Monday, 28 July 2014

Tang Shake and Ants on Logs

When it comes to hosting relatives, cakers have a love/hate relationship. On the one hand, it gives us a chance to show off our electric fireplaces, our ping pong tables that double as buffet tables and polish up the good set of Tupperware. But it can also be stressful. We have to give tours of our town and make it sound interesting. And act like we’re happily married and that our kids are normal. And breathe through our mouths when Uncle Dick emerges from the bathroom after being in there for a half hour.

Thankfully, cakers are a simple breed, so feeding one another isn’t as much of an issue. When it comes to offering a mid-day snack around the above-ground pool, Ants on Logs and Tang Shakes are the perfect way to tide your guests over until the suppertime casserole. The Tang Shake tastes just like a Creamsicle and reminded me of one of my all-time favourite caker recipes, Tang Pie, which was sent to me by Caker Cooking reader, Bob.

Ants on Logs are equally delicious. But a word of caution: They’re complicated to make. You have to cut the celery and then spread on the peanut butter and then delicately lay on your “ants.” Give yourself lots of time and you’ll be fine. Guaranteed those relatives will be raving about the Martha Stewartson in the family for weeks to come.

Tang Shake
1 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon Tang
1 scoop vanilla ice cream or orange sherbet

Put into blender and blend. Makes one large glassful.

Source: Kitchen Tested Recipes from Milford, Milford United Church

Ants on Logs
Celery sticks with peanut butter spread in centre and raisins on top. (See note) Kids love them.

Note: While this may be the shortest recipe ever posted on Caker Cooking, it's by no means the easiest. Don’t be fooled.

Source: Favourite Recipes, Crumlin United Church

Friday, 25 July 2014

A Caker in Itlee: Special Investigative Report

Recently, I went to Itlee with all my Italian in-laws. Have you ever travelled with 11 Italians? Getting everyone in one place at one time was like trying to lasso Ragu. And the lasso is a piece of over-boiled spaghetti.

Speaking of over-boiled spaghetti, we all know that Italian-Canadians don't exactly hold caker culture in the highest regard. After all, they were the ones who called us “cakers” in the first place. But what about Italy Italians? I put on my Rafaella Carra wig and went undercover. You may be surprised by what I found.


Lookie here! Kraft cheese slices. Although the name is a little too close to “toilet” for me.

Why don’t we have McDonald’s mayonnaise in Canada? And where was the McMiracle Whip?

Italians love fish sticks. Although they spelled “captian” wrong. LOL!

Chocolate Corn Flakes. I briefly considered moving to Italy just for these.

This is Italian ketchup. Why is the tomato mascot is wearing a toque and gloves? Does he think he’s Canadian?

From here on out, I’m putting chocolate chips on my JELL-O, too.

Proudly being served by Italian great aunts this very minute.

I wish Hotel Bologna was in Canada. Heck, I’d even settle for Hotel Mock Chicken.

We were served these hors d’ouevres on a bar patio. Uh, that’s white bread, ketchup and a hot dog slice. Hmm. Wonder what those Italian-Canadians would say.


A few other observations:

Water is pretty expensive in Italy, but there are fountains in the bathrooms. Drinking next to the toilet was a little weird. But it wasn’t the first time I’ve done it.

Some people have a very specific idea of hell. This is mine.

Which explains why most of the cars look like this.

You know that expression about pulling your hair out? Italians really mean it.

This sign was above a playground. I wish I had a baby cottage when I was growing up. Instead, my mom used to stick me inside a cardboard box. Anyway, I hope this sign made sense to the Italian-speaking people because it sure didn’t make sense to the English-speaking people.

Italian pigeons look just like Canadian pigeons.

Everyone made a big deal about this tower, but hello? It’s crooked.

I got pretty excited when I saw this. “WHERE'S THE CHURCH?!?” I screamed. Turns out that “bazar” means store.

All in all, Italy was a great place for cakers of all shapes and sizes. Just make sure that when you cross the street, point, say a prayer and run because it could be the last thing you do.

Ci vediamo la prossima settimana con una nuova ricetta Caker!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Pork n' Beans Bread

I don’t know what kind of pills they’re taking, but today’s senior cakers are nothing like the generation before them. Long gone are the needlepoint, ugly shoes and blue rinse. These days, elderly folks are hang gliding, purchasing prophylactics and wearing hot pants. (Trust me on the hot pants. There’s an old man in my hood who wears them and brother’s got gams.)

Awhile back, my mom took me to the mall food court where her posse hangs out. There was a square dance going on – and you should’ve seen these seniors cutting a rug! I even noticed a pair getting frisky in the corner. My mom said they were just sharing a piece of Freedent, but I have my doubts.

This week’s recipe was given to me by my mom’s friend Mia, who, at 96, is still going strong. (The preservatives in caker food mean we’re always the last ones standing.) Mia says Pork n’ Beans Bread is a family favourite and while I admit that the idea of eating pureed pork was troublesome, I’m happy to report that it’s moist (thanks, cup of oil!) and delicious. Like a soft spice cake. Only better. Because it’s got fibre. And, uh, pork.

