Summer CAKE

Refreshing Summer Cake….

Refreshing Summer Cake

Beautiful. Delicious. Refreshing.

and Healthy!

This beautiful tiered cake made of watermelon and decorated with fruits and a few veggies offers a delicious, refreshing and healthy dessert …. or is a fruit salad?

Let’s Eat CAKE!

It’s CAKE TIME!  Let’s Eat CAKE!

…at least once a week

….isn’t that what Betty Crocker, (or was it Duncan Hines or Pillsbury?) led us to believe? 

Works for me!

Somewhere along my journey from childhood, it may have been programmed into me, but I have become convinced that the proper homemaker provides the family with a luscious layer cake every week. Let's Eat Cake!

It hasn’t happened for me….yet.  It remains a standard for me to live up to and now…. we are going to eat cake!

I’ve always been attracted to pictures (& recipes) of pretty cakes. As a child, I would linger over the lovely pictures in the cake section of my mother’s Betty Crocker Cook Book… drooling, dreaming, and wishing I could taste them;

Cake Time! wishing even more, I could actually MAKE one of them – so pretty, they had to taste good too! I never actually made any of the fancy ones (Sunburst cake, or Pink Cake or Queen Elizabeth Cake, or….)

We always made a tried & true ‘safe’ cake  – usually the ‘quick cake’ which was quick – and easy – sort of a ‘dump cake’  – and eaten fresh and hot out of the oven with chocolate syrup drizzled over it….. mmmm…that was actually really good! Still… not the same as I imagined the fancy frosted layer ‘party’ cake would be. Not that I didn’t try once in awhile. Determined to make the ‘perfect’ chocolate layer cake, I would end up with a lopsided, drooping, sagging sorry excuse for a layer cake.

So – when I came across a collection of recipes on the internet for lovely layer cakes (with pretty pictures!) I wanted to make them ALL – so luscious and so enticing! (don’t you just luv the internet? -all those delightful recipes!!)

Let's Eat Cake!

Knowing it would take me a LONG time to make them all, I challenged a few fans (& relatives) to join me in raising the bar and striving to be the proper homemaker with a weekly cake. Realizing that one a week for each of us still might be a bit much in our busy lives (and healthy lifestyles), we decided a one-a-month each would work.

And so it starts – a random drawing of a recipe each month for each of us and we have: One Cake A Week! (Maybe even a Betty Crocker Cake!)

Let the baking begin and . . .

Let’s Eat Cake!

Let's Eat Cake!

 

 

 

Image Credits: General Mills, Betty Crocker.com, Epicurious.com, My Recipes.com

Tuscany and Castagnaccio – a Chestnut flour Cake

Oh, the places to go and foods to eat! Here is another delightful article from Red Week.com

Tuscany in Autumn – A Timeshare Vacation, Plus an Authentic Italian Recipe

When it comes to travelling, most of us immediately think of a summer vacation. And while the summer period is perfect for swimming in the sea and sunbathing while sipping a nice cool cocktail, the much cooler autumn period offers its beauties and possibilities, as well.

Italy offers a whole set of timeshare vacation destinations for those who love culture and sightseeing. And Italy is not only Rome and Venice: the region of Tuscany is also a wonderful destination. Tuscany is a northern province of Italy, and includes such illustrious cities as Florence, Sienna, Pisa and Lucca.

Visiting the region is not only a good idea for culture aficionados but also for those looking forward to a romantic getaway. Italy as such is considered the country of romance; this atmosphere seems to be concentrated even more densely in Tuscany. The sweet little cafés and small streets tend to get the couples closer to each other and slow down the quick rhythm of life, helping us to focus on each other and relax mentally and physically.

Plan a Tuscany timeshare rental or timeshare exchange vacation for luxury accommodations.

Thank you to our guest author, Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati, who writes the Gourmand World Award-winning book series The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, and is Executive Editor of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati™ blog. She is considered one of the foremost experts on Italian cuisine and culture.

One great advantage of traveling to Tuscany off the peak season is that prices are low, it’s less crowded, and you can enjoy the atmosphere of Italy in peace. It also gives easier access to the museums, which is important when it comes to maybe the most famous – Uffizi of Florence, where you can spend hours waiting in the line if you go in the peak season.

However, the fall season offers a different Tuscany than summer or spring would. The incredible beauty of the mosaic of the thousand colours of fall transform the forests into paintings expressing the charming tranquillity of the coming season.

Apart from the natural beauty of the country that would enchant any visitor, fall offers a great opportunity for wine tasting, Tuscany being the home of several excellent wines. From November up to December the new wine festival takes place all across the region, offering the visitors a real insiders’ look and an authentic Tuscan experience.

Besides wine, chestnuts, mushroom and sausage are also favourites of the autumn season. A great range of festivals take place in Tuscany related to these products, from the wine festival of Chianti to the chestnut festival in Grosseto.

A typical food you are likely to taste if you visit one of these festivals is the Castagnaccio, a chestnut flour cake, made as follows:

Ingredients:
1 cup chestnut flour*
3 cups water
1/3 cup raisins
¼ cup pine nuts
5 walnuts (optional) – peeled and coarsely ground
1 tsp olive oil
approx 20 needles of rosemary

*In the U.S. chestnut flour can be found in Italian foods specialty stores, gourmet shops such as Williams-Sonoma, and some Whole Foods.

Method: First, mix the flour with the water until the mix is soft but not liquid. Add the olive oil, raisins, pine nuts and walnuts and mix them all together. Oil a pan large enough to make the dough 1 cm thick (close to ½ inch), and sprinkle the rosemary on top. Bake the cake at 200 Celsius (325 F) for around 35-40 minutes, until cracks appear on the top of it. Then let it cool and serve!

The authentic taste of this cake is enjoyable not only in Tuscany, but you can make is at home as a reminder of a wonderful fall vacation.

 

Photo Credit (top): ilchiostro.com
Photo Credit (bottom): donnamoderna.com