Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Celebrating Those Who Have Passed On.

With Halloween and All Souls Day just around the calendar’s corner, creating a dessert, to honor those who have passed on, would be an idea.  Yes, flowers can be placed on gravesites, maybe some prayers and kind words said, but what about celebrating with the souls?  In Indonesian, dead relatives are dug up in several villages, every three years.  The skeletons are dressed in traditional clothing, group family photos are taken, and meals shared, with offerings made to the dearly departed.  In Mexico, The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a happy, and decorative, celebration.  People dress up in festive clothing, paint “death masks” upon their faces, and also have parades and parties to honor those who have passed away. The Mayan people of Pomuch, a village on the Yucatan peninsula, celebrates similar to the Indonesian ways.  A body must be in the ground a minimum of three years, before it can be dug up, cleaned, and displayed in a gaily decorated box at the cemetery. 

Even the Vikings had their own ways of celebration.   Alfabl√≥t was the time to make sacrifices (usually crops and animals) to the magical elves, as a way to honor a family's ancestors.  Viking warriors wished to die in battle and have their souls brought to Valhalla; riding with the Valkyrie on fiery, winged steeds.

Their bodies might be buried or cremated; put in ship burials or funerary mounds, but the souls resided with other great warriors, and with the gods themselves.

An offering of a sweet dessert, whether cakes or cookies, is often seen in any culture. Dried nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts or pine nuts are often included in the mixture.  Well, I like cake, but being a diabetic means, sometimes, desserts have to be avoided.  However, life should be enjoyed and making compromises means you can sometimes have your cake, and eat it too. This is what I did with a recipe I found online for Nutella Swirl Cake. Making a few simple changes created a cake that was more diabetic friendly than the original recipe. Less sugar, fat and cholesterol; yet a cake that was full of flavor and moist. Of course I also cut down the portion size from 12 slices to 16 slices, but with my recipe remake...less is more!!!  …and if making an offering, to the celebration of the dead, what’s one less slice of cake, on your own plate, anyway?

First the original recipe from  Il Cucchiaio d'Argento (http://, by Breadloveanddreams

Nutella Swirl Cake

Serves: 12

Difficulty: average

Preparation time: 20 min.

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Classification: Dessert, cake


3 cups cake flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. sea salt

3 cups granulated sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

6 oz. heavy whipping cream

6 eggs

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

3 Tbsp. Nutella

Powdered sugar, to dust


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.  Grease a 12 cup Bundt cake pan with flour and butter or baking spray.

In a large bowl sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at the time, until well incorporated. Add vanilla extract.

Reduce the speed then add whipping cream and flour mixture alternately. Pour the cake batter into the pan.

Add 3 tablespoons of Nutella on top of the batter, then swirl with a fork for a marble effect.

Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool into the pan.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Now for my recipe remake:


Nutella Swirl Bundt Cake


3 cups Bob's Red Mill 10-grain flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 and 1/2 cups Truvia Baking Blend

2 (16 Tbsp.) sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 and 1/2 cups egg substitute

3/4 cup vanilla flavored almond milk, unsweetened

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

4 Tbsp. Pyure Organic Hazelnut Spread

Swerve powdered sugar, to dust


Preheat oven at 350 F degrees.  Grease a 12 cup Bundt cake pan with flour and butter or baking spray.

In a large bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, beat butter and Truvia at medium speed until creamy and fluffy.  Continue beating and slowly add in the egg substitute; add the vanilla extract.

Reduce the speed, add almond milk and flour mixture alternately; pour the cake batter into the pan. Add four tablespoons of hazelnut spread on top of the batter; swirl into the batter, with a fork, for a marble effect.

Bake for 50 - 60 minutes; until a wooden toothpick comes out clean; allow the cake to cool in the pan.  

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Makes 16 servings.


The 10-grain flour gave the cake an overall nutty flavor, and there was still a discernible sweetness, even though non, or low, sugar products were used.


