

But this recipe doesn’t incorporate the Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur; I discovered it’s actually spelled “kālua,” which refers to a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an underground pit oven called an “imu.” We won’t be digging any holes in the back yard for this recipe but I think you’ll find – sans the pit – that its got a delicious and warm flavor that will high five your tastebuds.

This recipe hails from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen. Hawaii held a special place in her heart; in Julie’s later years she would whisk her kids and grandkids to Hawaii for Christmas holiday. Also Hawaii fans, my Mom, “Betty,” and Dad Honeymooned in Hawaii in 1955 just 4 years after it became a U.S. state. So strap on your hula skirt, open-toed sandals, and top things off with a lei – we’re making kālua!

Foodie Tips

❤  Dry sherry vs. cooking sherry? Yeah, I still get confused. Here’s where you can get the 4-1-1 on sherry.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

❤  My Cousin Jennifer said Julie and the family often enjoyed this dish with taro rolls, which are funky purple moist rolls often served at Hawaiian Luaus. You can score a recipe for taro rolls here. Other great sides that Jennifer said complemented Julie’s meals were a salad, Sister Schubert’s yeast rolls, and mashed potatoes.

i. time

Allow extra time to marinate the pork. I let mine rest overnight but the recipe only calls for 2-3 hours. Total prep is about 6 hours. This is a slow-bake delight well worth the wait!

ii. Ingredients

5 pounds | center cut loin pork roast
¼ cup | soy sauce
2 tablespoons | dry or cooking sherry
large clove | garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon | ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon | thyme
⅔ cup | peach or apricot preserves
¼ cup | chili sauce (hot sauce)
8 ½ ounce can | water chestnuts, drained and sliced

iii. What to do

1. Place the pork in a gallon-sized baggie.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

2. Combine the soy sauce, sherry, garlic, cinnamon, and thyme and pour over the roast. Marinate the pork in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

3. Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Kalua Pork Recipe

4. Remove the roast from the baggie, saving the marinade. Place the roast on a rack in a shallow baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes per pound (about 2.5 hours) or until a thermometer registers 170°F.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Why was I using a candy thermometer vs. a meat thermometer? Well, it’s what I had in the drawer. LOL

5. While the roast is still in the oven, in a small saucepan combine the reserved marinade, the preserves and the chili sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring often.

A Kalua Pork Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook6. Brush a little of the sauce over the pork and roast it 10 minutes longer.

7. To the remaining marinade add the water chestnuts and any juice that is left from the roasting pan. Heat this through and serve on the side along with the roast.

Serves: 6-8

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Kalua Pork Recipe Card

A Scan Of Julie’s Handwritten Recipe Card

Kalua Pork Recipe

Thank You, Jennifer!


pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook NookThe Best Of Fall

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when wearing flannel and smelling like patchouli is top of mind. Also top of mind? PUMPKINS!  🎃 There’s no better way to ring in fall’s greatness other than watching the fall favorite It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

The Peanuts gang were probably my best friends growing up. In a time before you could record TV I never missed a show. I remember sketching Snoopy on top of his doghouse… and funny, I never thought it was odd that Snoopy slept *on top* of his doghouse rather than in it. Childhood innocence.

While your pumpkin bread is baking, come back and watch the movie below – share it with your family and friends and celebrate the way we were… and the way we are with the best of fall!

Foodie Tips

  I halved this recipe and made 2 medium-sized loaves. If you’re gift-giving or a lover of loaves, go all the way!

  One small can pumpkin? I presumed it was a 15 ounce can.

  The recipe didn’t note it but I greased my loaf pans before adding the batter.

  This bread is most great served sliced and toasted with a schmear of Phildelphia Whipped Cream Cheese.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes (minus resting)

ii. Ingredients

3-⅓ cups | flour
3 cups | sugar
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
2 teaspoons | nutmeg
2 teaspoons | baking soda
1 teaspoon | salt
| cage free eggs, beaten
1 cup | oil
⅔ cup | water
15 ounces | canned pumpkin
¾ cup (2 small boxes) | raisins
¾ cup | chopped nuts (a.k.a. “pecans,” here in Texas)
to top | more pecans (optional)

Pumpkin Bread In The Works

iii. What to do

1. Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

2. Add the eggs, oil, water, and pumpkin. Mix everything well.

3. Fold in the raisins and the pecans.

4. Pour the batter into two large or four small loaf pans at 325°F until the bread tests done.

ENJOY

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Peanuts Cook Book Circa 1970One of my most cherished childhood items is this Peanuts cookbook. Originally printed in 1970 it still remains in my kitchen today, almost 50 years later!

