Tuesday, July 21, 2020

"Never touch cake? Pathetic!"




In Jan Karon's In This Mountain, Esther Bolick thinks:
It was hard, very hard, when people couldn't--and, in today's world, wouldn't--eat cake.


When she was coming up, families lived from cake to cake. A cake was a special event, it meant something. Now a homemade, baked-from-scratch cake meant next to nothing.


For one thing, most young people had never experienced such a thing. All they'd ever known was bought from a store and tasted like hamster shavings, or had been emptied from a box into a bowl, stirred with low-fat milk, and shoved into an oven that nearly blew a fuse from being turned on in the first place.


Such a cake could never be your cake, no way, it would be Betty Crocker's or Duncan Hine's cake, and the difference between yours and theirs was vast and unforgivable...

Worse yet was the inevitable declaration: I never touch cake!
 Never touch cake? Pathetic!

I had to bake a cake. No birthdays, no parties, no company. Still, I had to bake a cake. I had everything I needed for Silver Palate's Williamsburg Orange-Sherry Cake with Orange Frosting.

Rather than type the recipe, I found a link (click here) where you can print it, with their link to the frosting.  

Be sure to soak the raisins in sherry the night before you want to bake the cake. 

Esther Bolick will be so proud of you if you do--if not hers, any cake. 


I wanted this to be a short post but couldn't end without showing you the milk glass cake stand we found last winter during those wonderful carefree days when we could wander crowded aisles of an antique mall without worry. Remember them?

It is a Pitman Dreitzer cake stand in Lace pattern that was under $30, found on Poshmark for $100. It's my only piece of milk glass but I think of dear Gladys Taber's milk glass collection when I see it in my kitchen every day.

The milk glass fills the corner cupboard and the old pine cupboard across the family room and at night when the fire burns on the hearth, it sends a pearly glow over the room.
Gladys Taber

 Stillmeadow Album




 


 

65 comments:

  1. Oh mercy! That cake looks soooooooo delicious!!! And decadent!!!! And we all need "some decadent" in our lives, at times!!!!!!!!!! ~smile~

    And did I tell you? I was in that wonderful family room, where that wonderful fireplace is... At Stillmeadow...?

    My husband, my teen daughter and I... Were allowed in... By Gladys' daughter Connie... Years and years and years ago....

    And did I say, your cake looks fannnnnnntasssssticcccc? ~grin~

    πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸŽ‚πŸ°πŸŽ‚πŸ°

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    1. Hold on...Connie invited you, your husband and daughter into Stillmeandow? That is the nicest thing! I'm so glad you had that experience. I would almost felt as if I were standing in a sacred room. I almost feel her presence when I look through the pictures in Stillmeadow Album so I know I would have felt her presence there.

      I just got through reading a book Connie wrote about raising her own daughters in NYC. It was interesting even though she wrote very little in it about her mother. Perhaps she was trying to establish her own separate writing identity.

      Do you have a post in your archives where you wrote about the visit? I would love to read it if you have!

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  2. Oh my, your cake looks delicious! I'm not much of a baker, but I love the efforts of others! I just finished a cookies and cream cupcake baked by a friend of our daughter. A little sweetness in life is good!

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    1. Hi Brenda! Thank you and I'm surprised as I would have thought that you would excel in baking as you do in design and decorating. Yes, we need a little sweetness in life!

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  3. wow, delicious - i will save the recipe so if I don't use it i can read about it...yum. I enjoyed reading what Esther Bolicks thinks. The only cake I would make from scratch back in the day was my mum's special applesauce cake recipe. Other than that it was always a boxed cake. Love your memories of antique stores. I enjoy them so much and miss walking through them. ...oh yeah my mom would also make a great carrot cake and an amazing oatmeal caie.

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    1. Sandy, your mother made three of my favorite cakes! I still like to make applesauce cake every fall and carrot cake for Easter.

      RH and I were just talking today about really needing to look for a small end table at our local antique stores. I'm not going to risk going until things are better but I might ride with him there, stay in the car and let him go in and look and take pictures of anything he finds.

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    2. That's a great idea - him taking photos and then you can choose. my mom added something extra in her applesauce cake - don't know if you do - marashino cherries, cut in half or quartered so they were tiny bits of cherries throughout. it was so good that way. I was wondering...gotta go get the name of the book i'm reading - i rarely read novels anymore and i happened to have this one that i got at a thrift store years ago...gotta go get the name... okay ....The author - never heard of her before this book - Francine Rivers - and the title is Leota's Garden. I can't help but think of you whenever I pick the book up to read. It's slow reading because most of my reading is when I'm on the internet but I read a few pages a day. It seems like something you would really enjoy. She was stated to be on the New York Times Best selling Author list. I am really enjoying it. I'll check back to see if you have heard of her but I really think you probably have.

