"Place, with a trace of humanity" Photography/Photo of the Day/Pittsburgh

Posts tagged “cake

Treat: Weekly Photo Challenge

Sweet.  A fun challenge to respond to this week.  Treat.

Jen H says “Treats and indulgences can take many forms. Share yours with us!”

Here’s a gallery from our recent trip.

Vincek Cakes

Frozen Wind/Icy Wind on the left (and a  recipe for icy wind cake I found for it online)

Vincek Ledeni vjetar (left)and on the right Vincek Boem šnita

from Vincek Bakery in Zagreb Croatia 21959096210_5936ff047f_k

Matthew saw the cake we ordered and said, “Ahhh famous frozen wind cake”  Icy wind came up as the recipe but we liked the sound of his calling it Frozen Wind.  It was delicious.

candy window in Salzburg

Two Windows in Salzburg- same store

gummi treats

morning treat

Morning treat

tea and apple studel

Tea and Apple Strudel on the Sound of Music bus tour.  Notice there are two in a paper for “takeaway”

with nuts


salzburg nockerl

You saw the Salzburg Nockerl on a recent post

Perhaps chocolates are your treat  -another window in Salzburg


or perhaps you prefer something salty

pretzels in SalzburgSalzburg

Happy Day or 1-2-3-4 Cake?

 If you’ve been following the blog since the beginning, you might remember the photos and recipes.On several occasions, I’ve posted our  “go to” birthday cake recipes.
 My sister got me the one Swan’s Down vintage cake pan in Omak, Washington when were visiting our brother one summer.
I did mail a birthday card to my sister.  (Unusual for me that it wasn’t belated)
In my family, we’d try to get it in the octave, as my mom would call it.  Enjoy your day!

Happy Day Cake Recipe-

For Birthdays it was the 1-2-3-4 Cake recipe or the Happy Day Cake recipe on the back of the Swan’s Down Cake Flour box, frosted with Penuche icing.  My mother would put the saucepan into a sink of cold water and then beat it by hand once it cooled. I can hear the ring of the metal loop at the end of the pan’s handle. And as I remember it she added a dash of vanilla extract.  My dad would pour milk over a slice and eat it with a spoon.   Cake and frosting recipes below photo.

Happy Birthday to my sister Mary who gave me the vintage pan

Happy Day Cake

2½ cups sifted cake flour

1½ cups sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shortening, at room temperature

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 eggs

Sift flour with sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir shortening to soften. Add flour mixture, ¾ cup of the milk and vanilla. Mix until all flour is dampened, then beat two minutes at medium speed. Add eggs and remaining ¼ cup milk. Beat one minute longer. Pour into two 9-inch layer pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans; remove from pans and cool thoroughly on racks.

This cake also may be baked in three 8-inch layer pans for 25 to 35 minutes, or in a 13- by 9-inch pan for 30 to 35 minutes. Batter may be spooned into 36 medium paper baking cups in muffin pans, filling half full. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Penuche Frosting   Butter is Key


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, more or less
  • hot water, optional


In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add sifted confectioners’ sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water. Frosts top and sides of a 2-layer cake or a 13×9-inch cake.


p.s. Last year I mailed an actual cake but this year it will be virtual

and another connection was the post when my friend J sent me a cupcake tree to Ohio when I was visiting

Who Needs Sun When You’ve Got Love, Love, Love?

Congratulations Nicki and Jeff. What a fun wedding. Thanks for allowing me to blog a first peek at some of the photos.   Love the umbrella shots

Wishing you every happiness, always.  Ruth 

Jeff and Nikki









Staying dry inside the shelter of the Carousel Gazebo- Alameda Park, Butler PA






Not raining yet.





Nicki’s bridal portrait

The cookie table spread was a gift from friend Ellen and they were delicious. A lot of baking.





Brand New Today

Brand new today.   I was wondering what to post for this week’s photo challenge.

We went to a delicious brunch at our friends’  home Saturday morning.
I received this unexpected gift- at first I thought it was a whisk broom for clothes – but no, can you guess?

It’s a cake tester!  Perfect for a baker.  A cake baker.  Just need an occasion to bake a cake.
Pull a broom straw and insert in the cake’s center to test the cake’s doneness.  Make sure it comes out clean.

I’m hanging my brand new cake tester on the pot rack right next to the over door as the little verse suggests.

Thanks Rich and Barb for a lovely time and for this unique gift.  


Thirty four years ago, when the kids were little, I made little books with photos and words……..

Here are the Adventures of Matthew highlights.

No thought of acid-free paper or archival pigment ink when I created this.

I covered two pieces of cardboard with fabric, ironed some of that paper that was coated and would bond when it got really hot and zig-zag stitched the pages on the sewing machine.

The end papers were marbled on this one.







I entered this photo to try to win something from Cheerios but I forget what it was.










