Tag Archives: Dalai Lama

A Cake, Some Cookies, and a Pie

7 Sep

Lemon Cake layer, lemon curd, blackberries, and whipped cream

As I’ve mentioned before, I am an Honorary Member of the Ashland Rotary Club.  One of the ways that I serve my club is by providing a cake for the Birthday table on the first Thursday of each month.  It’s an honor that I’ve had for at least the last dozen years.

When the first Thursday rolls around, you can be sure that I will be focused on making a cake.  Sometimes members of the club ask for a particular kind of cake – but most of the time, I’m on my own.

Yesterday, I decided to use the blackberries I picked as an ingredient in the cake – and that seemed to call for  a lemon cake, with lemon curd and whipped cream to complete the package.  As I was putting the cake together I thought it might be fun to share with you some of the process that I go through to take the cake from beginning to end.

My recipe is very similar to this one from Land o Lakes butter and I bake it in a 10 inch round pan that is greased and lined with parchment paper.  Once the cake is baked, I let it rest until cool.  Then I take the cake and slice it horizontally into three layers.   You can follow the steps in theses photos.

First layer

Second layer

Soaking the  top layer of the cake with simply syrup – to help ensure moistness

Using an offset spatula to smooth the whipped cream

Almost done!

The finished cake.

I’ll be making another cake for a fundraising event this Sunday for La Clinica.   I’ve participated in this fundraiser for several years now and love to help them in their mission to bring affordable health care to everyone.

And in a month or so, I will donate a cake to a fundraiser for a woman named Kathryn Veatch (aka Katie).  Katie plans to go to Vietnam to volunteer with a program called “Liddlekidz.”  Here is an excerpt from her flier about this trip: “Children in orphanages around the world may have food, clothing and shelter, but often they lack an essential ingredient for basic health and happiness – touch.  Without it, children often feel discarded, forgotten and even untouchable… ”  

Liddlekidz will bring a team of therapists (massage, occupational, physical) and various pediatric specialists to teach massage and nurturing touch techniques to caregivers in Vietnam. I met Katie at her yard sale fundraiser.  She told me she was accepting donations for the yard sale and the next day I brought her some clothing to sell – and some gluten-free chocolate espresso cookies – since I’d heard Katie mention to someone that she didn’t eat gluten.  I’m excited to support Katie in her quest to help children and if you’d like to contribute to her mission, you can do so here.

Lastly, (you knew this was coming) I made a pie yesterday for a couple who’ve recently moved into a new living space.  I’d been thinking about them all week and finally had a chance to put a pie together.  I mixed the rest of the blackberries I had picked with a little bit of cornstarch and some sugar, rolled out a crust, filled it with the berries and made some crumb topping to finish it.  I love crumb topping… and remember when I was about fourteen years old that I ate all the crumbs off of a crumb cake while I was babysitting for a friend.  Kind of gross to admit that now… and I don’t do that any longer.  Really.

In case you’re interested, below you’ll find my recipe for crumb topping.  Enjoy!

Crumb Topping Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour 

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend flour, sugar, and cinnamon  in a mixing bowl.  Add softened butter and use a fork (or your fingers) to combine the butter and dry ingredients until the mixture becomes uniformly “crumbly.”

“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.”

 Dalai Lama

A Visit to Lithia Springs Rotary

1 May

A while ago I promised that I would continue to at least make a pie a week… and I am sad to say that that has not happened.  Honestly, I don’t know how I made a pie a day for a year.  When I thought about making a crust for just one pie this last week, it seemed overwhelming!  I guess making a batch of dough that would make crusts for eight pies was easier than going through the motions for just one pie.

However, what I have done over the past few weeks is shared food.  I brought lasagna and freshly baked bread to a woman who I recently met who is going through a very difficult time.  I also brought cheesecake and hors d’oeuvre to church for an impromptu coffee hour.  And later on a walk through town, I gave a sandwich to a stranger near the entrance to the park (and this does not take into consideration all of the catering I have been doing!)  So while I was not busy making pies, I was still invested in bringing comfort and love to others through food.

If it isn’t obvious already, let me say that I feel that creating pleasing food is a gift that I have been blessed with… and I believe that we all have been blessed with gifts such as this.  Some people have a gift for working with children and bringing out the best in them.  Others of us are talented artists; still others of us have dedicated our lives to science and the healing arts.  Each of our gifts are valuable and important in the grand scheme of things.  And I believe that if we are able to share our gifts with others, we will have achieved our lives true purpose.

This morning I spoke to the Lithia Springs Rotary Club about my pie project.  I didn’t know how this talk would be received… for to me it seemed like old news.  I’d make a pie a day for a year… so what?   I was surprised to find that some of the folks in the club had not yet heard of my project while many others were inspired by it.  It was really an enlightening experience.  Perhaps I’d been so consumed by my own journey that I just assumed that everyone else was as well?

I forgot to mention that I made a pie for the meeting this morning.   Many years ago I was the caterer for this Rotary club and  since I would be speaking about pies this morning, it seemed only natural to bring along a spinach and mushroom quiche.  It was the first real pie that I have made in a few weeks… and I really enjoyed the zen of it all.   I think it’s safe to say that I will be making pies for a long time to come…  or at least until I can find people to share them with.


This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
Dalai Lama



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