Birthday Cake for Jesus

Here it is. Our birthday cake for Jesus. Made yesterday and stored safely away in the freezer. Okay, so it’s a little lopsided with frosting nearly running off the plate, but I assure you the taste will make up for the less than perfect presentation. You see, this is our family’s famous orange cake.

As far back as I can remember, Mom made orange cakes for us on our birthdays. At least for those of us who requested them — and that was nearly all of us because this cake is beyond delicious. I’m not sure where she got the recipe. As I remember, it was just from a small white paperback booklet of recipes, though I could be wrong (sisters, do you remember?). Regardless of its origin, it was a special cake made only on our special days, our birthdays.

Of course, I adopted Mom’s orange cake recipe and have made it many times over the years myself — again, usually only on someone’s birthday. Several years ago, however, it got worked into our family’s traditional Christmas fare. I believe it was Dad who suggested that we should really have a birthday cake for Jesus on His special day, and what better cake to have than the one we loved eating on our own birthdays?

The baking of Jesus’ birthday orange cake somehow fell to me, and it has become my annual contribution to Christmas dinner. It’s also become a great tool to show the children in the family that Christmas is in fact someone’s birthday. The birthday of One so great that the world virtually comes to a standstill to join in the celebration.

And since a birthday celebration is not complete without the giving of gifts, let me be one of the first this season to give you a little gift in honor of our Savior’s birthday — the recipe for our birthday cake for Jesus. (You will find it at the end of the post below the scripture).

I’d also like to give you the opportunity to give a little gift. Maybe you’d like to tell us about one of your family’s favorite Christmas treats or even give us the recipe. Or perhaps you can share one of the things your family does to focus on the birth of Jesus in the midst of all the holiday hoopla. So go ahead. What little gift can you give today?

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16

Fresh Orange Layer Cake

Mix together:
2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. soda
1 t. salt

1/2 c. shortening
grated rind of 1 orange
2/3 of 1 c. liquid (1/4 c. orange juice & 3/4 c. water)

Beat 2 minutes at medium speed and then add 2 eggs and rest of liquid. Mix well.

Pour into greased and floured 8-in. layer pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (I start checking it at about 20 minutes — my oven is crazy and I don’t want to overbake it. Not sure what a regular oven would do — I would start checking early.) Cool cake before frosting. (Go ahead and set out the margarine for the frosting so it can be getting soft.)


2 1/4 TB. flour
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. shortening (half margarine)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. nuts
1 c. powdered sugar

Gradually blend milk into flour. Cook until thick. Cool till lukewarm.

Meanwhile, cream shortening (half margarine) with granulated sugar and salt, using high speed mixer. Add lukewarm paste. Beat until fluffy. Fold in vanilla and nuts. Use 1/3 for filling. To remainder blend in 1 c. powdered sugar and frost the cake.

*My photo

Fall Fun — Yummy Pumpkin Favorites

What a difference a week can make. And not just in the political season, but in nature’s seasons, as well. Just this past week, the leaves in our area finally put on a show for us. For a couple of glorious days, we enjoyed trees peaking with color and leaves dancing their way to the ground. One here, one there — just the right amount to create a peaceful scene. But then the winds swept in, and the gentle dance became a chaotic flurry.

So now, before the Christmas season sneaks up on us and autumn slips completely away, I’m in a flurry to do something to celebrate fall here on Cheryl’s R & R. For the next few days, let’s have some fall fun. Let’s talk about our favorite pumpkin foods and treats.

Me? I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie, but I love pumpkin bread. Made some just yesterday, in fact. I use the same recipe that my mom has used ever since I can remember, and Kristin has already adopted it as hers as well. Not sure if Kelli has tried pumpkin bread yet :) For me and my family, though, pumpkin bread speaks of comfort, of home, of good memories.

Your turn now :) What’s your yummy pumpkin favorite? Tell us with a comment — and feel free to post the recipe if you have time. I’ll include mine below along with a little something to feed your soul. Come on and join the fall fun!

Pumpkin Bread

Cream: 2 & 3/4 c. sugar and 1 c. Crisco shortening
Add: 3 eggs, one at a time and then approx. 2 c. pumpkin

Mix together the following and then add to above mixture and stir by hand:
3 & 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. soda
3/4 t. cloves
1 t. nutmeg
3/4 t. allspice
1 t. cinnamon
2 t. salt (scant)

Grease 2 loaf pans. Divide dough into pans and bake at 325 for 1 hr. 15 min (depends on your oven — mine takes about 1 hr. 5 min). Cool on wire rack & then add glaze: powdered sugar, boiling water (doesn’t take much) & a little vanilla. Freezes well.

And now something yummy for your soul:

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8

*Don’t forget to tell us about your favorite pumpkin treat — and maybe even leave a recipe! :)

*Flickr photo by PlayfulLibrarian

As Requested…

A few of you requested recipes for a couple of the yummy chocolate treats that rated as favorites when everyone entered the Valentine’s Giveaway last week. This is a bit of a departure from what I might normally post, but far be it from me to deprive you of the roadmap to some sweet chocolate destinations :) I will include a couple of our family favorites as well.

As you prepare to feed your chocolate sweet tooth, let me encourage you to nourish your soul with something equally as satisfying — God’s Word. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight…” Jeremiah 15:16a

Oreo Truffles (from Heather)

1 package of Oreo cookies
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 package of almond bark-chocolate

Crush the cookies in the food processor until a fine powder. Then mix the cream cheese and cookie powder together. Roll mixture into balls. Place on wax paper and chill for about an hour. Then melt the almond bark and dip the balls into the chocolate. Then place on wax paper and chill until ready to serve. I like to drizzle white chocolate over the truffles. You can also dip them in white chocolate and drizzle with regular chocolate.

