Special recipes for special moms

“God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers,” according to an old Jewish proverb that has so much meaning. That thought will be conveyed in cards, calls, thoughts and spoken words on Sunday, which is Mother’s Day.

This is the one celebrated day that should be continued throughout the week, actually through the year.

A quote from Tenneva Jordan gives the example of a mother as one who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

Even Abraham Lincoln was known to say “All I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Mom always bakes what everyone else likes so on this day, whip up something fluffy and frilly that she would really enjoy.

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For instance a sponge cake can be split in layers and filled with a cream filling or frosting and topped with a colorful assortment of fruit that is glazed with 2 tablespoons of apricot or peach jam or apple jelly.

Cream Filled Fruity Cake

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

5 eggs, separated

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. Line with wax paper; grease paper. Cream butter; add sugar, beating well at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Combine flour and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla. Beat egg whites that have been warmed to room temperature, at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter. Pour into prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans; peel off wax paper and cool completely on wire racks. Fill with cream cheese frosting between two layers of the cake. Arrange sliced kiwi, strawberries, mandarin oranges and grapes on top. Melt 2 tablespoons apricot or peach jam or apple jelly and brush over the fruit.

Cream Cheese


8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

16-ounce package powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until very light and fluffy.

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This cake is from the Kitchen Keepsakes Cookbook and contains pecans and coconut. Plus the frosting has chopped pecans sprinkled on top.

Eileen’s Italian Cream Cake

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 2/3 cup sugar

5 eggs, separated

1 cup buttermilk

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pecans, chopped

3 1/2-ounce can flaked or chopped coconut

Cream margarine and shortening; add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add buttermilk alternately with dry ingredients, starting and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla, pecans and coconut. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold in. Bake in 3 greased and floured 9-inch layer pans at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until done. Cool before removing from pan. Frost between the two layers, top and sides of the cake with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup margarine, softened

1 pound powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1 cup chopped pecans

Cream cheese and margarine until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, ending with milk to make the proper consistency. Frost cake and sprinkle with nuts.

This is a white cake with coconut and lemon extract added. After it is baked, a lemon filling is spread between the layers and a fluffy lemon frosting is smoothed over the outside of the cake and flaked coconut sprinkled over all.

Lemon Coconut Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

6 egg whites

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in flavorings. Beat egg whites that have been warmed to room temperature in a large mixing bowl at high speed on an electric mixer until foamy. Add cream of tartar. Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold one-third of egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites. Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove and cool. Spread lemon filling between layers and then frost top and sides of cake with frosting. Gently press coconut into frosting.

Lemon Filling:

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

2/3 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup water

5 egg yolks, beaten

1/2 cup butter or margarine

Combine first three ingredients in a heavy saucepan; stir well. Stir in rind, juice and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir half of hot mixture into egg yolks; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add butter, stirring until butter melts. Let cool before putting on cake.

Fluffy Lemon


1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 egg whites

1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until clear. Cook, without stirring until candy thermometer reaches 232 degrees. Beat egg whites that have been warmed to room temperature until soft peaks form; continue to beat, slowly adding syrup mixture. Add powdered sugar, lemon rind and lemon extract; continue beating until stiff peaks form and frosting is thick enough to spread.

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This kind of cake has been around for more than 50 years and is still popular. This cake might take mom back to the days when her mother was making the same kind of cake in a wrought iron skillet that melted the butter and sugar over a flame and then the cake batter was baked in the oven.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Three 8 1/4-ounce cans pineapple slices, undrained

10 pecan halves

11 maraschino cherries, halved

2 eggs, strapped

1 egg yolk

1 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Melt butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Sprinkle brown sugar in skillet. Remove from heat. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice. Set juice aside. Cut pineapple slices in half, reserving 1 whole slice. Place whole pineapple slice in center of skillet. Place a pecan half and a maraschino cherry half between each piece of pineapple. Place cherry half in center of whole pineapple slice. Arrange remaining pineapple pieces, cut side up, around sides of skillet. Place a cherry half in center of each piece of pineapple around sides of skillet. Beat 3 egg yolks until thick and lemon colored; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; stir well. Add to egg mixture alternately with reserved pineapple juice. Stir in vanilla. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed on an electric mixer until stiff peaks form; fold beaten egg whites into batter. Spoon batter evenly over pineapple in skillet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake is set. Invert cake onto a serving plate immediately and scrape any remaining glaze from skillet onto cake. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes a 10-inch cake.

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This is another dessert that will take mom back to the days when her mom prepared this during strawberry season. Now it can be made at any time of the year because strawberries are available most months of the year.



2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups biscuit mix

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup strawberry preserves

2 tablespoons strawberry schnapps, divided

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

Fresh mint sprigs, optional

Place strawberries in a large bowl after they have been cleaned and hulled. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon and stir well. Sprinkle sugar mixture over strawberries. Toss gently to combine. Set aside. Combine biscuit mix and 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl. Add milk and melted butter, stirring with a fork until mixture forms a soft dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness; cut into four 4-inch circles, using a cookie cutter. Place circles on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden. Split warm shortcakes horizontally with a fork. Combine strawberry preserves and 1 tablespoon schnapps in a small bowl; stir well. Spread 2 tablespoons preserves mixture on cut side of each each shortcake half. Spoon 1/2 cup strawberry mixture on bottom half of each shortcake. Top each with remaining half of shortcake, cut side down. Beat whipping cream until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form.

Fold in remaining 1 tablespoon schnapps. Top each shortcake with a dollop of whipped cream. If desired, garnish each serving with mint sprigs. Makes four big servings.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)