Remembering Honest Abe….his Kentucky home and favorite almond cake!

Today was the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday!

I thought this would be a good day to post some pictures of Abe Lincoln’s Kentucky home. Poppy and I went to see Abe’s birthplace last fall. The grounds and surroundings are beautiful and we could imagine Abe running in those woods as a child.

Abe's Stomping Grounds, KY

Abe’s Stomping Grounds, Hardin County KY

There is a small log cabin, kept in a building for preservation, that was once believed to be the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.

The building is home to the little log cabin from Abe's era.

Home to the little log cabin from Abe’s era.

The staff explained that the log cabin is no longer thought of as Abe’s birthplace but is, rather, a log cabin from this area in Kentucky and from the 1800 era.

Log Cabin from the 1800's.

Log Cabin from the 1800’s.

Poppy reads the plaques outside the monument.

Poppy reads about an idyllic frontier.

Idyllic Frontier

Hey Poppy….who is that with you on the porch?

Poppy and Lincoln on the porch!

Poppy (Bud) and Lincoln on the porch!

Well….Southern gals find a recipe for every topic of conversation! So…to honor that tradition, and satisfy my curiosity, I looked up Abe’s favorite cake recipe…of course!

This is a deliciously moist, tender cake and has a delicate almond flavor…not overpowering.

Abe's Favorite Cake,Mrs. Lincoln's White Almond Cake

Abe’s Favorite Cake,
Mrs. Lincoln’s White Almond Cake

Here is a little bit of history ….an excerpt from LINCOLN HOME, National Historic Site

Food  and Entertaining Mary loved entertaining.

Mary’s main homemaking interest appeared to be cooking, especially  making sweets.  The  cookbooks she purchased after getting married are in the Presidential library  in Springfield.  Her white almond  cake was one of Mr. Lincoln’s favorite desserts.  She had brought the  recipe from her favorite bakery in Lexington, Kentucky.  Mary baked the white cake for Abraham Lincoln when they were  courting, as a Springfield housewife, and when she was First Lady.  Today, there are many versions of it,  including the one listed below.

The Lincolns purchased macaroon pyramids  (macaroon cookies stacked in a pyramid and covered with caramelized sugar  drizzle) from local confectioners when they had a big party. Mary often  served strawberries and cream, probably with cookies.  Oral tradition had it that the neighborhood  children were guaranteed a cookie or donut from Mrs. Lincoln when they played with  the Lincoln boys.  With Mary’s copious  amounts of sugar purchased, there were plenty of cookies.  During the course of one week in 1849, Mary  purchased 13 pounds of sugar!

Abe’s favorite cake…
Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake 

(Recipe from Lincoln’s Table by Donna D. McCreary was adapted by Janice  Cooke Newman)

1 cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor until they

resemble a coarse flour

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

6 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

confectionary sugar

  • Preheat  oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.
  • Cream  butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder 3 times. Add to creamed butter  and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well.
  • Beat  egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Pour  into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out  clean. Turn  out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectionary sugar over top

A basic white frosting sprinkled with  almonds was also popular.

I made this cake with a few changes….I used toasted, slivered honey almonds, added 1 teaspoon cardamom (goes well with almond), buttermilk , instead of milk,  1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.  I frosted the cake with an almond cream cheese frosting.

A tasty slice of the past!

A tasty slice of the past!

We stopped in at the gift shop and visitor’s center and I purchased this very cute country style sampler.

Country Bear Sampler

Country Bear Sampler

Only after bringing it home did I see that on the tag it read…Made in China!

I’m sure we could find some Kentucky folk to make these! It just doesn’t seem to fit into the whole ‘Idyllic Frontier’ theme…does it? Oh well…such is life on the new Frontier!

Until we meet again….

Happy trails on your Frontier…wherever that may be….Kentucky, China…wherever!

Wishing you a day that is blessed simply….

and simply blessed!


Barn in the mist


Oh Babycakes….Cinnamon Swirl Cake!

Hey there…Babycakes!

That is one of my favorite terms of endearment! 

