Archive for January, 2017

The Perils of Baking

Yikes, disastrous events!  Power outage with cookies the oven, burned cookies, wacky dough mixtures, fallen cakes, double the amount of butter in a pound cake?  We’ve all experienced unexpected disasters while baking, I presume.  I’ve had my share.  Perhaps the most alarming was a customer ordered almond danish pastry sliding off the baking sheet as I took it from the oven.  Darn that parchment slips so quickly, I watched as the pastry savagely ripped apart, after smashing on the floor.   I ate some of the chunks of course but had to start all over so the danish could be shipped on time.

All perilous but what I am really referring to, are the physically painful ‘in the blink of an eye’ contact with HOT oven racks! Burns, to be exact.

I, as many of you also perhaps, have been frequently ‘branded’ while baking.   A hazard of using an oven or cook top.  My right hand and wrist have been zapped so many times, I am surprised I don’t have permanent scarring!   At times the burns are so ugly I hate to bare my arms in public, lest people wonder what the heck I have done to myself!


I was recently branded by a tray, ( notice the delicate curve of the corner! ), on my inner forearm leaving a very neat but obvious mark which took quite a while to fade into a memory.  Looking at it now, I have to wonder how I did it.  It’s a heavy SS tray, must have bogged down over my arm during removal.  That was a painful encounter.

Precautions, safety equipment …. I choose to use pot holders over mitts, thus more of my skin is exposed to the lurking racks.   It’s fast, grab and go.   So many choices these days for protective gear …. silicon mitts, being the latest.   I don’t really like silicon, don’t use the sheets and considered trying the mitts but prefer to keep clean up quick & simple. Silicon tends to be sticky and attracts lint.  I designed a pot holder with a thumb protector but discarded it, finding it easier to slip my hand into a cloth mitt if I really desired ultimate coverage.

I guess there are dedicated mitt users or pot holders.  One or the other, or do bakers mix it up?  Do we toss the mitts & holders for kitchen towels?  Is this a topic friends engage in?   Who uses an apron in the kitchen?  Processor, hand mixer or stand?  Are you a gadget fanatic?

The mind boggles with what might go on in the kitchen.  I guess I like to take my chances in the bakery, live on the wild side, grab that basic pot holder and venture into the oven at my own risk.  My skin can take it.  It’s pretty tough these days!

Be safe, whatever protection you choose to use.   Until we eat, meet again. Mangia!


Read Full Post »

Thought it was about time to introduce our local Etsy team Facebook page – where you’ll discover a treasure trove of unique handmade and vintage items.

My latest post reminds everyone that Valentine’s Day is around the corner and we have lots of sweet treats available to send out as gifts such as our Heart ‘n Arrow Jammies.


We have a talented group of artisans and sellers of one of a kind vintage finds, residing locally, who all have shops on the internet market place, ETSY.   We’re making ourselves known to the community with our team Facebook page.   If you have a spare moment check us out!   Support local businesses!

Till next time we eat, ah, meet; Mangia!

Read Full Post »

I searched for a recipe that had significance for the New Year and discovered the Orange Brandy Cake below, since it brings the consumer good luck, with a lucky coin hidden inside.   All I can think of when items are put into a cake, is a trip to the dentist!   I did just that favoring a broken molar, after consuming a lovely slice of pie of my making and biting down on a peach pit chunk.  Is that luck or what?!


I had the intention of making this cake but after reading it over I decided it resembled the always yummy Brandy Pound Cake offered in Little Neva’s Bakery.  The recipe below uses orange juice as well as zest.  My cake requires sour cream and I add in 4 pure extracts to exotically dance around the brandy.    Serve it with macerated fruit, whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce.  Eat it plain, but no matter your version, you will be so satisfied with every bite, down to the last morsel or crumb.  Yum!


Moist, extremely flavorful, terrific shelf life and just darn good, this tried and true recipe has been in my possession for many years.  The original recipe called for Apricot Brandy but I have since used basic brandy or sometimes blending apricot with it.  It had been a favorite with the family and has been shipped around the world many times, arriving in spectacular shape, regardless of the destination.  Perfect as a gift, party, treat and made in Virginia, too!

If your curiosity has been peaked here is the link to our adored Brandy Pound Cake: https://www.etsy.com/listing/67054935/pound-cake-butter-rich-moist-embraced?ref=shop_home_active_3

Do give this one from Epicurious a peek, bake it, eat it, let me know what you think..  If you order Little Neva’s pound cake also please let me know what you think!   Love feedback!

 New Year’s Orange and Brandy Cake

( from Epicurious website)

Makes one 10–inch round cake


    • 4 large eggs, separated
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, or a combination of butter and margarine
    • 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
    • 1/2 cup brandy
    • 4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • Grated zest of 1 orange
    • Grated zest of 1 lemon
    • Whole blanched almonds


    1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 10-inch round cake pan.
    2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light yellow and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the butter or butter and margarine and beat for 1 minute more. Beat in the orange juice and brandy.
    3. Whisk together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and the zests in another large bowl. Add to the yolk mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until incorporated.
    4. In a large clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the pan and shake gently to even the top. Decorate the top with almonds.
    5. Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until it is golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack before removing from the pan and serving.


Read Full Post »


LIFE, FOOD, FAMILY AND BAKING REFLECTIONS, what goes on between bakery hours

Tea Time Shopping Guide

From the Afternoon Tea, Chat, and Treasuries Etsy Team

Relishing It

All things food

frugalfeeding | Low Budget Family Recipes, UK Food Blog

n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food.

Two Barn Farm

Sustainable Farming, Permaculture, Gardening and Homesteading in Ohio

Earlysvillefarmersmarket's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog