lemon springtime cake

 

Springtime Cake Recipe
Debuting in my kitchen on Mother’s Day 2018,

this springtime cake recipe is dedicated to all you Moms out there!
Thank you for everything you do…

and for ensuring we never go to bed hungry!
~   ♥   ~

Pucker Up, Cake Lovers

Just before jettisoning to my first official family vacation in over 5 years (insert glad face here) I made this cake. Before I dive into why you should make it, too, I want to share a crazy family story connection with this recipe!

Before leaving for the Texas Coast I was reminded of a list I recalled that was tucked away in my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook. For 7 years I had thought it was a list Mom wrote in preparation for an October trip to the coast to enjoy the temperatures of the beachy, breezy 70s and 80s which is quite delightful after the typical blazing Texas summer.

Since I was reminded of the beachtime list I snapped a few pics of the list (below) and texted them to my Dear Cousin Alison, who is as much a fellow Foodie as one could hope for. She and I texted back and forth while Joe drove me and the Dogs to Port Aransas… somewhere around Refugio, Texas, I had a huge revelation – the list wasn’t for a family vacation, it was preparing for an e-vacuation!

What Chew Talking About, Willis?

I stumbled across the date “10-22-62” that was written off to the side of my Mom’s list and after seeing my Googled search results my heart started beating faster. My family wasn’t about to to go on a joyride trip – they were preparing for the Cuban Missile Crisis! I had heard about the Cuban Missile Crisis before, but I didn’t realize its potential for devastation here on U.S. soil.

Aggressively searching on Google for more clues about this date and it’s significance to San Antonio I stumbled upon a passage from the book A Tale of Three Cities (authored by R. Douglas Brackenridge and published by Trinity University).

“During the Cuban missile crisis in the fall of 1962, students monitored events closely, aware that because of its military bases, San Antonio was a prime target in case of enemy attack. One student wrote, ‘We live in an age in which we have five minutes to rush to a bomb shelter to live. For that is how long it would take for a nuclear missile launched from Cuba to reach San Antonio.’ … The university was preparing shelter areas with minimum provisions in case an emergency should arise.”

Sobering. As a alum of Trinity University, there’s no doubt Mom’s ties to her alma mater rang loud during this scary time. Even more so, I was amazed how – once again – a simple recipe from Mom’s cookbook could unearth so much history and relevancy to my family.

Um, Did You Forget About The Cake?

Of course not! As a self-proclaimed extreme foodie, culinary consumables are always on my mind. So let’s get to it! What I think you’ll love about this cake:

  • The checkerboard cake pattern. 50+ years ago alternating yellow and white cake was surely quite a surprise, cleverly “hidden” beneath the lemony frosting.
  • Layered pudding cake. Need I say more?
  • The tart and sweet taste of the lemon frosting. You can peel off the frosting recipe and make it for cupcakes or any other cake where you want a citrusy lemon appeal.Springtime Cake

Foodie Tips

  Mom’s Options For The Frosting: 1) Mix lemon juice into 2 packages (7 ounces each) butter-cream style frosting mix or; 2) Make your own delicious Lemon-Butter Frosting compliments of Mom’s recipe that pairs wonderfully with this cake! The instructions below presume we will be making scratch frosting, since that’s how I enjoyed it. The scratch frosting was super-simple to make and the taste was excellent!

  Tube pan vs. bundt pan. I didn’t know the difference until I was already into baking this recipe! Luckily my bundt wasn’t extremely fluted and the cake popped right out. But I was panicking that the batter was going to ooze all over my oven as the tube pan holds a little more batter than the typical bundt.

i. Time

Total prep: About 2 hours, including baking, cooling and chilling.

ii. Ingredients

for the cake:
1 package | angel food cake mix
6-8 or so | drops of yellow food coloring
1 package | lemon instant pudding
varies | milk or water (read directions on the pudding package)

for the frosting: (yields 2 ½ cups)
½ cup (1 stick) | butter, softened (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
| cage free egg yolks
4 cups (1 pound) | confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons | lemon juice

iii. What to do

for the cake:

0.
Preheat your oven to 375°F.

1. While that’s prepping, in a large bowl prepare the cake mix. Spoon half the batter into a second bowl and add about 6-8 drops of yellow food color and stir well; leave the other batter original “white.”

2. Fill an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with alternating spoonfuls of yellow and white batters. Do not stir! I wound up with 3 layers of alternating colored batters in total; yours may vary.