This cookbook was not mine, originally… but at the magical age of 10 I was such a fanatic about The Peanuts Gang I was able to smooth talk this cookbook out of my neighborhood friend’s kitchen and into mine!

Pumpkin Bread

A Scan Of Mom’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Sous Chef Note: While acquainting myself with this recipe I noticed a credit to “Barbara Harris” and took to the internet to see if I could find out who she was. Turns out Barbara was a San Antonio restauranteur who ran some popular food establishments in San Antonio and Dallas.

I found reference to Barbara’s Pecan Pie Muffins in Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite “Good Taste” Recipes – these muffins are surely a culinary cousin to the Pumpkin Bread recipe above. Karen was a food author for the San Antonio Express-News for more than 30 years so you know these recipes have gotta be tasty… I have Karen’s Good Taste cookbook printed out for my culinary archives and you can score a digital copy of her fifty favorites here > Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite Recipes.


wonderful christmas scent

A Wonderful Christmas Scent Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Ahhhh… the holiday smells!

There’s no doubt that my Mom “Betty” loved cloves.

She cooked with cloves and even decorated with them. At the holidays Mom would make orange-clove pomander balls and you guessed it – clove gum was a special treat beyond the usual mint flavored gums.

There’s no better time of year to enjoy the aroma of all that is spice and nice than at holidaytime.

This Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe comes to us from my Cousin Julie’s kitchen. Julie has contributed several recipes to this blog and her cooking advice has helped bridge the gaps in my much younger memory since the loss of my Mom back in the 1980s. Losing Cousin Julie in October (mere weeks ago) has left a huge void in my heart that’s only filled with the love and bountiful memories she gifted those who knew her.

This holiday season I dedicate all of it to Julie’s loving memory! And as you’d expect making this Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe could be no finer way to fill my home with a memorable great scent of the holidays.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – it’s so easy to make and enjoy! And you can gift the ingredients to friends and family as an easy way for them to brighten and heighten their holiday season!

Pomander Ball With Red And Green Ribbon

An example of the holiday pomanders my Mom “Betty” would make at the holidays.

i. ingredients

3 sticks | cinnamon
¼ cup | whole cloves
| bay leaves
½ | orange, halved
½ | lemon, halved
1 quart (4 cups) | water

ii. what to do

It doesn’t get any easier than this, folks!

1. Put everything in a medium-sized pot over low heat.

2. Bring things to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Check the water level periodically to ensure it hasn’t all evaporated. You can tilt a pot lid on top to help release the fragrant mist while helping retain the water.

Enjoy and Happiest Holidays from Betty’s Cook Nook!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Wonderful Christmas Scent Recipe

Julie’s original Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe was recently given to me by her son, Lorin. I’d peg this to be circa 1980s-ish given the colorful ribbon design.

In the tradition of many of my posts here at Betty’s Cook Nook let’s take a stroll into the past and enjoy some vintage images of gum advertising! I focus on clove gum, since it was one of Mom’s favorites and clove is a key ingredient in this Wonderful Christmas Scent recipe.

Click the circles to view the entire ad:

julie and patrick in starburst frame

Circa 1995: This one’s for us, Cousin!


magic marshmallow crescent puffs

magic marshmallow crescent puffs recipe
Let’s Make Some Magic

Edna Holmgren WalkerThis recipe is a Pillsbury Bake-Off® winner from time warp October 20, 1969! It marked the first time a refrigerated dough won the Bake-Off’s grand prize. Hats off to you, Edna Holmgren Walker (at right), for winning the grand prize that landed you in the Pillsbury Hall Of Fame and into the hearts and tummies of foodies across the globe. And thank you my Mom “Betty” for snagging this recipe so that I could enjoy it!

