Marble Cake


Some days call out for a sweet treat and today was such a day.  What better choice than a tender mix of chocolate and vanilla? Perfect as is, or add a taste of soul-satisfying richness with a wee dollop of whipped cream.  Fragrant, fresh brewed coffee on the side, yes please!

Marble Cake

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2  tsp baking soda

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup melted butter, warm but not hot

2 eggs

3/4 cup 2% milk

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp cocoa + 1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp water

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.  In a smaller bowl, mix eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just to combine.  Pour 3/4 of the batter into a greased and floured  bundt pan.  In a small bowl, mix cocoa and sugar with 2 tablespoons water till smooth.  Stir the cocoa mixture into the remaining dough.  Drop spoonsful here and there over the vanilla batter and then swirl together with a knife.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert onto serving plate.  Let cake cool a further 10 minutes, then glaze.  Serves up 10-12 slices.

Chocolate Glaze

4 tbsp butter

3 tbsp cocoa

1 cup icing sugar

3-4 tbsp very hot water

Melt butter.  Whisk in cocoa and icing sugar.  Add 3 tbsp hot water and mix thoroughly.  If glaze seems too thick to flow, add more hot water a little at a time until desired constituency is reached.  Glaze will set quickly, so once the hot water is added, work quickly.   Pour glaze onto top of cake, letting it flow down the sides.  Resist the urge to “fix” any bald spots.  Let glaze set completely before serving.  May be refrigerated for 20 minutes to speed cooling.



Saucy BBQ Meatballs


Oven BBQ Meatballs

800g ground meat (extra lean beef, turkey or chicken)

1 cup panko

scant 1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper, or to taste

2-3 tsp onion powder

1/3- 1/2  cup milk

Crumble meat into large bowl. Sprinkle with panko crumbs, salt, pepper and onion powder. Pour in milk. Mix all together. Mix thoroughly just until ingredients are combined (over-mixing will make the meatballs tough). Form meat mixture into 2” balls. Spray baking sheet with vegetable oil spray, place meatballs on pan and bake at 375° F for 15 minutes till browned.

Easy BBQ Sauce

1 1/2 cup ketchup

1/3 cup BBQ sauce (we like Bull’s-eye Chicken and Rib)

1 tbsp vinegar

¾ cup brown sugar

1/2 cup finely minced onion

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard

1/2 cup water

In mixing bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly.  Place browned meatballs and minced onion in oven-proof dish.  Pour sauce over all.   Bake at 375° F for about 30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and meatballs are heated through.  Serve over rice.

Raisin Pudding (self-saucing)


This is a very old-fashioned recipe, but with the cooler fall days upon us it seems a perfect time for this sweet treat with its spicy flavor and plump raisins. When I was a young and inexperienced cook, this was a simple dessert that I could prepare with a minimum of pantry ingredients and time investment–a life-saver when unexpected visitors stopped in.  These days, we  generally don’t have unexpected visitors (except the Fed-Ex driver, who never expects coffee and dessert, haha), but I like having this family favorite in my recipe repertoire.

The recipe is in two steps, so it is always a good idea to read through before starting.  Boil the water for the sauce when you turn the oven on to preheat, and it will be ready for you when you have the batter all mixed.  It’s pretty freaky to pour boiling water over the batter; do it slowly and carefully, pouring over the whole surface, not just in one spot. Resist the urge to stir it all together! You’ll look at it and wonder how on earth it will turn into dessert, but I promise, it does. The sauce will be very ‘liquidy’ when it comes out of the oven. Let the pudding rest for about 20 minutes and as it cools, the sauce will begin to thicken up.

Old-Fashioned Raisin Pudding
1 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice OR nutmeg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp butter
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. In separate small bowl, mix together oil, milk and vanilla. Stir raisins into flour mixture. Make a well in the flour and pour in the wet ingredients.  Stir just until all ingredients are combined, being careful not to overmix. Spoon batter into greased 8-cup casserole or baking dish. To make sauce, melt butter in the boiling water and whisk in the brown sugar. Pour slowly over the surface of the batter. Do not stir! Carefully place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes until crust is set and golden brown. Remove pudding from oven and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.  Serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Makes about 4 servings.