3. Bake your cake mix in your preheated oven about 1 hour, or until done.

4. Remove the cake from the oven, turn the pan upside down onto a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Prepare the instant pudding mix and chill it about 10 minutes to allow it to thicken.
Springtime Cake Recipe Layer 1

6. Loosen and turn out the cake (mine literally fell out of the pan). Using a  large serrated knife to slice the cake into 3 horizontal layers. Spread the pudding between layers leaving the top of the cake plain.

7. Frost the top and sides of the cake (frosting recipe below).

Springtime Cake Recipe

for the frosting:

1.
With a hand mixer cream the butter until soft.

2. Blend in the egg yolks.

3. Add sugar a little at a time and alternate with the lemon juice.

4. Blend until everything is thick and creamy-smooth. The suspense is killing me! Let’s frost the cake and get to it!

Despite my excitement to devour this I was able to wait and chill my cake for 15 minutes or so. This step is totally optional but I like my citrusy cakes chilled and refreshing.

Yields 12-16 servings!

~ Patrick

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

Scans Of My Mom “Betty’s” Original Springtime Cake + Frosting Recipes

Springtime Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Springtime Cake From Betty's Cook Nook

Hats Off To You, Springtime Cake

Ready for my Mom’s Cuban Missile evacuation lists?
Here they are followed by a few comments from the “me” of today to yesterday.

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 1

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 2

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 3

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 4

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 5

  • Pink Baby Quilt – Since Mom and Dad only had two boys I thought this one was interesting. Then I was reminded that ultrasounds didn’t become popular until the 1980s so undoubtedly they received a pink blanket for what turned out to be baby boys. Surprise!
  • Snowsuits, Coveralls, and Flannel Shirts? In San Antonio? Alison noted a passage in the “Fallout Protection” book below that explained the wintry coverups: “Young people might be injured more by nuclear radiation than older people. This is because young people are more apt to absorb radioactive elements into their bones and internal organs than are older people.”
  • Water (5 Gallons) and Toilet Paper (4 rolls): I found these quantities disproportionate to what I would insist upon – more like 80 rolls of toilet paper and 5 boxes of wine… to get me through the weekend.
  • Bonus Reading Below: My Cousin Alison gave me links to so many awesome references about nuclear fallout. I know it’s weird to be posting about them here, but they are a blast from the past, so I’m sharing them.

President JFK’s Cuban Missle Crisis 10-22-62 Address:

A Fallout Shelter Audio Clip:

Fallout Protection: What to Know and Do

Family Shelter Designs

New Homeowner Opens Shelter Sealed Since 1961

A Special Treat: Something From the 80s


blueberry cheese pie

A Blueberry Cheese Pie Recipe From Betty's Cook NookTastes Like Cheesecake … But It’s Really A Delicious CheeseFake

This no-bake cheese pie recipe is super simple to make! There are just a few ingredients involved and a little bit of time in the fridge and voilà – you’re ready to send your tastebuds off on a fruity flavor adventure.

I’m ok with a cheesecake imposter recipe – especially when it means less time preparing and more time eating a delicious treat!

foodie tips ~

  One of my favorite foodie “secret weapons” are mini fillo cups. These bite-sized wonders are perfect for desserts and raclette. You can keep them in your freezer and they require no defrosting or baking! The instructions below assume we are making the mini cups version.

  The blueberry topping is good and I see cherry pie filling was listed below as an option. You can also top this pie with fresh fruit like strawberries, banana, kiwi – or all of your favorites!

  You can leave these in the fridge for a few hours but I wouldn’t suggest you leave them more than 4-6 hours; these present best fresh.

Betty's Cook Nook Turns 4

We’re turning four this weekend! Thanks to my Mom Betty and fellow Foodies who keep our passion alive!

i. ingredients

8 ounce package | cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons | lemon juice
½ cup | sweetened condensed milk
9 inch | pie crust, baked then cooled (or the mini fillo cups )
21 ounce can | blueberry pie filling (or cherry … or fresh fruit)
to serve | powdered sugar (optional)

ii. what to do

1. Soften It Up: Let the cream cheese soften before you jump to Step 2. This will ensure that you can get a really creamy cheese mixture. Just rest the cream cheese on your kitchen counter while you phone a family member, play fetch with the dogs, write a friend a letter … or whatever your heart desires.

Ingredients For Your Blueberry Cheese Pie2. Mix It Up: Beat until smooth the cream cheese, the lemon juice and the condensed milk. (sidenote: I laughed out hard when I saw the recipe instructions originally said to “beat up” the ingredients. “Kitchen violence” is not tolerated here at Betty’s Cook Nook! LOL.)

