Southern Apple Stack Cake

This is one of my “Southern Secrets”  It is a secret way I have of making a really yummy treat.

When I was first married,  I remember my mother in law knew a woman in town who made the best Apple Stack Cakes you have ever eaten.  An apple stack cake is just what the name says.  It is a stack of cakes with apple filling in between.  The higher the stack the better, but most recipes call for six layers of the cake.  Now keep in mind the layers are very thin, that is one of the tricks to the Apple Stack Cake.  I am going to tell you the basic four steps for preparing the Apple Stack Cake and then I am going to give you a secret recipe that is unbelievably good.  You may already know about it. It doesn’t even involve baking.  What?? You won’t believe it!!!   Please know I am not trying to downplay the Apple Stack cake and the original way to make it.  It is a true labor of love and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If I could buy one or make one every week I probably would.  But I know I don’t have time for that and you probably don’t either.

But back to my original story.  When I was first married my mother in law knew a woman and her husband who made stack cakes at Christmas.  They had several apple trees and they would harvest the apples in the fall and peel them and dry them for Christmas time to be made into the cakes. They dried bags and bags of them.  This was a big deal for them.  They did it to earn extra money for Christmas.  They were both retired and lived very modestly.  When Christmas came around everyone knew this was the place to get your stack cake.  Many many cakes were made daily.  They even delivered them to you for the outrageously low price of $12.00.  I know!!!   I think the first year I knew about them they were $10.00 and then the price of the ingredients went up or maybe the apple crop didn’t do as well and they had to increase their price.  If you ever happened to stop by their house during the stack cake preparation, you would see a flurry of activity coming from that sweet couple.  You would find it hard to believe that only two people did all of the work that went into all of the cakes.

My mother in law always got one for Christmas dinner.  You had to put your order in early because they only made so many and when the apples were gone they were gone.  After I got married I got on the list so that I could have a cake for my mom and dad’s house when we went there for Christmas.  Two of these awesome cakes at Christmas, well it was just about the best thing you can think of.

The four basic steps for making your Apple Stack Cake:  I am not including an ingredient recipe you can google it or you may even have one from your grandmother or aunt Gene.
Here is one that I found that looks pretty good http://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/8012/apple-stack-cake

1. You make the apple filling.  You are making the applesauce from dried apples by simmering them with water and spices and a bit of brown sugar.  Once the dried apples become soft and pliable you will put them into a food processor to be pureed.

2. Make your cake batter.  You can use a basic cake batter but you must chill it so that you can spread the cake batter very thinly for baking.  Some people put the batter directly on parchment paper and bake the layers (you must have at least six layers, I don’t know why but you do)  but my mama always used a cake pan and just spread the batter really thin along the bottom of the cake pan.

3. When the layers of cake are cooled you put one of the layers on a plate.  Spread the filling on top then add another layer continue with this until you get to the last layer.  Some people spread the filling on the top and sides.  I think this makes it really messy.  It also makes it hard to wrap it later.  Once you wrap the cake the delicious apple filling will seep into all of the cake and make it really soft and yummy.

4. Top the cake with waxed paper and wrap in plastic wrap.  Let stand at least 12-24 hours before cutting.

 


Doesn’t that look delicious?

Now I will tell you my little cheater way of doing this.  A friend told me about this years ago and whenever I get a craving for an Apple Stack Cake I just fix one of these:

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You will need a jar of reaaaallllly good apple butter.  This is the apple butter I bought at the Mennonite market a few weeks ago.  It is so good. You will also need a pack of graham crackers.  I use the regular kind. I guess you could use the cinnamon ones.

Spread the apple butter between each of the graham crackers and start layering the crackers.

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This is what it will look like when you finish.  I may have gone a little crazy on the apple butter but it is just so good!!!!

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You then wrap plastic wrap around it and put it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Actually waiting 24 hours makes it even better but it’s so hard to wait!!!  The crackers absorb the apple butter. They will no longer taste like plain graham crackers.

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This is what it will look like when you cut it.  You will get about 3 servings out of this because it is really dense.  It is soft just like a cake and it tastes yummy.

Like I said I am in no way telling you not to make a “real” Apple Stack Cake. But if you don’t have time and you want a treat that brings back a lot of memories, try this.  Let me know how it goes.

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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Happy Mother’s Day!!

Hello friends and Happy Mother’s Day!!! I hope you have had a wonderful day with your family and loved ones.  It has been a beautiful day here in the south.  It has been really really cool.  I told you last week we were in Blackberry Winter so the mornings here have been almost cold. If you missed my post about the different winters in the south check it out here This morning it was only 36 Degrees F.  A lot of people have covered up their outside plants to keep them safe.


