The first tea room I ever had the pleasure of taking afternoon tea was in the beautiful town of Poulsbo, Washington. Judith’s Tearooms and Rose Café was located on the main street going through the town. There were lots of little shops and an aquarium that my daughter, Stefanie loved to visit. After enjoying all over favorite shops we would stop at Judith’s for afternoon tea. Even at the age of five Stefanie loved having afternoon tea, especially when her Grandmother Janet was visiting. Stefanie always sat in the princess chair. It was a wicker chair with a high back and had fancy pillows on it. Janet loved this tearoom as much or maybe more than we did. On one of her visits we went to the tea room three times. We were in love with the Swedish Cream Cake on the menu. It was the only dessert we ever ordered. It was a moist yellow cake soaked in cream sherry then topped with dried apricots soaked in sherry and freshly whipped cream. To this day the cake is still one my favorites. Judith had a cookbook printed of all her tea time recipes. To my delight the Swedish cream cake recipe was in my hands. I usually bake the cake once a year; I love to have it in the spring while sipping a cup of tea. It brings back such a beautiful memory.
Swedish Cream Cake
Yellow cake, you will need the batter of 2 homemade cakes or 2 boxed cakes without pudding
4 tablespoons sour cream
1/2cup cream sherry
Dried apricots, soaked in cream sherry for 24 hours
Freshly whipped cream
Grease and flour a tube pan.
Follow your recipe for yellow cake either homemade or boxed doubled add the sour cream. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in center rack in preheated 350 degree oven 55-60 minutes depending on the amount of batter. Remove and let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Pour the ½ cup of cream sherry slowly over the cake. Let cool 1 hour and remove from pan. Cool cake completely. Place cake on a serving plate. Cut a slice of the cake and top with apricots and whipped cream.
My sister Carol hosted a 90th birthday party for our Aunt Carolyn yesterday with our immediate family. Aunt Carolyn was my Dad’s sister and to my delight, the women I call God Mother. Aunt Carolyn was always involved in our lives as we grew up. I remember a few summers of my childhood going to spend a week with her and her husband, my Uncle Bob. They had the coolest house. It was so big, at least in my child eyes. The kitchen was huge and I loved the walk-in pantry. The shelves were filled with glass, and baking equipment, and a window inside the pantry with a pretty valence hanging and the sun shining in. There was a nice back yard to play as well, which made it perfect. One of the summers during my visit my aunt was working on a layette for my Cousin Shirley’s bassinet; she was expecting her first child. Aunt Carolyn was a seamstress; and made the most beautiful things. I remember the fabric was yellow gingham and it had lots of ruffles sewn into it. It was so pretty. At 90 my aunt doesn’t do much sewing, but she still does needle point a few hours a day until her eyes get too tired. My beautiful aunt always has a warm smile on her face and laughter in her voice. You feel instantly good when she’s near. Her hands are never idol, she believes in keeping busy, helping, and encouraging others. I have always admired her. I’m so grateful for her presence in my life. When my sister was planning the party, I asked her if I could make the birthday cake. She graciously said yes. I made a lemon cake, the birthday girl’s favorite with a creamy butter-cream frosting. I decorated it with a shell boarder and rosettes going around the top. I’m not a cake decorator, but I sure love trying. I was thrilled to do this cake for this special person in my life, and even more thrilled when after her first bite she smiled and said she loved the cake.
I love reaching into my recipe box at Christmas time. I know whichever recipe I pull out will have years of history and tender memories attached to it. Such is the case with this beautiful fruit and nut cake. The recipe was shared with me by my dear former mother-in-law Janet. The cake is loaded with nuts, cherries, and raisins, and the apricot brandy gives it such a lovely flavor. Janet and I loved baking together on her visits. The Christmas season we made these cakes was an especially happy one for me. Our family lived in Washington State and we didn’t get visits from our family very often. It really lifted my spirit that they were with us for such a special time of year. There would be a few visits from Janet and my father-in-law Bill while lived there. These visits were cherished and all the more at Christmas time. The children were always so happy to see Mom mom and Pop pop. I remember shopping for all the ingredients at our local Costco. We made so many of these cakes that year that we needed to buy in bulk! I enjoyed chopping the nuts and halving the cherries. My fingertips were a lovely shade of red for a day or two! I loved the raisins and I would sneak a few as we were preparing the ingredients. We decided to make the cakes in little loaf pans to stretch the giving to my friends and church family. Mom would take some home with her to enjoy with family and friends who stopped in for a visit. We did lots of baking that year. After the little cakes, we baked all our favorite cookies. Butter spritz, pecan Sandy’s, jam thumb prints, and sugar cookie cut outs. My children couldn’t wait to eat them! I love the smell of the cake baking in my oven today. I couldn’t be more grateful for those precious memories of that special Christmas visit.
Brandy Nut Cake
3 Cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 ½ Cups maraschino cherries-halved
1 ½ Cups raisins
¾ Cups all-purpose flour
¾ Cups granulated sugar
½ Teaspoon baking powder
½ Teaspoon salt
3 Extra-large eggs
2 Tablespoons apricot brandy
½ Cup apricot brandy for wrapping
Combine nuts and fruit; sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder, salt. Add to the nuts and fruit tossing to coat well. Beat the eggs till frothy; then add the 2 tablespoons of brandy. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and nut mixture. Mix well. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 300 degrees 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. When cake is completely cool remove from the pan. Moisten several layers of cheese cloth with the ½ cup of brandy. Wrap the cake in the cheese cloth then wrap in aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator. I have no way of knowing the creator of the recipe. Janet never mentioned where she had gotten it. But I sure think it’s worth sharing. Enjoy!
It’s been about a year since I took my cake decorating class. I forgot how much work it is! Icing the cake was not to difficult but I’m a little rusty on the border. Looking forward to getting in some practice. Hope you all have a great weekend!