3. Fill ‘Em Up: Fill your mini fillo cups (or your pie crust) with the cheese mixture. Leave a little bit of room for your fruit topping (Step 4). You can use a spoon to do this … or … one trick I like is to transfer the filling into a Ziploc bag, close it tight and snip a bit of one corner off with some scissors. You just made your own piping bag which makes filling the cups a snap.

4. Top ‘Em Up: Top the filled cups with your fruit filling or fresh fruit and chill thoroughly for an hour or two. If you don’t plan on serving these in a few hours you can always reserve the fruit until about an hour before you’re ready … and let the cheese-filled cups (sans fruit) chill ahead of time.

5. Serve ‘Em Up: Plate your pies. You can dust with some powdered sugar to create a pretty contrast on top of the fruit.

Serves: 8-12 folks, depending on how you make this dish (pie or mini cups).

~ Patrick

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

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe.
The handwriting isn’t Mom’s but it looks suspiciously like my Aunt Delores’ handwriting. Cousin Julie says she thinks it’s hers, so either way, I win!

A Blueberry Cheese Pie Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook


sweet and sour slaw

A sweet and sour slaw recipe

‘Twas 1976

I was just a tot of 9 when this recipe was published.

Not that I remember or should remember, but I’ve developed a sixth sense affectionately termed “internet stalking.” Rather than use my acquired skills for ill will, I use my skills for the betterment of nostalgic foodie-ism. Which brings me to this recipe.

I really had no reason to turn over the “sweet and sour slaw” recipe (see the two-sided scan below) Mom had apparently torn from a magazine. But “curious me” did turn it over!

Reading the recipe’s back revealed an authors name “James Farrell.” And his book, “The Dunne Family.” In two clicks I found the book’s publish year of 1976, our nation’s bicentennial. Keying in a few words from the article – specifically “james farrell 1976 it was late afternoon when we picked up our boat in Newton Falls” and I was taken to this. A scan of the article which revealed it was from the May 2, 1976 issue of FAMILY WEEKLY.

A scan of the May 2, 1976 issue of FAMILY WEEKLY showing Melissa Gilbert and her two Moms.I then found this black and white of the original cover that was from Florida (I think each city just printed their name on the front). Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert was on the cover with her two Moms. Melissa was a kid-time favorite of mine – bonnet and all. <– Shakes head, but true!

This recipe was a great find! It’s a kissing-cousin of cole slaw and the dressing is what makes it truly unique. Pineapple and lemon juice are the key dressing ingredients that make this crunchy salad a reacquired family favorite.

Hopefully this story reminds us all that sometimes things are greater than their initial face value. Turning over a stone here and there can be a good thing. In this case, I discovered another publication my Mom read when I was too young to take notice … plus I was able to reignite fond memories of a childhood friend … in just a few clicks.

foodie tips ~

  Unless you’re feeding a small village or love cabbage, I’d suggest easily “halving” this recipe! There were easily 15-25 servings based on the original recipe. I was eating slaw for days! The hips do not lie.

♥  This stored extremely well in the fridge. I think the flavors were able to buddy-up and become BFFs. At least that’s what my taste buds say.

  Whenever possible, use fresh ingredients vs. canned – in this case use fresh bean sprouts as I’ve never seen fresh water chestnuts.

i. ingredients

2 ½ pounds | cabbage, shredded
2 cans (16 ounces) | bean sprouts, drained
2 cans (8.5 ounces) | water chestnuts, drained and thinly sliced
1 ½ cups | mayonnaise
6 tablespoons | lemon juice
 cups | unsweetened pineapple juice
2 teaspoons | salt
1 ½ cups | onion, finely chopped
2 cans (4 ounces) | pimiento, drained and diced

ii. what to do

1. In a large bowl mix cabbage, sprouts and chestnuts. Cover and chill in the fridge.

2. Combine mayo, pineapple juice, lemon juice, salt and onion.

3. Pour dressing over the chilled veggies and toss until well coated.

4. Stir in the pimientos and serve!

Yields: 4 Quarts. QUARTS!

A scan of Mom's original sweet and sour slaw recipe


bbq baked pork chops

A BBQ Baked Pork Chop recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

Pork. The Other White Meat.