Photographed tonight in Target.  You were on my mind.


Miss you! Love you  xxooxx




The cake’s in the mail – almost- well, after school Monday

Last year or the year before, I forget which year, I didn’t get a birthday card mailed.

But this year………

since it’s my sister’s birthday Monday,

and she’s going to visit our brother and his wife in Okanogon WA on Tuesday,

I thought I’d bake a cake with our mother’s old recipe. The Happy Day Cake.  I decided to cook the old fashioned penuche icing, you have to put your hand on the bottom of the pan after it sits in cool water, then add the 10x sugar and beat it, just like our mom did and frost the layers.  Tomorrow after school,  I’ll ship it off for them to share.

I put it in a tin, packed it up and it’s in the front hall, taped in a box, ready to mail.

 It’s a Happy Day Cake  recipe from Swan’s Down Cake Flour box from way back.  You can see it written in my sister’s hand on a quilt square from the fiftieth anniversary quilt we made for my parents in 1989. 

And I put in a pound of Zeke’s coffee beans to go with it.   Happy Birthday Mary.  



Greatest Cake in America says Huffington Post





Burnt Almond Torte WEdding CakePrudence and Jordan’s Burnt Almond Torte wedding cake-    assisted by his father wielding the fire axe  September 2012


Julie R Thomson of the Huffington Post thanks “Pittsburgh for the greatest cake America has ever made”


Prantl's Burnt Almond Torte

and a link to a previous blogpost with the copycat recipe



Prantl's Bakery Pittsburgh






Mini-Celebration in the Midst of Sadness

When we gathered in to Aunt Linda’s and Uncle Frank’s to mourn the passing of Aunt Theresa, there was lots of food to share and it kept pouring in from generous neighbors and friends and relatives.

Anna’s other Grandma, Marlene, sister of Aunt Theresa, Aunt Linda and Aunt Georgeann wanted to acknowledge the excitement and accomplishment of Anna(9) qualifying to swim Freestyle and Breaststroke  in the Junior Olympics in Ohio next weekend.  Marlene bought a cake- a 3 pound 12 ounce cake!  (We read the label, didn’t we Aunt Linda?)

Because the occasion was the gathering in and remembering Theresa who had passed, I never took my camera out of the car.

It didn’t seem like a time to take photos.  But of course when the cake came out and Marlene was videoing our singing Happy Junior Olympics to you, I felt compelled to take a photo and slipped out the trusty old iPhone and took one shot.  This is it.   Of course we are so proud of Anna. On the left standing up and smiling is her Mom, Erika. And cousin Shannon, in the red on the right was very gracious.  Lots of love and affection over this past week.


You Have to be 8 to Take the Cake Decorating Class

When I got to Ohio Friday evening, Anna(9)  was out with a friend, taking a cake decorating class for kids.

When she got home, she put some finishing touches on her Kitty Cat Cake while her younger sister Maura watched intently.

Then Anna put the lid of the cake carrier on the cake to protect it and left the kitchen

Maura watches Anna

There Perfect!

IMG_0497 (1)

cake carrier

Peeking In Cake Carrier

cat cake eyes

Maura licked the frosting knife.

Licking the Knife

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

Seven surprises!

The weekly photo challenge: surprise.

I’m thinking about Stef’s Three Daily Delights blog and how she faithfully lists three delights from her day.  Thanks Stef for the inspiration.

Here are 7 surprises captured by the handy iPhone, save #2,shot with Canon 5D.

1. Jack found the fresh snow when he opened the front door Saturday morning.  That’s my unpacked suitcase by the front door.  Surprise!

jack finds the snow

2. My wonderful DIL Erika sent a hot cup of coffee out with Anna as I was watching the kids play in the snow in the backyard.   (this is the only shot with the regular camera) Yes, that’s a Roadside America souvenir travel cup. Surprise!

coffee in the snow

3. Penny the Golden Doodle actually watches TV(Christmas Vacation) at Laura and James’ house.  Matthew and I arrived Friday night and ate delicious bowls of chili and cornbread, after a 6 hour drive in the snow and traffic (usually a 3 1/2 hour trip).  


Penny watches TV

4. My SIL James’ parents sent the wonderful gift of perfect, juicy pears.  I sliced one and it disappeared in seconds. Thanks Chuck and Sharon.


the gift of pears

5. Thursday afternoon I was stuck in traffic in the rain and saw this pink building and two pink vehicles for Bread and Pastries. This is the true color, not enhanced!    Surprise.  

Bread and Pastries Truck

6. Anna(9) baked a cake all by herself then took a sandwich bag, turned it inside out and filled it with buttercream and then snipped the tip of the corner off and proceeded to decorate the chocolate cake.  

anna makes a cake

7.   Kerry, the student teacher(Art Department) did some serious baking and made special message cookies for the last day of school before Winter Break.  Surprise!

carrick Cookie


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