    The roses are blooming.  This one was at my father in law’s house.

A full weekend.  I did the Saturday morning grocery run yesterday.  Things are still somewhat tense at the grocery store.  It’s like if you get near anyone you jump back like they’re on fire or something.  Still very uncomfortable.

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  In honor of Mother’s Day,  I decided to wear my Dog Mom cap to the grocery store yesterday. Please excuse the no make up look.  

My little mother in law lives in an Assisted Living Center in Sweetwater. Because of the quarantine we haven’t been able to visit her in over two months.  She has been dealing really well with it.  We call her every day. For Mother’s Day I have been taking photos all around the house of us and the babies and the flowers and things.  Walgreens had a special on 4×6 photos, .10 per copy if you printed over 100.  I did, no problem. I got a photo album for her and put all the photos in it.  I also took her some of her other favorite things and some flowers.   We took all of the things over to the Center yesterday so that she could have them today.  She called me and told me how much she liked the photo album.  She said “Do I get to keep it here with me”?  I laughed, of course you do, I said. It is so funny how happy you can make someone with a small gesture since she can’t see us she can at least look at the pictures.   We also took flowers to the cemetery for my mother’s grave and Mark’s grandmother’s grave.

So today was Mother’s Day and usually it is a hard time for me.  I did a post a couple of years ago called I survived Mother’s Day.   You can read it here.   I don’t have human children and Mother’s Day has always been sort of a hard time for me.  But you know what?  This year it wasn’t at all.  I am trying to figure out exactly what is different.  Of course dealing with COVID-19 this year has put a lot of things in perspective for everyone.   I also think that as I get older and more comfortable in my skin I am happy with me just the way I am.  Instead of thinking about surviving I rejoiced in the day.  I am happy with the way my life is.  I had a wonderful day.  I cooked a rack of baby back ribs in the crock pot, they were amazing!!! I will share the recipe for the rub I used soon. I worked on some cross stitch and some knitting. I read.  I spent time outside, I spent time with my precious sweet family and it was just awesome!!!


   This is the heart cross stitch I have been working on for quite a while.  I had hoped to have it done by Valentine’s Day.  But it will probably be next Valentine’s Day, maybe, HA!! 

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Me, my sister Carolyn, My Mom, my sister Sandy, My sister Pat.  This picture was taken a few years before my sister Carolyn and my mom passed away.  We were on one of our famous “Sister Trips”. These women have played such a role in my life.  I can’t begin to tell you how they have guided me and made me the person I am today.  They were and are amazing mothers!!  They mean everything to me.

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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It’s Blackberry Winter

Happy Wednesday friends.  It is cool here.  Only about 50 degrees F right now and it is 7:00 PM.  It is supposed to be 36 Degrees F in the morning at sunrise.  Do you know what this means?  It can only be Blackberry winter here in the south.  You have probably heard me mention Redbud Winter and Dogwood Winter but those are not the only winters we have in the spring in the south. There are actually five little winters in Tennessee and they all take place in the spring.  Let me explain.

After the weather starts to turn warm in early March, and some of our days can get really warm, we always have a few cold snaps.  They almost always fall at the same time give or take a day or two.  Farmers have used their belief in the “winters” to know when to plant crops.  These little bits of cold weather are sometimes a shock to your system. Just when you think you have packed away all of those sweatshirts and sweaters  and things, you wake up and it is 36 Degrees!!!!  Frosts and freezes can occur which can damage or kill tender vegetation that’s already started blooming. So here are the five winters in the order in which they arrive.

Redbud Winter:  This usually happens around late March or Early April when the Redbuds bloom. This one isn’t such a shock to the system because winter is still in the rearview mirror and we know it is awhile before true warm weather arrives.
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     Redbud blooms.  They are only red when they first bud out then they turn purple.

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                                           Now the Redbuds look purple.

Dogwood Winter:  This happens around mid to late April when the Dogwood trees are blooming.  And well, it is just such a beautiful time that I think we barely realize that it has gotten a little colder.  The Dogwood trees are flowering and the air is soft and it is just a nice sweet time.

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 Dogwood, my mama’s favorite.

Locust Winter:  This happens in Early May when the Locust trees are blooming.  I have to say this is one winter I haven’t ever really noticed that much.  I remember thinking in Early May about a week ago that it got really cool for a couple of days and I was thinking is it Blackberry Winter?  But I knew the blackberries hadn’t started to bloom.  So I guess it was Locust Winter.  I will pay more attention next year.