OK…moving on…

There is something so fun and special about the celebration of an anticipated blessing!


This was my creation for a co-worker with

a little one on the way …

A Babycakes Onesie!

A Babycakes Onesie!

I made this a double layer 9x 13 cake.  The design wasn’t perfect…but it was fun to make and the taste was perfection! This is one of my favorite cakes and now it’s one of Poppy’s new faves as well.  So simple but…so so good!

Moist & Tender Cinnamon Swirl Cake

Moist & Tender Cinnamon Swirl Cake

I have only a few cake recipes that are not completely from scratch…as in…

you use a cake mix in the mix!

But this is one of those cakes and it is nothing to be ashamed of! It gets a thumbs up and ‘oh I could eat the whole cake’ responses….

every time I make it!

Very easy to make…

I use one Duncan Hines ‘Signature recipe’ French Vanilla cake mix

Mix with…

one cup sour cream

4 lightly beaten eggs

and 3/4 cup vegetable oil.

Mix by hand and pour into a lightly greased and floured 9 x 13 pan.

In a small bowl…

mix together 1 cup brown sugar and 1 T. cinnamon

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter. Swirl / slice a knife back and forth until the sugar mixture is ‘swirled’ throughout. Be careful not to overmix.

Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until cake springs back lightly…or golden.

When cake is cool…

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar (or more if needed for consistency)

1 – 2 teaspoons vanilla

Blend well…

frost cake…

eat cake!

A Babycakes Onesie!

Oh Babycakes! 

For a printable version….


‘Til we meet again…

May you experience the sweetness of anticipated blessings,

terms of endearment…

And eat cake!

Happy Trails!


Vee's Home and The Range

Vee’s Home and The Range

Go ahead…”Mock my day”….with some Mock Tapioca Pudding! So good!

Ahhh….the goodness and hominess of Cream of Wheat!


And…milk and egg, sugar and vanilla!

I have been meaning to post this little recipe for a while (see date on milk).  Go ahead, mock me…no…the pudding!

I know folks either love Cream of Wheat, can do with or without it…or maybe even hate it. Say what?

I happen to love the stuff! Around our house, raising kids…it was a staple!

On my trip up to Utah (see I made some Cream of Wheat for breakfast for my Nieces and Nephews.

I got a big kick out of them asking me to make sure there were lumps in it! So….some of us…like takin’ our lumps! Remember the saying “if you don’t like it…lump it”? Well…we like to lump it…with Cream of Wheat, that is!

Since coming back to my home, here in the South, I have come across a fantastic recipe…I LOVE it! I was watching an episode of Sister Wives and they talked about the one dish that was most requested by the kids.  It was…Mock Tapicoca Pudding…of all things!

I had to try it…and I am a fan! It is surprisingly good…but no lumps kids…just rich and creamy and delicious!

I did question why one would make this ‘mock’ pudding versus just making Tapioca! I believe the answer to that is…the Cream of Wheat version is probably more nutritious with a higher protein value. I still love Tapioca…but this is a great alternative…and hey… you can have it for breakfast or any ole’ time!

It is quite simple to make and, I think it is very homey…and that, after all, is my passion!

I found this recipe at

Here is a link to their print recipe page:

Mock Tapioca Pudding


    • 2 cups milk
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup uncooked cream of wheat
    • 1 egg, separated
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • prepared whipped topping, for garnish
    • maraschino cherries, for garnish
  • N0te: I didn’t use the whipped topping or cherries…and added a dash of nutmeg


  1. In a small bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat egg white until soft peaks form.
  2. Gradually beat in 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Cover and set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, mix together milk, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and egg yolk.
  5. Heat to a rapid boil, while stirring constantly.
  6. Slowly sprinkle in cereal, while continuing to stir briskly.
  7. Return to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  9. Transfer beaten egg whites to a medium size mixing bowl.
  10. Slowly pour hot mixture over egg whites, while stirring with a whisk.
  11. Stir in vanilla.
  12. Spoon pudding into 4 dessert dishes.
  13. Chill until serving time.
  14. Garnish with whipped topping and cherries if desired.