Lose Weight Chocolate Cake (from Norma)

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. boiling water
1 pkg. (16 oz) angel food cake mix
1 1/4 c. water
1 T. instant coffee powder
1 1/2 c. skim milk (or 1%)
1 pkg. Dream Whip whipped topping mix (can use Cool Whip)
1 pkg (1.4 oz) sugar free instant chocolate pudding mix

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 10×15 in. jelly roll pan (or 10×13) with waxed paper. Whisk together cocoa, sugar, and boiling water. Cool to lukewarm.
2. Prepare cake mix per pkg. directions, using 1 1/4 c. water and adding cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake 20 minutes or until top looks dry. Invert onto wire rack. Remove pan and paper. Cool.
3. In medium bowl, dissolve coffee in milk. Add topping and pudding mixes. Beat on low until moistened. Then beat on high until soft peaks form. Chill 5 minutes.
4. Cut cake crosswise into thirds (2 layers is fine – can be hard to do 3 layers. Norma used flat-edged cookie sheet as a large spatula to help separate the layers without tearing them to pieces). Cover each layer with topping. Stack. Chill for 2 hours. Serves 10. Per slice – 261 calories, 1.5 g. fat, 427 mg sodium

**Norma plans to try it in 2-3 round cake pans without splitting into layers.

Chocolate Sheet Cake (we love this with homemade ice cream!)

Mix in large bowl:
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1/4 t. salt

In a sauce pan, put 2 sticks of margarine, 4 T. cocoa, and 1 c. water. Bring to a quick boil and pour over the above mixture. Stir. Then add:

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. buttermilk (1/2 T. vinegar to 1/2 c. milk)
1 t. soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla

Beat. Bake in a greased and floured jelly roll pan at 400 for 20 min. or until done. About 10 min. after putting cake in the oven, make the icing. Spread over cake a few minutes after taking it out of the oven.


1 stick of margarine
4 T. cocoa
6 T. milk

Bring to a boil and add 3 3/4 c. powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla, and 1/2 – 1 c. chopped nuts.

Magic Cookie Bars

1 stick margarine, melted
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 c. chopped nuts
1 c. chocolate chips
1 1/3 c. flaked coconut
1 1/3 c. (15 oz can) Borden’s Eagle Brand

Melt margarine in bottom of 9×13 pan. Add rest of ingredients one by one on top of each other. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over melted margarine, chopped nuts carefully over crumbs. Then distribute chocolate chips over nuts, flaked coconut evenly over chocolate. Pour Eagle Brand over all. Bake in 350 oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Allow to cool 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into small squares.

*Flickr photo by mescon

Handing It Down

I’m back in blogging business after a nice little Thanksgiving break. Hope your holiday was filled with good food, good times with family, and a few extra memorable moments. As the week unfolded for me, I found myself once again carrying out traditions both old and new.

For most of my married life (over 30 years now!), I have spent the day before Thanksgiving making homemade rolls to take to our Thanksgiving gathering with Don’s family. Now these are not just any ordinary rolls, these are my Grandma Hoy’s homemade crescent rolls. The melt-in-your-mouth, pure heaven variety. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the only kind worth going to the trouble to make. At least they’re the only kind I go to the trouble to make :)

Grandma Hoy actually got the recipe for the rolls from Grandpa’s sister, my great-Aunt Alice. I don’t know who Aunt Alice got the recipe from, but I do know that it’s being handed down through the generations. I first grew to love these rolls at Grandma Hoy’s Thanksgiving gatherings. They became even more a part of our family’s life as my mom adopted the recipe and brought it into her generation of holiday meals. I’m not sure about my other sisters, but I do know that Carolyn and I have continued the tradition of making Grandma’s rolls. Know what else is really exciting to me? My daughter Kristin has already taken up the roll-making mantle as well. She made rolls this year and took them on a 7-hour trek to Shawn’s family’s Thanksgiving gathering. It looks like the rolls have secured a spot in yet another generation :)

I love seeing things handed down through the generations. It makes me realize that if I can touch the generations around me and those that follow with something as simple as a recipe or holiday tradition, surely I can impact their lives with more important things as well.

The Bible gives an example of this principle. In one of Paul’s letters to Timothy he says, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV)

I realize everything I’ve handed down thus far may not be as admirable as it should be — you know, things like attitudes or fears, etc. More than any negative thing, though, I pray that I am handing down a love for God and a thirst for His Word and a way of life that is filled with prayer, love for others, and an attitude of service.

Handing valuable things down through the generations, whether traditions or virtues, is not an easy thing to do. It takes effort, consistency, and love. But one thing is certain — it’s always worth it. What would you like to hand down?

**Wishing you could have the recipe for Grandma’s rolls? Here it is!

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. hot water
1 TBSP salt
2 pkg. improved yeast
5 1/2 c. or more flour

Mix 1/2 of the flour with the sugar, salt, and yeast. Mix hot water and shortening until melted (actually just soft). Add it to the flour and yeast mixture along with 2 eggs and beat with mixer. Add remaining flour (not all at once — in parts). Kneed about 5 minutes. Cover and let rise until double (1 1/2 hr.). Punch dough down and divide in two parts. Roll out each part in a circle, spread with butter, and cut and form into 18 crescents each. Cover and let rise another hour. Bake in 400 oven for 8-12 minutes (depending on your oven — I actually start checking mine at 6 minutes). Enjoy!