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  4. Oh my stars! That cake looks divine! Please reserve a virtual piece for me, Dewena! Esther Bolick would definitely be proud of you!

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    1. I'll save you some from my next one, Kim; I sent a bunch of it to work with RH, I had two slices, RH had four and the last big slice went to the possum and cute little skunk that visit our bird feeder at night! I hope they liked it.

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    2. What lucky little creatures they are to live in your yard!

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  5. Two of my favorite authors-Gladys Taber and Jan Karon! I have the Mitford cookbook and it has Esther Bolick's cake recipe. I've never made it though. Your cake looks wonderful!

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    1. I've never made the OMC either, Jan, but I do love the beautiful cookbook and make some other things in it. I'm not sure I'm up for the intensive labor the OMC calls for! And to think that Esther baked them constantly as a hobby, or actually I think it was a calling for Esther.

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  6. Victoria magazine came up with a recipe for Esther's Orange Marmalade Cake years ago, and it was divine! I've never felt so proud of a homemade cake. This was around the time that Jan Karon was the Writer in Residence for Victoria. I still enjoy that magazine, but I do miss the older editions.

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    1. I remember that issue, Karen! I saved my old Victoria mags for many years. And I remember reading that the recipe was changed for the Mitford cookbook.

      I have a French themed Victoria that I've saved for years. It never gets old!

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  7. Thank you for saying store bought taste blech! Around here folks make cakes and sell them so it's not like store bought, fortunately! The cake stand is beautiful; I've never made Esther's OMC and probably never will. I'd eat the entire thing, then feel guilty for weeks.

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    1. And if I ate Ester's whole OMC or even half of it, I'd probably find myself in the hospital just like Father Tim did!

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  8. Homemade cakes are so,so good. I went to my cookbook collection because I have a Silver Palate cookbook, but not the one that this recipe is from. So, I copied and pasted from the website and look forward to making this cake, even if it is just for myself.

    Your cake plate is so pretty.

    Enjoy your week dear Dewena ~ Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Thank you, Lorraine! And the SP cookbook I have is the Good Times cookbook. And it is in 3 pieces now I've used it so much.

      You'll have fresh local oranges for the zest the recipe calls for! It should be delicious! Love to you!

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  9. That looks scrumptious and how I love Jan Karon!

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    1. Thank you and I remember that Jan gave you the big Mitford map! I bet you two immediately bonded, two sweet Southern Belles!

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  10. OMGOSH. you would KNOW that I love this post!!!
    I've read it again. twice now. and every single comment! what a lovely community this is! it's perfect! Esther would be proud. LOL!
    and I'm sure I'll read it even again.
    and your milk glass is glowing too. just like a treasured pearl!
    XO

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    1. Thank you, Tammy dear! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

      Doesn't the milk glass make you think of all the years Gladys and Jill collected it, a story behind each piece? I wonder if their children kept it or if it's still at Stillmeadow?

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    2. whenever i see your name Tammy I just have to give you a shout out. So hello lovely person.

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  11. So good to see you posting more often, Dewena - I just love your posts! That cake looks and sounds sooo good. I haven't baked a cake in ages (because I'd eat it all, lol) but hubby's birthday is Saturday and it's tradition that I make him a banana cake with cream cheese frosting, just as his mother did for him while he was growing up. He's not much of a sweets eater, but he does love this kind of cake. Lucky for me, I don't really care for banana cake with cream cheese frosting, so he can take all the leftovers to work to share with his co-workers.

    I love milk glass and your cake stand is so pretty. I have a few pieces, including a gorgeous cake stand that belonged to my great-aunt.

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    1. Thank you so much, Melanie! Staying home does give me more time to blog but I still can't keep up with all you bloggers who also are on IG. An early happy birthday to Brian! RH would love to help him eat that cake, anything banana. Like you, I'm not tempted much by it, or by banana pudding. Now cream cheese frosting is another story. I think I remember seeing your aunt's cake stand?

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  12. Hello,
    I love your posts my dear. They make me smile. I am a fan of Gladys Taber as well.
    I would love a slice of that cake!
    Carla

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    1. Thank you, dear friend! Wish I could share a slice with you!

