Where’s the Honey?

HoneycakeSo we have this recipe we now call Honeycake but it hasn’t a drop of honey in it and it’s not really even a cake anymore.  Funny you should ask.  Skip down to the recipe if you don’t care a fig for provenance and just want to bake a tasty treat, read on if you have nothing better to do.

In 1979, the year I was married, I cut this recipe for Applesauce Spice Cake from the Modesto Bee and for a few years I made it often in my tube pan.  As time went by, I found other recipes, started making them more and forgot about this one that got shifted to the back of the cake section in my recipe box.

Speed forward about 20 years and a lot of cakes later and trans fats are getting a really bad rap and they are everywhere in baked goods so I’m looking for a recipe for a cake that doesn’t have butter (which hasn’t been rehabilitated yet) or shortening (none available yet without trans fats) and I come across this recipe that uses oil rather than butter or shortening.  I bake it up and offer it.  DH refuses it, saying he doesn’t like that cake.  Huh? I distinctly remember him appreciating this cake enthusiastically every time I baked it…in 1979.  I’m confused.  He just smiles.  Oh, okay.  So now I call it Honeymoon Cake and make it in 3 little loaf pans rather than the teflon-coated tube pan so it will make convenient slices and take I it to a tennis match to see what the tennis ladies think of it.  It’s love-love.  And the story makes it even better.  Sweet story, sweet cake.  Along comes DGS and he loves this cake, but what does a 2-year-old know from honeymoon, although he knows all about how yummy HUNNY is from Winnie-the-Pooh, and he knows what cake is and that it is also yummy.  So he shortens the name of this snack to Honeycake and some days he just can’t live without it.  Which is why I baked it today.  And FINALLY, here is the recipe:


  • 2 cups (9 0z.) All-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger


  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) oil
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3.75 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz) applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 3 small 3×5 loaf pans or one bundt or tube pan. Sift together dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients in mixer bowl and beat until combined.  Add dry ingredients.  Mix on low until well incorporated and then beat on medium until smooth.  Bake in 3 loaf pans for 40 minutes.  If in tube or Bundt pan, 50 minutes.

If you’ve made this as a cake, the original recipe had a glaze:

  • 1 cup (4 oz) sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine and drizzle over cake.  To avoid that metallic taste you can get in frostings and glazes, heat the milk before adding it.  I really think the glaze is overkill on the sweetness front and prefer this served plain as a quick bread rather than a cake.  It’s really good served with a nice very lightly sweetened whipped cream cheese spread.



Waxing Elegant

Hardy, har, har.  I’m currently reading a book, a PUBLISHED book, wherein the author has used the phrase “hardy laugh” twice and the title phrase of this post once…so far.  I’m waxing eloquent and enjoying a hearty laugh at his expense.  Actually, I think I’m going to give him a pass on the use of waxing elegant instead of eloquent because it would be in character for the narrator/main character of the book to make that kind of gaffe, but the the continual enjoyment of hardy laughter by the characters is a brig to fare.  Spell check is obviously to blame, yet again, for not being able to catch typos that accidentally form other legitimate words, or the misuse of words that sound similar but have completely different spellings and/or meanings.  When are they going to come up with Phrase check?  Or Homonym check?  Or Does this writing make any sense at all check?

Where have all the editors gone, long time passing…

I’m about to jump off that bridge too far, but before I do, may I recommend The Elements of Style by E. B. White? I recommend it to all, not just to the aspiring writers among us, because it’s some of the best writing around about how to write and at the same time some of the best writing around, period.  That’s no easy feat.  E.B. White.  Ahhh.  Some writer.

Read any good books lately?

Postscript: that’s twice for “waxing elegant.”  Maybe it’s a Southern expression?  Could be one of those idioms that pinpoint the geographic region where you learned to talk?  That they might one day use to create a quiz like this.





So I have been looking for a very long time for a pattern that has a cowl neck for woven fabrics that is not cut on the bias.  People rave about bias cut garments and how they cling, swing and drape, but I can’t stand the way they feel on my body and don’t enjoy sewing bias-cut edges either.  Mind you, I don’t mind swing or drape in a garment but the clinging of a bias-cut garment feels more like binding to me.  Vogue 9006 is the only pattern for wovens with a cowl neck that is not cut on the bias to crop up.  I like it, but the fabric has to be very lightweight and have lovely soft drape in order for that neck to fall as it should and not make you feel and look like that Bazooka Joe comic character named Mort with his shirt covering the lower half of his face, or a bandido in an old western, take your pick.

And here’s another top I made this week, not as successful as the previous one, but not a total wadder* either:

NL 6895

I’m trying to use up my rayon challis and make some comfy loose tops for summer.  I have one piece left and now have to decide which pattern to use.  That often takes longer than the actual sewing.  And since bias, or lack of it is the topic of the day, I might add that bias facings and bindings are very good, and used on both of these tops, facing on the first, binding on the second, but a little bias in a garment goes a long way.

Note that my OPINION on bias is not at all unbiased, only the cowl neck top is unbiased and in my opinion, that’s a good thing.  Huh?

*Wadder: a sewing project gone so badly wrong all you can do is wad it up and throw it in the trash.


Mom’s stuffed mushrooms

The original title on this recipe is “Happy Hour Mushrooms” and the handwriting on the recipe is one I can’t identify so I can’t give attribution to the cook who shared this recipe with my mom, I can only say that we loved these mushrooms and I suspect she at least doubled the recipe when she made them.  If there had only been the 10 the recipe makes, riots would have ensued.

We used to make pilgrimages to a local mushroom farm to get the freshest and most consistently sized mushrooms available when she was going to entertain and we certainly bought more than 10.  In the absence of a reliable local mushroom grower, I would recommend buying from the bulk bin at the grocery store and finding out when they get their shipments because this recipe really shines when made with fresh mushrooms.  Here it is:

  • 10-12 (about 1/2 pound) medium-size mushrooms ( each about 1 1/2″ diameter)
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons shredded jack cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white or red wine (I suspect Mom used white)
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup fine cracker crumbs or as much as required to make stuffing mix dry

Remove stems from mushrooms and chop finely.  You may also buy and chop a few more mushrooms, thus 10-12 are called for in the ingredients.  Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and brush over mushroom caps, coating thoroughly.  Stir together the remaining 4 tablespoons of soft butter, garlic and cheese and chopped mushroom stems until well blended.  Stir in wine, soy and crumbs until well blended and hanging together.

Place mushrooms, cavity side up, on a large rimmed baking sheet.  Evenly mound filling in each mushroom, pressing filling in lightly.  Broil about 6 inches below broiler until bubbly and lightly browned (about 3 minutes).  Serve warm.  Makes about 10 appetizers.