OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS CHERRY ALMOND CAKE . . . It’s not too late to whip up this alternative to fruit cake.

The most loved and used  of all my many baking cookbooks is tattered, torn, mended and scribbled.   It has perhaps twenty pages.    More than fifty years ago it came free with a bag of Robin Hood Flour.  It contains the recipe for Wicked Wonderful White Bread and my stand by cinnamon coffee cake.  Every recipe is tried and trued and absolutely delicious in a wonderful old-fashioned way.    The recipes don’t call for exotic ingredients or special equipment.  They are stress free baking recipes perfect for almost any occasion.

I adore anything  baked with cherries, especially at Christmas time.  This recipe for Cherry Almond Cake is from the small Robin Hood Cookbook.  It is literally bursting with big, bright cherries.  It makes a generous cake.  Wonderfully generous.  You can cut,  slice and slice and nibble away to your hearts content.  It is a splendid cake for entertaining.  Large enough for second or even third slices.  What could be more perfect. You’ll find this  recipe on my food blog MRS. BUTTERFINGERS.

OLD FASHIONED CARROT CAKE

This is the carrot cake recipe we made in our first restaurant.  We called it our special occasion cake.    The recipe makes a fine crumb and is perfect for layer cakes.    We made it for a country wedding.  It can also be doubled and makes a great sheet cake.  It was served at a cast party following a play at the Regina University campus.  Our daughter was a drama major.  My sister Mona and her husband  were visiting from Prince Albert, Sask.  There was to be nine for dinner.    Carrot cake, the perfect dessert from a Saskatchewan past.

CARROT LAYER CAKE

1 cup vegetable oil

l cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1  tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (it is the only nutmeg is Use)

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 cups grated carrots (try to use sweet, organic carrots)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature

2 oz (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 cups sifted powdered sugar (icing sugar)

About 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans.

l. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.  Or, omit the flour and line with parchment paper

2. To make the cake, in a large bowl, beat oil, sugars and eggs until well blended.  Use a heavy-duty whisk for the best results.

Sift flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt over sugar mixture.  Beat until thoroughly blended.  Fold in carrots and nuts.  Pour batter into prepared pans; smooth tops.

3. Bake in preheat oven for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Don’t over bake.  Start checking after 30 minutes.  Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

4.  To make frosting, in a standing mixer, beat cream cheese  and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in lemon juice and powdered sugar; beat until smooth and frosting is a good consistency for spreading.

5. Place one cooled layer, bottom-side up, on a serving plate;  spread with a generous layer of frosting.  Top with remaining layer, bottom-side down.  Spread remaining frosting first around the sides and over top of cake.  Sprinkle side and top edge of frosted cake with nuts.  Refrigerate until served.  Makes 8 to 10 generous servings.  Celebrate!!!