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  13. Your luscious cake has me craving cake...and baking, which is not my forte! I have both Silver Palate cookbooks---they are timeless. Your choice sounds refreshing for summer. I may just try it. I love your cake plate, too, sometimes when we only have one piece of what some collect, it's all the more special. And this is so pretty. I'm looking forward to hitting some of the antique stores also. These times can make us yearn for the comfort of the past when the future looks so disconcerting.

    Sending love and I'm always happy to see you post!😘

    Jane

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    1. The SP cookbooks are timeless! I think you're right, those items from our childhood or our memories of grandparents have become especially precious now. Maybe our habits of throwaway style will turn more to saving and recycling things of the past instead of always chasing new trends. I wonder? Love to you, Jane!

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  14. I heartily concur with Esther's feelings about those who won't touch cake! I do enjoy a piece of good homemade cake and icing from time to time.
    My mother has a few pieces of milk glass - so pretty.

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    1. Oh, Lorrie, when I think of the pictures of your baking results, I feel like an amateur! You are an artist at it and I knew you would appreciate Esther's words!

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  15. The cake looks so yummy. I only made a cake from scratch one time and it was very tasty. Most times I make cakes from the box and then add special ingredients to make it feel more unique and homemade. The cake platter is beautiful. Have a great rest of the week.
    xoxo
    kris

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    1. Kris, maybe you're not into baking from scratch cakes but you certainly make magic in your gorgeous decor projects! I'm always amazed at what you and Terry do!

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  16. I believe in cake! My grandmother used to bake a cake every Friday, like clockwork. And as long as she could, she used to beat the eggs by hand. Her cakes were always simple, always delicious, and no store bought cake can compare. I don't keep up the tradition but when I do want or need a cake, I bake. Yours looks wonderful! Five yummy stars.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. "I believe in cake!" I love that, it says it all!

      Thank you for the 5 stars!

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  17. Hi Dear Sister, I love this post! And your beautiful cake stand. I always put a cake or pie on one, it’s the presentation, makes it special! I still have a couple of milk glass pieces!
    Every time I read a Jan Karon book, I thought of attempting to make the OMC! Your Orange Sherry Cake looks scrumptious! I made a French Coconut pie today, easy peasy! Probably will freeze some, can’t see family to share.
    Your cake making reminds me of our dear Mom and her always yummy cakes! ��

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    1. Thank you, my beautiful sister! You and your darling granddaughters should make the OMC someday! Remember how Mom would have our kids for the day and help the girls make gingerbread houses for Christmas, and the boys decorate Christmas cookies? What patience that must have taken! I think we always had a homemade dessert for the weekend when we were growing up and even on weeknights there was often something simple like pudding.

      I read this to RH and he would so take a piece of pie!
      Love you!

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  18. That cake looks scrumptious. A cake from scratch is a wonderful thing! Jan Karon's books transport me to another world.

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    1. Thank you! And Jan's books do the same thing for me and the wonderful thing is that her world was my childhood home, the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Many relatives there too so there were visits there all while I was growing up. I feel that it is my real earthly home so to read the Mitford books always takes me there.

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  19. Your cake looks delicious. I agree with Esther. What's even worse than a box mix is frosting in those cans! I admit to using a box mix, but I have to make my own buttercream! I love your blog!

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    1. Thank you so much, Ellen! I have to admit that I used cake mixes over the years sometimes. And I still use brownie mix when I make brownies layered with Symphony chocolate bars--delicious! Thank you so much for your visits!

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  20. Dewena, this cake looks scrumptious and I thank you so much for the recipe. Your cake stand is lovely. I have a very pretty milk glass cake stand that was my mother-in-laws. I treasure it because it was hers. I also miss roaming around in thrift stores and such. But, I really do not need any more 'finds.' So maybe it is a good thing I can't go.
    Thanks again for this recipe, I plan to make it soon. Stay well!

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    1. You're welcome, Sandra! Sharing recipes is a way to pass on the old ones and keep them being made. Maybe that's what's fun with thrifting too. I hope that someday all my children and grandchildren will want some of the things we have. If not then what they donate may go on to make other people happy. That's my excuse for going, anyway! You stay well too!

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  21. What an absolutely beautiful cake, and styled so perfectly on that pretty milk glass stand, it is SO tempting - and I'm not big on raisins, so your pics are THAT powerful, Dewena! It looks mouthwatering!