Remember to celebrate the lives, and happiness you felt, with those who have passed on, for they are always in your heart.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Cobbler vs. Crumble

“If a crumble is crumbly from being all fallen apart.

Why is a cobbler not looking as if created by an elf cobbler’s heart?

A baker’s mind decides what part topping and fruit play.

While hands diligently portray an artful display.

Mix in spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves.

As desserts bake, wonderful aromas fill the homes.”

Tired, climbing slowly into bed, head lying upon pillow, and then the dread.  The eyes pop open, wheels in the mind whirl. Not only must a poem be written quickly, but also a recipe from inside the head.  Oh yes, I am one of those people who, no matter how tired the body, the mind keeps going with questions and ideas.  …and so, my mind decided to contemplate the difference between a cobbler and a crumble.  I am not surprised by this, as I had been taking stock of what fruits I had “put up” this year in the freezer…apricots, peaches, cherries, plums, cranberries and blueberries.  So, why in the world would they not invade my mind while I was wanting to go to sleep?

Wanting to know the “technical” baking definitions, I found out, oh, it gets worse than just cobbler and crumble.  There is crisp, Betty, and buckle.  Well, who the heck is Betty, was her cobbler too crisp, so it crumbled, and did she have to loosen her buckle from eating too much???

The easiest description were found, would you believe, at the Farmer’s Almanac website (

"Crisp: A crisp is fruit dessert with a topping made of a combination of oats, flour, butter, and sugar (and sometimes nuts). The topping completely covers the fruit and is baked. It is also sometimes called a crumble.

Crumble: Crumbles are very similar to crisps, but the name originated in England. Both contain fresh fruit and are covered with a streusel topping that gets baked. Crumble toppings, however, usually do not contain oats, whereas crisp toppings do.

Cobbler: Cobblers are a fruit dessert baked with biscuit-style topping. It’s called a cobbler because its top crust is not smooth like a pie crust but rather “cobbled” and coarse. It’s usually dropped or spooned over the fruit, then baked.

Betty: A Betty (as in “Apple Brown Betty”) is similar to a crisp, but has no oats in its buttery crumb topping. And rather than having the topping solely on top of the fruit, it’s layered throughout, then baked.

Buckle: A buckle consists of fruit and cake baked together, with a streusel topping. As it bakes the fruit and streusel topping makes the cake “buckle.” It very much resembles a coffee cake."

…and of course, depending on where a recipe is obtained from, what is called a cobbler, could actually be a crisp; or a crisp a buckle; and do not forget about betty.

The recipe I am sharing with you is not a cobbler-cobbler, but a sort of buckle layered like a Betty, and…you get the gist of it, right?  Anyway, I made it with blueberries, served warm with ice cream on the side, and no one complained, even about the name.

 Easy (Any Fruit) Cobbler


1 stick butter (8 Tbsp.) butter

1 cup 2% milk

1 cup sugar (or equivalent sugar substitute)

1 cup all-purpose flour (add 3 Tbsp. for high elevation baking)

1 tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

*1 quart (32 oz.) chopped fruit or whole berries (if thawed from frozen, drain liquid, but keep for smoothies, or another use.)


Preheat oven to 350F.


Melt butter and brush against bottom and sides of 9”x12” inch baking pan, or 2-9” square baking pans.


Mix together milk, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until a smooth batter; pour into pan(s).

Cover batter evenly, as possible, with the fruit; do not stir the fruit into the batter.


Bake for one hour, or until toothpick comes out clean from cake.  While baking, the batter will rise up, surround the fruit and absorb its flavor.


To serve, cut into squares and top with whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream on the side.


Makes 12-18 servings, dependent on square size cut.


*Note: if fruit needs sweetening, add 2 Tbsp. sugar and mix thoroughly with fruit.

            :fruit, such as apples, apricots and peaches can be spiced up by mixing with cinnamon, cloves, all spice, nutmeg and/or cardamom before spreading over batter.

The fruit I used was frozen blueberries.  After straining the juice, I froze it for future use.

Mary Cokenour