Enjoy…warm with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg…or chilled!

‘Til we meet again…

Remember…sometimes you can like the lumps….

and sometimes you can smooth it out….

and…don’t forget the puddin’!

Happy Trails!


I just discovered that someone took one of the photos from my last post! I do ask that anyone ask permission before using (or taking) my photos. It was a picture of my husband’s birthday cake….now….that takes the cake, as they say! So…if you missed it (and it was a beauty)….here is the cake! And…it is my own recipe that I share with ya’ll! Gee…I hope whoever took the cake liked it!

Poppy’s Birthday Cake

(Vee’s Italian Cream Cake)

Takin’ my lumps! 🙂

Our Daily Bread…today…Southern Style Bread Pudding!

Give us, this day…’Our Daily Bread’.

I thought I would share some of  ‘Our Daily Bread’ that Poppy and I enjoy! Today we enjoyed bread pudding…Southern Style!

I make bread every week for  Poppy’s lunches.  I made too many loaves last week so I decided to make some bread pudding. What a great thing leftover bread is!

This is such a simple but delicious dessert and I can’t believe I didn’t like it when I was a kid!

What was I thinking?

I have made Southern Style bread pudding, many times, with whiskey sauce, but never with buttermilk (in the whiskey sauce). I am loving this one! It is wonderful! I am so happy that my Brother-In-Law left his Jack Daniels at my house! He won’t miss it, right? I might have to make him some of this when he comes back to get his whiskey! I made some oh so delicious gravy with it once too. Hmm…I might be in trouble!

Southern Style Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

The Recipe for Southern Style Bread Pudding…from the Range:

I used 11 cups bread crumbs…combination of  whole wheat/oat bread and a couple of leftover rolls from Easter.

5 cups milk (canned and whole milk combined)

4 extra large eggs

2  teaspoons vanilla

1   c. granulated sugar

1  1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

dash of salt

3/4 cup pecans, chopped (and additional nuts to sprinkle over the top…about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)

3/4 cup raisins

To Make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 in baking pan.

Tear the bread into medium and small pieces and place in a large bowl. Mix sugar, dash of salt and cinnamon together and mix into bread crumbs. In a separate bowl, mix together…milk, beaten eggs  and vanilla and pour over bread crumbs. Mix well, allow the bread to soak up the liquid for 5 – 10 minutes.  Fold in pecans and raisins. Pour into prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with a light layer of pecans . Bake at 350 degrees…for 30 -40 minutes…or until lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm with Bourbon Sauce

Recipe for Bourbon Sauce:

1  1/2 cup Granulated sugar

9 T. Butter

3/4  cup Buttermilk

2 -3 Tablespoons Bourbon / Whiskey (I used Tennessee Whiskey)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1  1/2 T. white Corn Syrup

1  1/2  teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add all other ingredients and boil for one minute. Let set for a little while before serving (it will thicken up a bit).

Drizzle over bread pudding and…if you like, ice cream.

(I discovered a new flavor of  Breyer’s Ice Cream…Vanilla Caramel. It accompanies this dessert quite nicely!)

Poppy…and I…approve!

National Bake Week…and Easter! What a week! Celebrate the goodness!

A Holiday coming up and National Bake Week!  What a great combo!

I have been busy baking..I wake ‘n bake! I baked nearly every day and so…time to get some of those wonderful goodies posted! I definitely wanted to share another childhood family favorite…Grandma Alice’s Gumdrop Cake. I have to tell you…Poppy is surprised at how tasty this cake is…gumdrops in cake? It is so delicious! This is a fun and festive cake. Very pretty. I just came by this recipe. Grandma liked making it for Christmas. But…I think it is just too pretty to wait until Christmas! No waiting!

Now…I have been accustomed to making goodies and dinner for loved ones that are now far away. It is almost like I’ve lost a limb or something…not being able to feed a crowd! I am testing out how and what to send in the mail (goodies, that is).