    I clicked on the link and once there, had to explore more recipes of yesteryear. I was delighted to see many with apples and blueberries, both fruits with which I do like to add to my sweet treats. I also saw that your cake includes orange zest, which, like lemon, adds so much fragrance and deliciousness to any food!

    I love the whole idea of 'old fashioned' baking, since it always conjures up cozy memories of my maternal grandmother, baking her 100 year old recipe for creamy, Ionian cheese pie! That's all she knew how to bake, but it was enough to make an impression on me, and to this day, I always compare every cheese pie to hers. Not hard to guess which always comes out on top!

    Of course, experimenting with my Easy Bake oven was so exciting every single time, and I got so much satisfaction watching others indulge in my mini cakes!

    You know that I bake at least one cake/muffins/cupcakes/quick breads, etc., a week, so 'Never touch cake', is completely foreign to me. A cup of strong, aromatic coffee, accompanied by a silky smooth, moist and delicious piece of cake, is yummy 'me' time, and besides, remember that article that went viral a few years ago, in which an Israeli doctor, I think it was, declared that it's more than okay to eat cake for breakfast, since it is bound to get burnt off during the day?

    Thanks for introducing me to your Williamsburg Orange-Sherry Cake with Orange Frosting. I'm sure it was enjoyed immensely by all who had the pleasure of indulging in it!

    Happy Wednesday,
    Poppy

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    1. Poppy, thank you so much and now I'm curious about your grandmother's Ionian cheese pie. Tell us more! Was it full of layers like with phyllo crusts? I'm trying to picture it!

      I never had an Easy Bake oven but I think one of my little sisters may have. Your early start in baking really stuck with you! You make the most luscious looking treats that make my mouth water when you email me pictures of them or when I see them on IG. And I remember the first thing I ever learned from you--besides how amazing your coffee is there--is that we both count lemon as one of the best ingredients a cook can have. However, we do disagree on raisins, I love them, especially when macerated in spirits!

      I love that Israeli doctor! Bless his heart! I also remember reading that a popular Australian diet allows chocolate cake with breakfast, even advises it. Hello! Now that's a healthy diet! Happy Thursday to you!

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  22. I was going to skip lunch today but after seeing your cake – Oh my! I think I’ll go back to the kitchen…

    I used to buy the Pillsbury Bake Off brochures and bake cakes from it. I remember a German Chocolate Cake that was so tasty. Also my late husband and I used to go to country auctions in a small town in the North Georgia Mountains. It was a small family business and the grandma baked three 3-layer cakes to place in the snack area. My husband went for the auctions but I almost think I went for the cakes – with 3 different ones, it was difficult to decide.

    I see you have Grand Marnier in your photo. I also like to use spirits in my cakes – after baking the alcohol is gone but the flavor stays. I bake a Kentucky Bourbon pecan cake at Christmas. The recipe says to soak the raisins and candied cherries in Bourbon for several hours. The first time I baked it company came and the cherries soaked for 3 days … now I soak them for 3 days!

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    1. I used to collect the Pillsbury Bake Off brochures, too! Wish I still had them as they had some really great recipes. I've never had a chance to explore the North Georgia Mountains and the little towns there although I've always wanted to when I see them featured in Southern Living magazine. Your Kentucky Bourbon pecan cake sounds wonderful! I keep bourbon on hand for my meatloaf so I would like to try a cake like that for Christmas. I am a fan of candied cherries and find the prettiest ones in the King Arthur baking catalogue. I have a jar of theirs in my freezer now that didn't get used last Christmas.

      I soak my fruitcake fruits in Calvados, the real thing from France. I imagine you've probably been to that region. It is powerful good stuff!

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    1. That would be so much fun! Our closest neighbor is a dear gentleman but he's a widower so there's no next door woman friend to talk to.

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  24. Never touch cake? No way I'd ever sign up for that! I had to click on the recipe because the name of the cake was so intriguing. Sounds and looks delicious! And the milk glass is beautiful - what a deal you got! Oh, to wander around and shop again!

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    1. Oh yes, to wander around any store again. Now people hurry through quickly when they do go.

      But there's always cake, right?

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  25. You have just quoted two of my favorite authors... Jan Karon and Gladys Tabor! I thought for a moment you had made the Orange Marmalade Cake... I have all the Karons (Mitford series) and re-read them regularly, I am re-reading Light in the Window right now. I even have the Mitford Cookbook, and would love to try the OMC at some point!