I did some research and found out that “The Other White Meat” campaign debuted in 1987 – the same year Mom died and after she would have cooked this dish in the kitchen. So I guess you could call Mom a pork visionary. :)

Pork. The other white meat.I learned that this ad campaign has been one of the top 5 most memorable promotional taglines in the history of contemporary advertising. I can promise you that as an ad guy, that’s a huge accomplishment.

So lean meat and tagline aside, Mom was making pork in the Kiker kitchen and she was throwing fat into the mix … pre Paula Dean. I can see why – this bbq pork chop recipe holds its own, with or without bones.

This dish was so tender I could actually cut my chop with a fork. Well worth the wait coming out of the oven. Enjoy!

i. ingredients

4 | pork chops (Mom would have used chops with bones)
to season | fat for skillet
⅓ cup | celery, diced
½ | lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons | brown sugar
½ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | mustard
⅛ teaspoon | black pepper (I added more)
2 cans | hunt’s tomato sauce
½ cup | water

Barbecue Baked Pork Chops From Betty's Cook Nook

The Pork Chops Are About To Go Into The Oven

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Brown the pork chops in the fat.

2. Transfer chops to a shallow greased baking dish that has a cover.

3. Sprinkle chops with celery, lemon juice, brown sugar and the seasonings. Pour tomato sauce and water over the chops.

4. Cover and bake in oven 75 minutes or until chops are tender.

Yields: 4 Servings

foodie tip ~

 You’ll have leftover sauce from this recipe. Make good use of it on pasta or as a dip for grilled veggies.

Here’s a scan of Mom’s original recipe:

A scan of Mom's original BBQ Baked Pork Chop recipe card

Barbecue Baked Pork Chops From Betty's Cook Nook

Plated and ready to eat!
Chef’s Note: On the side is the tasty Blue Cheese and Bacon Twice Baked Potato. The recipe is also here at BCN!

 


steak diane

delicious steak dianeThe Great Steak Escape

When the Kiker-Sutton family had a special event to celebrate, the entire family went to La Louisiane (aka “La Lou”).

La Lou was certainly tops of the “frou frou” with white cloth covered tables, elaborate place settings and a fine dining menu, including favored treats like Steak Diane.

During the La Lou meal, my cousins and I would snort-laugh (in that order) as we tried to secretly place empty cracker wrappers underneath plates only to find that the wait staff’s magically darting eyes were too quick to pick them up and Snoopy Celebrates The 2nd Anniversary For Betty's Cook Nookdiscard them. Butter arrived pre-sliced and placed on your personal butter dish by the waiters who had a butter-flicking device I’ve never seen since!

La Lou opened in 1935 during the Great Depression. It survived for almost 60 years but sadly is no longer around. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have La Lou grace our kitchen compliments of this recipe from Mom’s recipe book.

I made this recipe on the 2 year anniversary of this blog. This recipe and the blog hold a special place in my heart … and most importantly my belly. Give Steak Diane a try and you’ll see!

Let’s Get Cookin’

i. ingredients

4 | sirloin strip steaks, ½” thick
to taste | salt
to taste | black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon | dry mustard
4 tablespoons | Falfurrias brand butter (per Nanny)
3 tablespoons | lemon juice
2 teaspoons | chives, snipped
1 teaspoon | worcestershire sauce
to garnish | mushrooms, cooked and fluted

some of the ingredients for steak dianeii. what to do

1. With a meat mallet, pound steaks to 1/3-inch thickness.

2. Sprinkle one side of each steak with salt, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of the dry mustard; pound into meat. Repeat on the other side of the meat and continue until all steaks are done.

3. Melt the butter in a skillet or chafing dish. Add the meat and cook 2 minutes only on each side. Transfer the steaks to a hot serving plate.

4. To skillet, add the lemon juice, chives, and worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Pour sauce over meat. Garnish with cooked, fluted mushrooms, if desired.

Serves 4

foodie tips ~

  Don’t overcook the meat. Go with the flow and follow the directions. A pink center is a tasty center.

  “Fluting a mushroom?” At first I thought it meant you held a jam session with mushroom to mouth, while wiggling the fingers. Not so much. Here’s a video and a blog that will help you turn mere fungus to life of the party. I couldn’t determine if you cook the mushrooms before or after fluting (per recipe) but they are really more for decoration so I’d suggest keep them raw and real and basting with lemon juice after cutting for a fresh presentation.

 This steak goes great with my newest favorite spud ~ the blue cheese bacon potato! I loved how the blue cheese taste didn’t punch you in the taste buds!

  Wiki says that Steak Diane is typically made with brandy. Somebody’s been holding out!