Cinnamon Buns


The hot days of summer feel like a distant memory, there’s a bit of nip in the air, it must be fall.  Which makes it safe to turn on the oven again.  This is family recipe from my sister-in-law.  I haven’t baked a batch for yonks and yonks, but somehow the cool weather inspires the desire for the comforting, spicy tang of cinnamon.  The recipe calls for quick-rise yeast, which means it’s not gonna take the whole day to make a pan.  If you’re new to working with yeast dough, Fleischman’s has some technique videos that will help you get started with confidence.

Maureen’s Cinnamon Buns


3 ¼ cup flour

1 pkg instant/rapid-rise yeast

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp salt

¾ cup 2% milk

¼ cup water

¼ cup butter

1 egg slightly beaten


1/2 cup soft butter (more or less as needed)

2/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tbsp cinnamon

½ cup raisins

½ cup pecans (optional)

For the pan

4-5 tbsp butter

4-5 tbsp brown sugar

Reserve 1 cup flour.  Mix remaining flour, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in yeast.  Heat milk, water and ¼ cup butter until hot to touch (about 54 degrees Celsius).  Stir hot liquid into dry mix.  Stir in egg.  Mix in enough reserved flour to make a soft dough that does not stick to bowl.  Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Cover, let rest 10 minutes.  Roll dough to a 14” square.  For filling, spread the dough with soft butter.  Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over butter.  Layer on raisins and pecans.  Roll dough jelly-roll fashion  and cut into about 15 buns.  Place in 9”x13” pan that has been prepared with butter and brown sugar. (Make a paste of butter and sugar and spread it into the pan.)  Arrange buns cut side down into pan.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise till doubled, about 30 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then turn out buns onto a tray to cool completely.

Sour Cherry Cobbler


The sour cherry season is upon us, quite early this year because of the warmer than usual weather we’ve had.


This is a delicious way to use up some of the bounty, Sour Cherry Cobbler.  Please read the recipe through before starting, there are three little steps–the butter, the batter, and the cherries.  It’ll be much quicker if you know the procedure before you begin.  Depending on the sweetness (or sourness) of your cherries, you can probably quite safely reduce the first quantity of sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup, without sacrificing any quality of taste or texture.  Although it’s best served warm on the day of baking, it is still very good the next day.

Sour Cherry Cobbler

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp almond flavoring

2 cups pitted sour cherries (fresh not frozen)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Lightly spray the sides of a 9″x13″ cake pan with cooking spray.  Add butter to the pan and put in the preheated oven to melt completely.  Meanwhile,  in a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and baking powder.  Add milk and almond flavoring and stir to combine all ingredients.  Remove pan from oven.  Carefully pour batter evenly over the melted butter.  Do not stir!  Toss pitted cherries with 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp flour.  Carefully dot the cherries over the batter.  Return pan to oven and bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes clean.  Allow to cool 10 minutes, then serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.


Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten-free)


For a recent family get-together, I made this flour-free version of old-fashioned peanut butter cookies.  They got rave reviews, so I’m sharing the recipe with you.  The gluten-free eaters loved them, and the peanut butter lovers loved them too, so it was win-win 🙂  Next time I make a batch, I’m going to try and reduce the granulated sugar to one cup.  I’ll let you know if the quality suffers at all.

Peanut Butter Cookies
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Mix until all ingredients are well combined. Roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2″ apart. With a fork dipped in a bit of cornstarch, flatten cookies slightly, making a crisscross pattern on top of each cookie.  Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges are set, 9 to 11 minutes, being careful not to overbake. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.  Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Saskatoon Tarts


It’s saskatoon time here on the prairies.  A little earlier than normal what with the heat wave we’ve been having. It’s a drag to have to turn the oven on, but it’s a sacrifice we’ll make to have a taste of these yummy tarts.