So…loved ones out West will be receiving from my Home…and my Range…a taste of my childhood memories…Grandma Alice’s Gumdrop Cake. I sure hope it arrives just as tasty as when it left my kitchen.

Grandma Alice's Gumdrop Cake

The Recipe:

1 cup butter

8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 large eggs

1 3/4 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 (7.5 oz) packages Dots fruit flavored gum drops (which will yield 2 cups sliced gumdrops)

1 – 2 tsp’s lemon zest (I use 2 tsp’s and even Poppy, not a lemon fan, loves it).

1 cup crushed pineapple (drained…but not dry…leave slightly wet)

To Make: (this takes a bit of time…but worth it)

Slice the Dots.

Using a lightly floured knife…slice the Dots into thirds. Place about 1/2 cup of the total flour into a container with a lid. As you are working…put the sliced Dots, as you go…into the flour, put lid on container and shake (the Dots, of course). Once you have all of the Dots sliced and shaken up a bit…pour them out into an even layer on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.Work through them with your fingers, separating any Dots that are sticking together and keep working them into the flour. They need to be well coated. Place them back in the container…cover…and shake them up every now and then. Let them sit and absorb the flour a bit. When you feel they are well coated and not sticking together at all…you are ready to prepare this luscious cake!

Preheat oven…set between 325 and 350…if you have a digital thermometer…set at 335 or 340 degrees.

Cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each is added. Add vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl…combine the flour, baking powder. Zest the lemon and add to the dry ingredients, then add… alternately, with the pineapple, to  the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition (always start and end with the dry ingredients). 

And now…

add those pretty little gumdrops (dump in the flour you were using to shake them up in also).  Mix well and pour into a well greased tube pan. Grandma also baked this in loaf pans. Bake  for 1 and 1/2 hours, or until lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack, slice, admire…enjoy!

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I hope your Easter basket is filled with the blessings of family…and memories (and some great goodies, of course)!

May your life be blessed…simply…and simply blessed!


Yes…we had dessert…Kentucky Spice Cookies…Yum!

Ok…you had the Taco Soup…right? Ready for dessert?

Ginger and Jam...tasty little gems, Kentucky Spice Cookies

We had…Kentucky Spice Cookies (with Vanilla Ice Cream)! They are tasty! If you love gingersnaps or gingerbread…I think you’ll love these snappy gems also. I found this recipe in my San Francisco A La Carte cookbook (go figure). According to SFALC… “The recipe for these marvelous morsels migrated to California with some old Kentucky families and have become a Western favorite.”OK…I lived in the West and the Southwest.  I didn’t know about Taco Soup…or a Western favorite cookie? I have to come all the way across the plains to found out about these things!  There are no eggs in this recipe (nope…I double checked) so they will be a tasty treat for my kids and grandkids that are vegan.

This recipe makes A LOT of cookies (more than 7 dozen)…so, next time I will cut the recipe in half…now that is not a half baked idea! 


3 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger

3/4 teaspon allspice

2 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons baking soda

1 cup dark molasses (no animals were injured)

5 cups unsifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup water

Sugar to roll dough in (approx. 3/4 cup)

Strawberry or Raspberry Jelly (I used Smucker’s Peach and Smucker’s Strawberry/Blackberry)

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the sugar, shortening, spices, salt and baking soda. Add the molasses and blend well. Gradually mix in the flour. Add the water to make a dough of piecrust consistency. For each cookie, take 1 teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball, then roll (the ball, of course) in sugar. Place on  an ungreased cookie sheet, make a small indentation in the top of each ball and fill with a small amount of jam or jelly (less is better…and the cookies bake better and quicker with a smaller amount).


Now…the directions say to bake the cookies for 8 minutes. I baked them for 6 minutes…then rotated the baking sheet…and baked for another 3 – 4 minutes. They were crispier that way.  When the cookies are stored…the moisture from the jelly (or jam) will soften the cookie. The extra baking time worked for me and did not overbake the cookie.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with sugar if you like…and enjoy!

Allow to cool before storing.

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