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.

HOW TO MAKE OLD FASHIONED COCOA … and reap the benefits of a snowsuit


The snow suit story first the the recipe for old fashioned hot cocoa later.


I was five years old when I had my first  new snowsuit.   Mother was a thrifty woman, and memories of the depression were  strong.    I wore hand-me-downs from my older sister Mona.  Then glory of glories  in late August Mother bought me a new snow suit.  I was so overjoyed I insisted on wearing it, but not for long.  The temperature was 75°F.


It was one piece, a deep forest green colour, a zippered front and matching hat.  Tres chic!



Finally the snow came.

Finally I could wear my new snowsuit.

I was  zipped me into it. A long woolen scarf around my neck.  Warm mitts with strings attached.

There was  snow but it wasn’t really  cold.

I was dressed in woolen underwear,

a woolen sweater,

a wool skirt,

long brown stockings that bagged at the knees,

and my wool snowsuit.

I was unbearably warm.  I did what I thought was logical.  I unzipped my snow suit.  Took my arms out of the sleeves and bunched  the suit  around my waist.   Fortunately for me our mailman saw me wandering in the field next to our home  snow suit dragging on the snow behind me.   It ended well –  me sitting in front of the wood burning kitchen stove sipping cocoa.


For one chilly child or one adult with a really good book to read

In a small saucepan put a generous cup of milk, a heaping spoonful of cocoa powder, a heaping spoonful of brown sugar or honey, a handful of dark chocolate grated  (or use chips), a splash of pure vanilla extract and a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper.  Whisk until well combined and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Feel free to stir in a few pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, or cardamon.  It’s your cocoa.