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    1. Two of my favorites too, Mary Ann! No, I've never made the Orange Marmalade Cake and doubt I ever will unless I have someone to help me!

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  26. Cake and cake plates are my weakness! That milk glass one is absolutely outstanding. What a wonderful find. And never touch cake? Oh boy, not me. I have a sweet tooth, especially for homemade cake. When I was younger they were all from a box, however with age, I have found joy in the art of baking and yup, they taste infinitely better!!

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    1. No doubt about it, Kim, they just do. No taste of chemicals in them. Maybe that's why so many cake recipes using cake mixes call for spirits, to mask the taste of them? I remember making a Harvey Wallbanger cake back in my early married days.

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  27. When I first started blogging it was after becoming a blog reader first, and I read lots of blogs on which recipes were posted, and continued for a long time until so many of them began to have so many ads I couldn't find the recipe. Ugh!

    But before that happened, say about 6-8 years ago, some of my favorite bloggers seemed to be posting lot about afternoon snacks or morning coffee and the various sorts of cakes that were baked to delight the family or neighbors and provide a lovely and beautiful break from the hurry.

    The baking of cakes, something that I didn't grow up with nor learn as a young wife, became a goal for me. I collected all these dreamy-sounding recipes for cakes that surely would warm up the atmosphere and satisfy the soul in the baking and beholding and eating of them.

    But my project has never gotten off the ground! No matter, I still love reading the bloggers who keep what seems to me an important tradition. Thank you, Dewena, for holding on!! <3

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    1. Gretchen, I understand! I have so many recipes I've saved for desserts, in Pinterest but also a stack of file folders broken down into Cake, Cookies, Pies, etc. Even after throwing out all but the best there are still more than I'll ever get around to making. But I still dream on about company coming and having a dessert to offer them. Hoping that day comes again!

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    2. I have found that I can spend hours perusing recipes and even planning for lots of yummy dishes and menus, and that activity is so satisfying in itself I don't even get hungry to actually eat! It is a very fun thing to do... I'm always thinking that if I get organized I'll set aside a whole day just for recipe-reading.

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    3. My famous last line..."when I get organized!"

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  28. Dewena, your orange Sherry cake with orange frosting looks amazing! Oh, I wish I had a slice to go with a cup of tea. I love the taste of orange when baking goodies. It has a bit of frosting inside the cake too, YUMMY. Your milk glass cake stand is very pretty and unique. Oh Yes, I remember those carefree days of shopping and browsing through the shops. I love the fact that you baked a cake when there were no celebrations, just for you. We need to treat ourselves once in awhile, especially during these times. Your cake looks fabulous, Dewena.

    ~Sheri

    ps.....I love the name of your cake too. ; )

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend! I hope you remember to treat yourself every day and dream of days when we'll once again enjoy browsing in interesting little shops.

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  29. Dewena, I have been waiting for a day when I could come and savour this post and not be in a hurry. From the title, I knew I was in for a delicious treat. Oh my! I'm with Esther Bolick and you and also Julia Childs when it comes to eating cake: "A party without cake is just a meeting." Your cake baking effort looks absolutely delicious, and your milk glass cake stand is a perfect place on which to display it. Esther and Gladys would be pleased.

    It's been months since I've been anywhere to browse anything. Funny, I thought I'd miss it, but it turns out I've grown used to not going out and about. My needs and wants have lessened even as my circle has grown smaller. I don't feel lack but rather I realize just how much I have and I'm taking greater pleasure in what is near to hand. My garden and the flowers give me especial joy this summer. We ensure we have a supply of small continuous treats, so life is good and sweet and beautiful. In the midst, my heart pangs to think not everyone has it so good in their own lives, and I whisper a little prayer for grace for them.

    Wishing you a beautiful weekend, and thank you for a lovely post.
    Brenda xo

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  30. Nothing as yummy as a slice of cake :)

    Even if you are diabetic or just want to reduce sugar etc there is usually a recipe that you can find or amend to suit.

    All the best Jan

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RH and I love your comments! They are sent to my email for moderation first but I do hit publish as soon as I read them. A few commenters' comments are not sent to my email for some reason but I try to visit that section on my design page twice a day to see if they're hiding there so I can publish them. I went the first 3 years of blogging not knowing that was there and when I discovered it there were many pages of old comments that never got published. I was so embarrassed and contacted recent ones but hid in shame from those who had given up long ago.

In these busy days I appreciate so much when you take time to comment. Thank you so much!

Dewena