I think if you were to shout out “Pillsbury” in your local grocery it would soon be echoed with a “Doughboy!” But second to Snuggles, who annoyed my good childhood friend Scotty, the Pillsbury Doughboy just creeps me out. He’s always in a over the top good mood and his platter sized dilated pupils are super freaky. His laugh? Me, oh my!

The web is flooded with jokes and videos about the doughy guy. I even found his “fauxbituary” that said he died of a yeast infection caused by being poked in the stomach too many times. This commercial, however, is probably one of my favorites of him – it features Maureen McCormick in a spot from before her Marcia Brady stardom. Marcia! Marcia! Marcia! Thank you for practicing your singing before making what might have been something other than a Sunshine Day.

All kidding aside, the Pillsbury crescent rolls make the perfect wrapper for these sweet treats.

foodie tips ~

  Fine dining for two – four? You can half this recipe if you don’t want 16 magical puffs. Or you can make all 16 and get your crazy magic marshmallow puffs on!
magic marshmallow crescent puff exhibit A
  I read on some blogs that folks thought it was normal that the puffs had a coating of the marshmallow mixture inside, but otherwise the puff had blown a tire during baking. I absolutely disagree. Obviously there’s an art to creating the perfect magical mouthwatering gooey marshmallow puff and about half of my first batch turned out with no white explosion. Why, look at Edna’s vintage picture above – do you see any exploded puffs? Zero. I tasted both blown and unblown puffs and will eagerly testify in foodie court that these are best enjoyed with the entire marshmallow intact inside the perfect puff. That’s the magic!

how to make your own piping bag
 Need a piping bag in a pinch? You can fashion one out of a snack bag by inserting your icing and snipping a wee bit of the corner off. Works like a charm!

 Here in Texas “nuts” is an abbreviation for “Texas Pecans.” Giddy up!

 On my next go of these, I’m going to sprinkle a little fairy dust on top of these magic puffs. By fairy dust I mean crumbled bacon. Mmmm… bacon!

i. ingredients

¼ cup | sugar
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
2 8-ounce cans | Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
16 large | marshmallows
¼ cup | butter, melted (Betty’s Mom “Nanny” would say make it Falfurrias)
¼ cup | chopped nuts (make it pecans – see foodie tip above)
½ cup | powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons | milk
½ teaspoon | vanilla

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 375°F.

1. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

2. Separate the two cans of crescent dough into 16 triangles.

3. Dip a marshmallow in the melted butter then roll it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
how to roll a magic marshmallow crescent puff
4. Place the marshmallow on the wide end of the triangle. Fold the corners over the marshmallow and roll it toward the point. Make sure to completely cover the marshmallow and squeeze the edges of the dough to seal. We don’t want any melted marshmallow blowouts, remember?!
how to roll a magic marshmallow crescent puff
5. Dip the pointed side of the puff into butter and place the buttered side down in a greased deep muffin pan. Repeat the process until all your puffs are prepared.

6. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

7. Remove the puffs from the pan and drizzle with your icing mixture. Sprinkle with your pecans and serve warm. Note: While Mrs. Holmgren’s recipe below called for immediate removal and topping I ate my magic puff too fast and it was hot-hot-HOT! I’d suggest letting these rest a few minutes but don’t let them get cold. Nobody likes a cold magical marshmallow puff!

Yields 16 rolls (full recipe)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs Recipe

A scan of my Mom Betty’s original magic marshmallow crescent puffs recipe (see top right)

 

 

 


russian tea

warm. citrus-y. clove-y. mom's russian tea!
Tea For You


Back in my day (really, the 1970s), tea was born from a jar. There were no fancy tea shops, Starbucks or the like to stylishly tantalize the tea-lovin’ taste buds.

I still remember the “clang-clink-clang” made by the stainless teaspoon as I scooped the tea mix from the Kiker household staple – the Lipton tea jar. I’d drop a couple of spoonfuls into mom’s plastic strawberry iced tea glasses, add tap water, stir, then fill with some ice cubes. Mom would add a sliced lemon if we were going gourmet all the way, like for the Thanksgiving feast.