Speaking of fibre, there ain’t none in Italy. Which explains my pinched expression during my recent visit there. Come back Friday for my “Caker in Itlee” investigative report. Let’s just say the Ragu’s about to hit the fan.

Thanks, Mia! See you on the dance floor.

15-ounce can pork and beans
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 cups flour

Spray two 9”x 5”x 3” loaf pans with Pam. Don’t drain pork and beans. Put in a food processor or blender and process them until they’re pureed smooth with no lumps. Place beaten eggs in large bowl. Stir in pureed pork and beans and mix well. Add vegetable oil and vanilla. Mix well. Add sugar, then mix in baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir. Stir in chopped nuts. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Spoon half of batter in one loaf pan and other half in second loaf pan. Bake at 350° for about 1 hour.

Source: Caker Mia

Monday, 30 June 2014

Pieathalon: Chess Pie

This week, I’m participating in a pieathalon with other food bloggers. A pieathalon is an ancient tradition stemming from Roman times where they’d put Christians in the Coliseum and make them eat pie until they exploded.

In the modern day version, we were given a pie recipe by another blogger. Mine was Chess Pie from S.S. of Book of Cookerye. Now, I’ve had a lot of pie in my day, but I’d never heard of Chess Pie before. Why is it called that? Are you supposed to eat it while playing chess? If so, that wouldn’t work for me because I’m not one of those multitasking types. And chess always makes me think of that Bangkok song.

The recipe called for some weird ingredients, specifically corn meal, vinegar and that stuff called “oleo.” (I used butter.) Not to mention cracking three eggs took a lot of concentration. But all in all, Chess Pie was pretty tasty. It was like a custardy, butter tart. As far as the presentation, thank god for that aluminum pie plate because without it, you wouldn’t be able to tell where the pie ended and the countertop began.

Check out all the pie pandemonium by visiting these other participating bloggers. You’ll discover gems like Simone’s Pet Strawberry Pie (hope it doesn’t have hamster), Avocado Lime Pie and (gag) Curried Egg Pie.

Mid Century Menu – Avocado Lime Pie
The Retro WW Experiment – Nesselrode Pie
Retro Recipe Attempts – Curried Egg Pie
Silver Screen Suppers – Mile-High Lemon Chiffon Pie
A Book of Cookrye – Upside Down Chicken Pie
Directionally Challenged Cooking – Simone's Pet Strawberry Pie
Kelli's Kitchen – Butterscotch Pie
A Pinch of Vintage – Schoolteacher Pie
Grannie Pantries – Black Bottom Pie
Dinner is Served 1972 – Seafoam Cantaloupe Pie
Ginger Lemon Girl – Chocolate "Pie"

I’m off to It-lee today, so I won’t be posting next week. As the Italians say, "Arriva derchee!"

1 tbsp cornmeal
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tbsp flour
3 eggs, beaten
¼ lb. oleo, melted
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp vinegar
1 unbaked pie shell

Mix cornmeal, sugar and flour; add to eggs. Add oleo; cream thoroughly. Add vanilla and vinegar; pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Yield: 6 servings. (See note)

Note: Or two, really, really big servings.

Source: Favorite Recipes of America: Desserts

Friday, 27 June 2014

Reader Recipe: Cherry La


When it comes to blog commenters, I have some of the finest. Seriously. You’re all awesome. Hearing from fellow cakers puts the “Hello!” into my dolly. Wait, that sounds weird.

Recently, Sara from Wisconsin commented on my Cherry Loaf recipe, confessing that she’d been having dreams about maraschino cherries. (I have them, too, but usually Captain Stubing is involved.) Sara said that there’s a road sign on the way to her sister’s place that reads “Cherry La.” She always thought it sounded like a fabulous dessert. So I said, “Go forth, caker woman, and invent it.”

So she did. And here it is! I've yet to make Sara’s Cherry La, but it reminds me of a snow cone  only without the syrup running down your arm. But a word of caution: you’ll need a zester and strong wrists to scrape the ice. (Two strikes for me.) Sara, I’m going to spread the news about Cherry La throughout all of Canada. Only in Quebec, it’ll be called Le Cherry La. Or La Cherry La. Something like that. I’ve always been le bad at French.

Thanks, Sara!

If you’ve got a caker recipe (original or not), email it to me cakercooking at gmail dot com and I’ll do my darndest to feature it.

And don't forget to come back Monday for the first-ever Pieathalon!

¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
¼ cup lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
2 tsp. lemon zest
2 cups water
¼ cup sugar
¼ - ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Pour mixture in a heat proof/freezer proof pan (I used a metal 9x9 cake pan). Let cool until room temperature.  Then put in freezer, making sure it’s a level spot.  Freeze for about 2 hours.  Once frozen, use a fork and scrape the surface.  Enjoy!