  Note that this recipe hails from Better Homes and Gardens, March 1968. Why, I was just a young tot of one way back then!

a scan of Mom's steak diane meal - 6 recipes in 1 scan


avocado mayonnaise

Avocado mayonnaise? Move outta the way... I'm hungry!A Diet Delight

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, let’s make Cinco de Mayo-nnaise (sorry for the cheesy play on words… it’s what I do).

I did find evidence of some diet foods in mom’s cookbook. This was one of them.

This recipe caught my eye more than once as I flipped through mom’s recipes. So let’s let ‘er roll! Who doesn’t love the taste of avocado?

Let’s Go, Avocado

i. ingredientsavocado mayonnaise ingredients (the bread's hanging out for the sammy party)

1 | small 10- to 12-ounce ripe avocado, peeled and seed removed
3 tablespoons | lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon | salt
1 teaspoon | peeled garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon | mayonnaise
2 tablespoons | water or chicken broth
3 or 4 drops | Tabasco brand sauce

ii. what to dogetting ready to make my blt sammy

1. Cut the avocado into small pieces and place in an electric blender (or immersion blender) with remaining ingredients.

2. Cover and blend until creamy and smooth.

3. Makes 1 cup; ¼ cup of the mayo is 114 calories.

Foodie Tips ~

The sauce may also be made by mashing garlic to a paste with the salt then mashing all ingredients together with a fork. Chunkier.

my avocado mayonnaise blt sammy


While the serving suggestions pair the mayo with broiled fish steaks and steamed mixed vegetables, this mayo *has* to be great on a BLT sandwich or chicken sandwich. Diet, “sm-iet!”

To make the BLT Sammy: Toast your favorite bread, top with avocado mayo, tomato, lettuce and your favorite bacon.  ♥ ♥ ♥

mom's avocado mayonnaise recipe (plus two bonus recipes!)


frozen fruit delight

Mom's frozen fruit delight recipe“Think Snow”

One of my favorite childhood memories was spent with Mom as we’d “will” snow to come for a delightful visit.

During special winter nights, when the temperature dropped and the dark sky was fluffy white, we’d patiently sit together by the dining room window with the back porch floodlights aglow. We were watching the sky for flurries.

South Texas snow flurries!

While snow flurries didn’t arrive until I was 18 years old, this seemingly fruitless ritual instilled in me the basic belief of hope. Hope for a snowier tomorrow. And more importantly… the belief that something great was just around the corner… no matter how long it took to arrive.

While the South Texas snowflake is a treasured rarity, the greatest of all snowfalls arrived in January of 1985. Still living at home with Mom, (she was a widow just 3 years young), we woke to discover a 13 inch snowfall in our Alamo City! It was like a Texans’ Colorado-loving dream come true.

Oh, and it was.

It was then I found my most favorite frozen delight. And now I share with you Mom’s culinary frozen *and fruity* treat, compliments of this recipe. Now you don’t have to wait for winter to muster-up your own frozen delight.

Think Snow!

i. ingredients

1-8 oz. can | crushed pineapple (Dole doesn’t make 8.25 oz. cans any more)
2 large | bananas
¾ cup | sugar
2 tablespoons | lemon juice
2 tablespoons | chopped cherries
2 cups | sour cream
1/2 cup | chopped texas pecans

ii. what to do

0. First find yourself a 1.5 quart mold. Since “quarts” aren’t referenced much these days, a 1.5 quart mold holds 6 cups.

1. Chop the cherries and pecans if need be and set ’em aside.

2. Drain the pineapple and dump the mixture into a medium-sized prep bowl.

3. Mash the banana and add it to the pineapples.

4. Mix in all of the remaining ingredients.

5. Pour the mixture into the mold and freeze until firm (about 4-6 hours).

To serve, dip the mold into warm water a few seconds to loosen the frozen delight. Place an upside down serving plate on top of the mold… flip… and lift the mold up. If you’re lucky the delight will release from the mold and you’re ready to dig-in!

This is an easy dessert to make with kids ~ a fine alternative to the hand crank ice cream machines used back in the 70s, when I was a tot.

Foodie Tip ~

  I’m sure Mom used jarred red maraschino cherries for this tasty dish. You can also use Amarena Fabbri wild cherries from Italy to spice this up a bit. And you can add a few more than just 2 tablespoons. For posterity.

Mom's frozen fruit delight recipe ~ psst... think snow!

Mom’s Original Recipe Scan

The Kiker Family Sled

Think Snow