While we’re on the topic of ice cubes, one of my childhood chores (yes, Laura Ingalls wasn’t the only one with them), was to keep the ice cube trays full. Why? Well, modern conveniences like automatic ice makers didn’t exist in most homes so I had to make ice the old-fashioned way. Magic!

Tea. Simple and refreshing. Let’s “jooj” it up a bit with Mom’s recipe for Russian Tea.

Два чая, пожалуйста
(two teas, please)

i. ingredientsvintage instant lipton tea ~ thanks to flickr's "roadsidepictures" for sharing the pic

1 cup | instant tea powder (unflavored)
2 cups | orange instant breakfast drink
3 ounces | imitation lemonade mix
1½ cups | sugar
½ teaspoon | ground cloves
½ teaspoon | ground cinnamon

ii. what to do

1. Mix all of dry ingredients together. Store in a tightly sealed glass jar.

2. When ready to serve, add 2 slightly rounded teaspoonfuls of the drink mix into your cup of choice.

3. Add boiling water.

Makes: 1 quart

Foodie Tips ~

The dry mix makes a great gift ~ especially during the chilly holidays! Place the powdery mixture into a glass jar, wrap with ribbon and gift away.
 This tea is also good served over ice.
♥ Who doesn’t like sliced lemon with their tea?
 Make sure and check out the recipes below; the bottom two were donated by my super-cousin Alison-Sutton-Bergin. All I can say is… “Gig That!” The recipes are slightly different from mom’s and that’s inspiration to try something new. The top “spiced tea” recipe is from Debbie (Alison’s mom)… and the bottom recipe “instant russian tea” is penned by Alison’s dad, Bill(y).

a scan of mom's original russian tea recipe

Sweetness! Cousin Alison sent me these recipes from her mom's kitchen. Family rocks!


carrot cake

torta di carotaLove Carrots? Get Ready For This Sweet Treat!

In 5th grade, I remember my music class teacher praised me for my rhythm with the wood block. Grabbing that praise, I entered beginning band in 6th grade at Garner Middle School… and my passion for percussion marched on through high school and college. I still love music to this day.

Returning home garner yearlings! remember me?from summer band practice at Garner, I remember sitting on the floor watching TV (before cable or satellite TV) and Looney Tunes was tops on my list. Bugs Bunny was one of my favorites and we all know Bugs’ love of the carrot. With that in mind…

…I hope you enjoy mom’s tasty carrot cake as much as I do!

i. ingredients

for the cake:

2 cups | sugarbugs bunny loves carrots and drums
1-1/3 cups | cooking oil
4 | cage free eggs
2 cups | flour
1 teaspoon | salt
2 teaspoons | baking soda
2 teaspoons | cinnamon
3 cups | grated raw carrots
1/2 cup | nuts (texas pecans or walnuts)

for the icing:

1 pound | powdered sugar
8-ounce package | cream cheese
¼ cup | margarine (or unsalted Falfurrias butter, per my Grandmother, “Nanny”)
2 tablespoons | milk
2 teaspoons | vanilla

ii. what to do1... 2... 3... blend

0. Preheat oven to 300°F.

1. Beat sugar and oil… add the eggs and beat well.

2. Sift together the flour, salt, soda and cinnamon. Add to egg mixture and beat well.

3. Fold-in the grated carrots and nuts.

4. Transfer batter to a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

5. Bake 70 minutes at 300°F.

6. While cake cools, let’s make the icing by beating all of the icing ingredients (above), until creamy.

7. Spread icing on cool cake and serve.

Foodie Tips ~
"m" is for mom. it's also for muffins!
I had to cook the cake a little longer than 70 minutes. I used a ceramic dish vs. a metal one. So watch your baking cake carefully!

♥ Go nuts… Use tasty Texas pecans!

You can also make individual treats by transforming the cake into 24 cupcakes. Cook for about 50-60 minutes.

OR… you can even transform this recipe into cake balls! To yield about a dozen cake balls we crumbled 4 cupcakes along with 2 tablespoons of the frosting, chilled a few hours to firm then hand-dipped into white chocolate bark. Delicious!

Carrot Cake Balls From Betty's Cook Nook

 

 

mom's carrot cake recipe

A pic of Mom’s original recipe