Sara’s note 1:  You may have to rearrange all of your French bread pizzas and unlabelled Tupperware for a level spot in your freezer.

Sara’s note 2:  Don’t use a cheap fork to scrape up the Cherry La or you’ll end up with yet another piece of silverware for your wind chime project.

Source: Caker Sara

Monday, 23 June 2014


Bun-jurno! Welcome to a special Italiano edition of Caker Cooking, sponsored by Rag├╣. (Okay, maybe not, but a caker can dream.)

In one week, I leave for Italy! (Or, as my mom calls it, “It-lee.”) This is a pretty big deal for someone who wasn’t allowed to cross the street until high school graduation. I’ll be travelling with all my in-laws. That’s 11 Italians. For 14 days. Something tells me I may need earplugs.

As most of you know, it was the Italians who called us “cakers” in the first place. And while that term isn’t exactly complimentary, a caker never holds a grudge. So I’m making this lasagna and bringing it to share with the people of Italy. (So long as the flight crew doesn’t get to it first. LOL!)

Caker lasagna is very similar to traditional Italian lasagna, only it has cottage cheese. And garlic powder. And, uh, tomato soup. And, well, canned mushrooms. But aside from that, pretty identical. I made this lasagna for my Italian better half and while he was “schkeeved” at first, who do you think went back for a second helping? (Leaving a trail of Pino Silvestre behind him, I might add.) Then I took some to my mom and she said it was the best lasagna she ever tasted! Not that she has the highest standards. Anyways, it's good.

Next week is the first-ever Pieathalon! A bunch of food bloggers got together and exchanged pie recipes. What did I get stuck with? Alls I’ll say is, “Check, mate.”

In closing, I have a few words I’d like to say to the people of Italy. I’ve asked my Italian partner to translate.

"Dear people of Italy, I hope you enjoy this lasagna. I love your food, especially Pizza Hut pizza. I’m looking forward to visiting the childhood home of one of my idols, Chef Boyardee. See you soon."

"Gente d'Italia, correte!!! Vi raccomando di non mangiare questa lasagna di mangia-cake!!! Questi mangia-cake hanno massacrato la nostra cultura!!! Non posso continuare a mangiare questo cibo!!! Aiuto!!!"

1 pound ground beef
1 chopped onion
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon oregano
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomato paste
½ cup water
2 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (see note 1)
8 ounces mozzarella
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350°. Fry beef, onion and spices. Drain. Add soup, paste and water. (See note 2) Boil and reduce heat. Simmer 30 minutes. Stir. Combine cottage cheese and eggs. Arrange 3 alternate layers of noodles cheese mixture, mozzarella cheese, noodles, etc. Bake for 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Note 1: I’m sorry, but 9 noodles didn’t cut it. I did 4 layers of 4 noodles. So 16 in total. I think. I failed math. Just use the whole box. Remember to save some sauce to spread on the top layer. I used no-boil noodles (of course) but the top layer got dried-out. You might want to consider using the boil kind.

Note 2: For nutritional reasons, my mom always added canned mushrooms to her lasagna, so I did the same at this point.

Source: This recipe book doesn’t have a cover, but I think it’s by Eatons employees.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Cherry Loaf

Sometimes, I imagine caker ingredients competing in a beauty pageant. Why, here comes Miss Dream Whip (note the pale complexion). Next up, it’s Miss Tomato Soup (she’s a tangy one, fellas). And let’s not forget Miss Shredded Coconut (a little scattered). But no contestant comes close to the Red Number 4 glory of Miss Maraschino Cherry.

Plump, bright and shellacked in high fructose corn syrup, Miss Maraschino Cherry has style, sophistication and definitely leaves her mark. (Seriously, don’t get maraschino cherry juice on your counter.) From scaling the heights of an ice cream sundae to diving into the depths of an icy Coke, Miss Maraschino Cherry makes Alexis Carrington look like Mama June.

This Cherry Loaf took me back to my Betty Crocker Easy-Bake Oven days (not that I was allowed to have one – I had to steal borrow it from a female friend) because one of the mixes was cherry and the cake had the same pink colour as this loaf. Come to think of it, I blame Betty Crocker for turning me into a caker in the first place. I mean, baking with a light bulb? That’s more caker than a microwave.

1 c. w. sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp. salt
½ c. butter
Small bottle cherries
Pour juice into a cup and fill with milk (see note 1)
2 c. flour
2 tsp. B. powder
1/2 c. walnuts and raisins may be added.
When you add the cherries, use electric mixer and they will cut into small pieces. Bake in loaf pan 1 hr. (see note 2)

Note 1: I assumed “a cup” meant a 1-cup measuring cup. Also, I couldn't find a small bottle, so estimated half of a large bottle.
Note 2: Caker ladies aren’t always the most thorough with their instructions. I baked mine at 350.

Source: Wheatland Cooks Celebrate