Sunshine in a cake

Revisiting one of my all-time favorite recipes today.

If you haven’t tried it before, you should!

Springtime makes most of us instinctively want to clear things out – out with the old, in with the new. Out with the clutter, out with the dark tones of winter, out with the heavier foods and in with the light. Lighter colors, lighter clothes, lighter foods. This is one of my favorite things to make in the springtime.

Mom stumbled across this recipe years ago. It’s been one of our standbys ever since. It is so easy and quick to make, yet it is from scratch and feels wholesome to prepare.


I love the light texture of the cake – it’s technically a pound cake, but it is in no way heavy like some pound cakes are. This cake bakes up light and airy. The flavor is light as well – it sings of springtime, with its hints of orange, lemon, and apricot. There is a glaze in the recipe, although I never make it. My kids are anti-glaze, anti-icing, and prefer their cakes and cookies au naturel. Works for me. Less sugar to consume. Anyway, I hope you will give this a try.

The first time I made it, I thought, “Apricot? Really? Huh.” But, I am so glad I tried it. It is one of the family favorites – and one that is requested often by our friends as well. I would imagine you could substitute the apricot juice with some orange juice or even lemon juice, but I love it just as it is and have never felt the need to swap it out. I buy the six pack of the little bitty apricot juice cans in the grocery store, so I always have one on hand for the cake.  It takes about half of one of those cans in the cake and I use the rest in the glaze if I make the cake for friends.


Sunshine Cake

3 cups sugar (I use 1 1/2 cups Splenda sugar blend)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup apricot juice/nectar (or you can use apricot brandy)
1 cup sour cream (do not use low fat sour cream, it won’t work here)
1 cup butter, softened
6 eggs
1 tsp orange extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla extract


1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c (apprx) apricot nectar
*if you have them on hand, you can zest a lemon and/or orange into the batter and glaze. It just amps up the flavor.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour Bundt pan or tube pan.
  3. In large mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar.
  4. Add in the apricot juice.
  5. Add the sour cream, extracts and eggs, making sure they are incorporated thoroughly.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt)
  7. Pour into baking pan.
  8. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto cake plate.
  10. Continue to cool for approx. 30 minutes more or until cake is completely cool.
  11. Drizzle with glaze, if desired.

Saturday Sweetness: Harvest Cake

saturday sweetnessI think I have mentioned before that my favorite cake is the Apple Cake that my mom and I make all the time. I absolutely love it.  Not too sweet but just perfect with a cup of tea, or coffee or all by itself.

I found this Autumn Cake recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try. I have to say, it’s right up there with the Apple Cake recipe now in terms of my favorites. I’ve made it twice and it was even better the second time, I think.

The biggest difference is that the second time I didn’t put the glaze on.  The original recipe called for a glaze, but to me, it masked the flavor of the cake and was too sweet.  The second time, I left the cake au naturel and didn’t add a glaze. It was perfect.

The first one I made for our friends from church. One of the guys mentioned as he was eating it that it tasted like “Autumn on a plate” and I have to agree.

Give it a try – I think you will agree as well!

harvest cake

Harvest Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I used Honey Crisp and Fuji)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9- to 10- inch (12 cup) Bundt pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ground ginger.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition.
  5. Beat in the vanilla.
  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pumpkin, chopped apple.
  7. Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
  8. Finally, gently stir in the cranberries and pecans.
  9. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.
  10. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, then cool to room temperature on the rack.
  12. DEVOUR!

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Saturday Sweetness: Apple Cake


Hello, Sweet Things!Saturday Sweetness

Happy Saturday to you!  It’s an overcast, gloomy day here in our neck of the woods… looks like it will be rainy around here for the next four or five days. I’m not complaining, though, because it means the weather will cool down even more and that means I might get my first fire in the fireplace for the season! Yippee!

Today I’m going to be spending some time in the kitchen – I’m planning to make a batch of my beef stew for a get together with some friends.  We’re not getting together until tomorrow evening, but I’m making it today so the flavors can meld and be even tastier by tomorrow.  I’ll cook it in the crock pot and then I can stick the crock in the fridge until it’s time to warm it up tomorrow.

I’m also going to make this awesome Apple Cake recipe. I’ve shared it with you before (years ago) but I thought I’d share it again. To me, it’s the quintessential fall cake recipe. My mom and I make it many times throughout the fall. Baking this sort of signals the beginning of the fall baking season to me.

It’s so simple to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand… and it is so worth it. It tastes super good.

I’m off to the kitchen – well, I am as soon as SuperMan relinquishes control in there. Right now he’s making our weekly Saturday breakfast smorgasbord and since it is one of the highlights of our weekend, I’ll just stay out of his way and let him go.  THEN I’ll get in there and do my thing the rest of the day. Smile

Here’s the recipe.  I hope you enjoy.


1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups apples, peeled & chopped (the smaller the pieces the better)
1 cup raisins

  1. Cream oil, sugar.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift flour with salt and baking soda.
  4. Slowly add (in 1/2 cup increments) to wet ingredients.
  5. Add pecans, raisins and apples.
  6. Pour into greased Bundt pan.
  7. Bake at 350 for one hour.


Saturday Sweetness: Lemon Pound Cake

As I was mixing this up on Friday afternoon, I thought I’d share this recipe with you again. It’s one of those family favorites that we go back to again and again… especially for special occasions.  And this weekend, we’re having special visitors and so I thought it was appropriate to bake.


And I thought you should be able to enjoy it too! And since I can’t bake one for ALL of you – sharing the recipe is the closest I can come…

Grandma Achord’s Lemon Pound Cake


3 cups white sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 sticks butter
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp almond extract
zest from one lemon (optional)


  1. Cream sugar and butter.
  2. Add sour cream and extracts.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add flour and baking soda slowly.
  5. Beat only long enough to get flour mixed in well.
  6. Pour into greased tube or Bundt pan and bake at 325 for 1 hour 20 min.

We usually don’t ever get around to it because we gobble up the cake so quickly, but Grandma always made a glaze by mixing a few teaspoons of lemon juice with some powdered sugar (about 2 cups) and drizzled it over the cake.

More Sweets for the Sweets

Hi, Sweet things! 🙂

Here’s another favorite recipe of the family. My mom has been baking this cake since I was a small girl. It was a recipe that she loved and received from a friend who I remember as an excellent cook and a wonderful baker.

It is not the healthiest, but I figure you can’t go wrong with apples in a cake. Mom has even substituted pears before with much success. Once you try it I think you will do like I did and add it to your standard repertoire of cakes to make for friends.

It’s great with coffee, tea, or just a big glass of milk.

Apple Nut Cake

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups apples, peeled & chopped (the smaller the pieces the better)
1 cup raisins

  1. Cream oil, sugar.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift flour with salt and baking soda.
  4. Slowly add (in 1/2 cup increments) to wet ingredients.
  5. Add pecans, raisins and apples.
  6. Pour into greased bundt pan.
  7. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Mom sometimes makes this caramel icing to go on top, although my family is not much for icings on cake, so I usually don’t bother. We like our cakes au naturel.

Caramel Icing

1 stick of butter (softened) (4oz for you Europeans)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canned milk
1 tbsp vanilla

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Continue boiling for 2 1/2 minutes. Cool. Pour over cake.


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