The “recipe” is pretty fluid:  for 4 cups of berries, start with a scant cup of white sugar, 3 tablespoons of corn starch, and a 1/4 cup of water.  Stir the sugar and cornstarch together, then add the water.  Add just enough water to be able to melt the sugar and cornstarch together.  Pour over the berries in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring often, until berries release their juice, and mixture is hot and bubbly and has thickened.  Taste at this point and add a bit of extra sugar if necessary.  A teaspoon or two of lemon juice helps cut a too-sweet flavor.  Let the berries cool about 40 minutes, stirring gently from time to time, then fill tart shells.   For 3″ tarts, use about 1/8 cup of filling per tart.  A batch of filling this size should fill about 12-15 tarts.  If you would sooner have a pie, this should be enough to fill one 9″ deep-dish pie shell.  Bake the tarts at 375°F for about 14 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbly.  Remove from oven and cool before serving.


Buttermilk Pancakes


Still very cold in our neck of the woods, -26°C as I write this.  Pancakes seemed like a good idea for brunch.  And because there was half a litre of buttermilk left from yesterday’s muffins (and some frozen blueberries), the obvious choice was buttermilk pancakes sprinkled with blueberries.

A quick surf of the net suggested adding instant yeast to the batter, with the promise of “fluffiest pancakes ever”.  Who could resist the siren call?  Not me 🙂

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

1 package rapid-rise yeast (8g/2 1/4 tsp)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups buttermilk

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 egg, beaten

1 cup blueberries, if using

Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Stir in dry yeast.  Meanwhile, heat milk to 50°C/120°F.  Stir in oil.  Add milk, oil and beaten egg to flour mixture, stirring just with a spoon until blended. Don’t over stir or pancakes will be tough.  Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm place until bubbly and almost doubled, about 10 minutes.

Lightly grease a griddle or skillet with cooking spray or a little oil.  Heat over medium heat until hot.

Stir down batter; pour 1/4 cup per pancake onto griddle. Sprinkle each pancake with 4-5 blueberries.  Cook pancakes until edges are dry and surface is bubbly. Turn; cook other side until golden brown.  Serve with maple syrup.


Fruity Oat Muffins (Blueberry)


-20° C today! Oh, baby, it’s cold out there!  Makes me think of Ella Fitzgerald

So it’s a good day to turn on the oven and bake something.  There was a request some days back for blueberry muffins, I’m happy to oblige 🙂  This was a favorite when the kiddies were wee; sort of a no-fail, quick and easy, lunch-box, snacktime, anytime go-to recipe.  It’s no less a favorite now.  These muffins are so much better (in my opinion) than so many of the cake-like blueberry muffins out there.  The buttermilk and rolled oats combine for great effect to keep the muffins moist and tender.  As with all muffins, remember to gently stir the batter just until all ingredients are moistened.  Overstirring will result in tough muffins, definitely not the result we are after!  I hope you will try the recipe and that you will enjoy it as much as my family has done.

Fruity Oat Muffins

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar

1 egg

¼ cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and drained

In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and rolled oats. Let stand. In a larger bowl, combine the rest of the dry ingredients. Add blueberries and gently toss in the flour mixture to coat the berries. Into oat mixture, stir egg and oil. Add oat mixture to dry ingredients, gently stirring just until moistened.  Fill muffins tins/cupcake papers about  2/3 full, dividing batter to make 12 muffins.  Bake at 375° F for about 18 minutes until muffins are lightly golden brown.  Cool in pan for a couple of minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

  • Instead of blueberries, try other berries and soft fruits – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, etc.
  • Chopped rhubarb with 1/2 tsp cinnamon is a great combination as is banana/cinnamon (use 2 mashed ripe bananas).

Almond Cherry Shortbread (Snowballs)



1 cup butter, softened

¼ cup icing sugar

1/3 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup ground almonds

2 cups flour

15 candied cherries, halved

about 1/2 cup additional icing sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 300° F. Cream together butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in flavorings , ground almonds and flour and mix well to form dough. To form cookies, take about a tablespoon of dough and begin to form a ball. Push one half of a cherry into the ball and pinch the dough together to hide the cherry, and then finish forming the ball. It should be about 1 1/2” in diameter. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for about 20 minutes. Do not brown the cookies, they should be just starting to have a hint of color when they are done. Cool in the pan for about 4 minutes, then gently roll the balls in icing sugar and allow to cool completely on wire racks.  The recipe should yield about 30 cookies.

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