Ina's Orange Pound Cake

I am a Food Network Junkie. It is on the TV in my house 90% of the time, I owe part of my passion for food and cooking to that channel. Since deciding to stay home and raise kids, it's all I watched and what I did not learn about cooking from my mother I picked up from that channel.  One of my all time favorite cooks on there is Ina Garten. AKA The Barefoot Contessa.  I L O V E her. I want to spend a few weeks hanging out with her and Jeffrey, I want to sit with them and eat Jeffrey's favorite Friday night roast chicken while sippin Martini's, we can play bridge afterwards with her lovely friends. And for dessert we could have her coconut cupcakes or macaroons and sip hot chocolate...doesn't that sound wonderful? A little scary maybe? Like a bit stalkerish? Okay I really am not a stalker (not) but I do love her and I have all of her cookbooks. Everything I have made of hers is AMAZING! Today I want to share her Orange Pound Cake recipe, not only is it delicious, but the recipe makes not one but TWO cakes, you can freeze one for another day or give it to a friend or neighbor or eat them both we usually do :) Make this, you will love it.

2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup grated orange zest (6 oranges)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Glaze (optional)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2 inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and 2 cups of sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the orange zest.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the orange juice, the buttermilk, and the vanilla. Add the flour and the buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour, Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

While the cakes bake, cook the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup of orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, let them cool 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans and place them on a baking rack set over a tray. Spoon the orange syrup over the cakes and allow them to cool completely.

To glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice in a bowl mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a few more drops of juice, if necessary, to make it pour easily. Pour over the top of cakes and allow glaze to dry. Wrap well, store in frig.

My love of cupcakes.

I adore cupcakes! Anytime I am in a new city I hunt down the best cupcake shops and sample them out. They simply make me happy. Today I am sharing one of my favorite cupcake recipes. Enjoy!

Red Velevet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick room temperature butter
2 eggs, room temperature
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 tbsp dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tbsp. red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixxer for 3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is mixed well. In a seperate bowl sift together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla extract, and red food coloring.

Add a fouth of the dry ingredients and mix then a third of the wet. Continue adding dry, wet, dry etc. ending with the dry ingredients.

Scoop batter into cupcake liners (I use an ice cream scoop) about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes.


1 stick room temperature butter
8 oz of Philly cream cheese room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanillla extract

Whip together the butter and cream cheese until smooth slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla continue whipping until light and smooth.

After cupcakes cool completely, dollop with frosting.

Letting go...

This week was another milestone. This summer he learned to swim, and he learned to ride a bike, it was huge! He is my youngest of three boys, he is five...he is my baby. This week he left me for kindergarten. I was not sure how I was going to react,  I daydreamed about the few extra hours of alone time I would gain EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. More time to clean, bake, run errands, catch up with friends, worship my God, get a part time job. But when I looked at him he seemed too little to leave my arms, too tiny and innocent to get on the big yellow bus. How would he find his classroom all by himself ?  How would he make friends on his own? He would get lost in that great big school! How will he find the bathrooms? Would he remember to wash his hands?
He, the five year old... my baby, informed me he would be fine. He was ready, he was excited, he jumped out of bed and got dressed on his own and got his own breakfast, he was ready for this adventure, so I had to let him go. I prayed for God to protect him and watch over him since I could not. I prayed for God to bring him back home safe to me. God listened. God is good.

Last day.

Today was our official last day of summer. The boys planned an end of summer party for the kids on our street, I did not do a single thing, I actually just learned about it a few hours before. I sat inside peeking out the windows while all the setting up took place. There was food and drinks....
Healthy options were not available at this party, everyone seemed happy.
There was music and dancing.
There was corn hole.

Plenty of seating.

They said they were hot, they asked to come in, I told them "No, Go Away!" (I am mean like that :))

They found a solution to their problem, ALL. ON. THEIR. OWN.

I am really impressed, my boys know how to throw a party!

Almost over....

After the new outfits, new shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, pencils, folders, markers, crayons, loose leaf paper, scissors, calculators, etc. were purchased and organized, we rushed to the pool to do more of this...

We only have 7 more days.

Angel Food Cake

I raise hens, random I know, and I will share more about my lovely ladies another day. Yesterday, I realized I had  an abundance of eggs I needed to use and angel food cake came to mind. If you've never made angel food cake from scratch, you must try this recipe. Its easy, its light and airy and literally melts in your mouth. (It makes those ones you buy in the grocery store taste like cardboard.) Try it!

2 cups sifted superfine sugar divided (it's important to use superfine sugar)
1 1/3 cup sifted cake flour (not self rising)
1 1/2 cup egg whites (10-12 eggs)
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar with the flour and sift 4 times (this is important and what helps give it that airy texture)
Set aside. Place egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment and whisk on high until the eggs make medium firm peaks, about 1 minute. With the mixer on medium speed add remaining sugar by sprinkling it over egg whites and beating until thick and shiny. Add vanilla extract and beat until really thick about 1 minute. Sift 1/4 of the flour mixture and gently fold into batter using a rubber spatula continue to add flour and fold until its all incorporated. Pour batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes until it springs back to the touch. Invert pan onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

This cake is perfect all alone, as is. You could also add 1 tsp of lemon zest into the batter when you add the vanilla and it would be delicious as a bed for fresh berries and fresh whipped cream. HOWEVER, my husband and rascals are chocolate lovers! So I made ganache. I take equal parts chocolate and heavy cream and put in a double boiler and stir until all the chocolate is melted and combined. Warning you might want to dive into that bowl of chocolate, swim around in it for a bit, just make sure nobody's looking. I won't tell ;)

A getaway.

This weekend, I went to the beach. No husband, no kids, just me and some girlfriends. It was wonderful.

It was a time for relaxing, reading, fellowship, girl bonding. Refueling, reflecting and a lot of laughing... deep belly laughs, the kind that bring tears to your eyes. Did I mention it was wonderful?

I came home to this.

It made me realize that even though it's nice to getaway, it's even better coming home. I am so blessed and thankful for these gifts! Even if they do sing out of tune :)

Trisha Yearwood's Key Lime Cake

I had some limes...I made a cake.

Here is the recipe.


1 3ounce Pkg lime flavored gelatin

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

5 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

3/4 cup orange juice

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup key lime juice (about 25 key limes or 4 regular limes)

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, prepare (3) 9 inch round cake pans
In a large bowl mix together gelatin, sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Stir to mix well. Add eggs, oil, orange juice, vanilla, lemon juice. Divide batter among the 3 pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool cakes in pan for 5 minutes then invert onto a wire rack. While the cakes are still hot mix together the lime juice and confectioners sugar and pour over the cakes (you can pierce the cakes with a fork to help it soak in more.)

CREAM CHEESE ICING (I doubled this recipe)

1 stick of room temp butter

1 8 ounce pkg cream cheese

1 1lb box of confectioners sugar

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth, add confectioners sugar until combined and smooth, spread in between layers and all over cake.


Big Day!

Today started off just another ordinary day. Hot, humid, kids are bored, I'm ready for school to start. This evening after a few hours at the pool, I throw a frozen pizza in the oven (you heard right...frozen pizza) because it is too HOT to cook and I am too tired of being too hot to cook anything.  Did I mention is was HOT? My husband gets up to look out the window to find our youngest, our baby RIDING HIS BIKE! Not just riding his bike like all the other days but riding his bike WITHOUT training wheels!! We were so proud and immediately ran out to photograph and video tape this huge milestone... our ordinary day turned out to be kind of a big deal.  My chest is tightening a little. Next up is the school bus in 3 weeks. UGH!