Archives for posts with tag: Family

Plum cake

I normally don’t count food as being my “something creative” for the day, but I am making an exception for this. I don’t bake. I can open a box of cake mix, add an egg and get a reasonable result, but I don’t bake cakes from scratch. My Mother-in-Law was horrified when she found out I used boxed cake mixes. She’s been gone for 10 years now, and I still feel a pang of guilt that there are cake mixes in my pantry.

She was known for her plum cake. For years after she was gone, no one could find the recipe, then we discovered she had given it to her niece who sent me a copy. That recipe is dated 2009. This past weekend, I found some of the small oval plums you are supposed to use in this cake and bought them from a farm stand. They are the plums I remember from my childhood, and now most stores only carry the large round ones.

Looking at the recipe I had a moment of panic. It called for yeast and scalded milk. This was serious baking from scratch. But I started in during the middle of the afternoon. The yeast was bubbling, the milk scalded, everything in step one was combined. It was at that point I realized I had neglected to realize the dough needed to rise for 90  minutes. I was too far along to stop, so I covered the bowl, set it on the stove and took a 90 minute break.

This is a cake that is not so much baked as constructed. It has a layer of the batter (nicely risen after 90 minutes), then a layer of plums. A layer of butter and cinnamon sugar, and a layer of streusel topping.It then has to rise another 30 minutes.  But wait! It is not done yet. It gets baked for 25 minutes, removed from the oven, then a layer of custard gets poured over the top for the final 15 minutes of baking.

All in all a three-hour+ process. To make a cake. But it is more than a cake, it is a memory of my Mother-in-Law.



This is my dad. Isn’t he cute? He just got back from his 60th college reunion this past weekend. I may be biased, but he is a pretty amazing guy. When I was growing up, I never knew that some people called professionals to fix things in their house. He was able to do everything. As you can see from the photo, that hasn’t changed.  He came over to our house to help with some electrical projects. As his able assistant, I actually learned how the circuits and junction boxes worked, but I was still happy to have him do the work since he actually knew what he was doing.

I got creative with dinner tonight. Roasting up a bunch of vegetables with some fresh rosemary from the herb garden. When I was working, I never felt like I had the time to roast vegetables since I got home so late and quick dinner preparation was my main goal. It’s been fun to try different meals. I do get into a rut of preparing the same rotation of food, so this time has given me the chance to experiment with new recipes and mix things up a bit.

My father-in-law turned 86 on New Years Eve. He came to his country from Germany with his family after World War Two. He is the only boy, with 5 sisters. They traveled in a refugee boat, landed in the port of New Orleans and made their way up to New Jersey, where most of the family continues to live. Today we had 3 of his sisters over for a birthday celebration.

A rare smile, spending time with his sisters.

Happy birthday!

My FIL has Alzheimer’s, and while it is not to he point yet of his not recognizing people, it has certainly begun limiting what he is able to do. It used to be easier for us to take him to south Jersey to see all of them, but now, the trip and the time away from home, is too much.

With that, it is not always easy to arrange everyone’s schedule to make the trip to see us. I was glad they could all make it today. Preparations for their arrival began early. This left little time for creating anything other than a lunch for everyone and doing some last minute cleaning. I did manage to site for a short spell this morning once the food was on the oven and before they arrived and put a few rows into the grey alpaca scarf.

I love having people over, but as a classic introvert, it does leave me tired. It leaves all creatures in the house tired. The kitties were social, missed their afternoon naps, and now we are all spending time on the sofa recharging. Trudy opened her eyes long enough for a photo.

I am trying to nap here.

I am trying to nap here.