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   Blooms from a Locust tree

Blackberry Winter:  This is what we are experiencing right now!!!  It usually happens early to mid May. I know that almost every Mother’s Day Sunday it is cool and everyone attributes it to Blackberry Winter.  Sure enough the blackberries are flowering in full force.  But flowering is the key word. We won’t actually have blackberries until mid summer.  They are only starting to bloom now.


    Flowering Blackberries, they will not produce fruit until mid summer.

Britches Winter/ Whippoorwill Winter:  This one is the last winter that we have in the south.  It usually happens in late May.  The way I know we are getting close to Whippoorwill Winter is the Whippoorwill start calling like crazy.  This is usually at dusk, just after dark or early in the morning just before daylight.   I love to hear the sound.  There is a lot of folklore that surrounds a Whippoorwill call such as, does it foretell death, marriage or woe? Can your aching back be cured by its call?  All I know is I love to hear the sound.    The reason it is also called Britches Winter or Woolen/Britches winter is that it happens just when you think you have put your long underwear up for the winter and all of a sudden it is cold for a few days and you need it again.  As I said I have always called it Whippoorwill Winter.  And I love to hear the song.


Click this picture to listen to the song of the Whippoorwill!!!

So there you have it.  The five “winters” in Tennessee.  I hope you have enjoyed learning a little about them.

I added a category to my blog posts called Southern Secrets.  I hope you enjoy those posts.

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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Work And Life-How Do You Balance?

Well it is Sunday and May!!!  how can we be that far into the year already?

I am back at work full time.  Last week was my first week back every day all day and let me tell you it sort of kicked by butt!! We are still not open to the public but we have a lot to do to get ready for opening.  Looking at the bright side, and I do try to do that every chance I get, it is a luxury to be able to work on our gift shops and paint and clean without our guests in the middle of everything.  It does make it easier to get things done in a more orderly fashion.

For three weeks I worked mostly from home and only went in to work a couple of times a week for a few hours.  I loved not having to get out of the house at a certain time every day, not having to worry about what I would wear to work, when I would do laundry, etc.  I am very fortunate that my job allowed me to do that.  There are so many people without a job and having to rely on unemployment benefits to get them through this tough time.

Last Monday I put on real work clothes, packed my lunch, loaded my bag with my laptop,  grabbed my favorite to go coffee mug full of coffee and headed out.  Scruffy looked at me like  I was leaving him forever. And let me say right now if he was ever attached to me before it’s even worse now.  He will not let me out of his sight once I get home.  I’m thinking of getting one of those Moby baby carriers and strapping him onto me.  It would make things easier and keep me from tripping over him every step I take.

It felt really good being out and getting to see a few of my co-workers.  I am a people person and I like being out and about and around people. But I have to admit those weeks of quiet and solitude were actually really nice too.  I didn’t like the reason we had to stay in but I did enjoy the down time.

During my three week “sabbatical” I noticed that my stress level had gone down so much.  I was nicer, laughed more, had more energy.  I was talking to my niece on the phone and we were laughing and talking about a million different things and she said “Wow quarantine really agrees with you”. I guess there is a lot to be said and read into that statement.

I promised myself right then that I would not let stress get to me to the point that it made me not me.  There has to be a work life balance and I have never been good at getting to that point.  I think three weeks of taking it easy made me realize just how much I need that balance.

Over the weekend I took it easy and watched some things on TV I had been waiting to see.  One was, My Darling Vivian, a documentary about Vivian Liberto, the first wife of Johnny Cash.  It is on Amazon Prime and I highly recommend it.  It is quite a story told by their four daughters,  She also wrote a book called I Walked The Line, My Life With Johnny Cash.  As soon as I finished the show I ordered the book.  I can’t wait to read it.  Scruffy and I took a lot of walks, and I did a little cooking and reading and knitting and just enjoyed my time at home.  For me I think this is the best way to recharge and regenerate for my work week.  Work is a huge part of my life but I must not make it all of my life.  See? there’s that balance thing again.

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    The weather today was just perfect

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   The Rhododendron are blooming!!!!

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 Scruffy in full running mode!!

       Kitty Kitty loves to lay in the patches of sun coming in.  She also loves my spinning wheel.  She thinks it’s a big toy.

 Molly always goes on our walks with us.  She sometimes gets tired and goes back to the house before we do. She’s an old lady so that is fine. 

So I have decided that when the world gets in the way.  I will find my quiet spot and my loved ones and enjoy my own little world.  How about you? What do you do to balance your work and your life?

Always remember,

Love your day your way!!!

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