Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Welcome to Sugar Pies...

My name is Buck and I'll be your host here at Sugar Pies. I have always loved sweets. Its a love I come by naturally as my mother was a great baker as well as traditional Southern cook.

Each year as Christmas rolled around my Mama would start baking just after Thanksgiving. She would begin with her fruit cakes. These are not the dry bricks you buy in the grocery store. These were magnificent creations with more fruit than cake. The cake itself was a dense and moist spicy texture that was drowned and soaked in wine for days before being presented in colored cellophane to a treasured friend or relation.

After the fruitcakes came the cookies, bars, and other desserts. For doctors, nurses, service providers and casual acquaintances Mama would prepare huge platters of cookies and desserts. From traditional thumbprint cookies to gingerbread and on into spice cookies and bars she would keep the oven busy for weeks making dozens upon dozens of cookies.

Closer to Christmas she would begin baking the cakes that would be served at family events. Her traditional pound cake recipe was well over 100 years old and is still one of the best cakes I have ever eaten. If you had a special taste you loved she'd tweak that recipe to provide you with a real taste treat: Maple, Lemon, Orange, or whatever you liked. Each cake was topped with a home made glaze or icing... never any Betty Crocker canned stuff in her kitchen!

Finally, she would begin the piece de resistance of the season, her "Rotten Cake"! This coconut cake got its name from my brother because it needed to stand in the refrigerator for days before serving in order to be at peak flavor. He declared that you had to "let the thing rot before you get to eat it!" Thus the "Rotten Cake" was born.

Even without a big holiday Mama was always baking. She made birthday cakes for everyone in the family. She wasn't a decorator but no one cared about that. In the South we'd rather have a cake that would make you slap your grandma than one decorated like a fairy castle that tastes like cardboard! Later in life when I met people whose birthday cakes were made from mixes and served in pans I was floored. I had no idea that anyone actually used that cake mix in the grocery store - especially for something they'd serve in public! Mama's cakes always began with flour, eggs, milk and real butter. Ingredients were the key to the end result and she taught me never to skimp on what went into the batter.

So, from that childhood (which miraculously has not led to adult onset diabetes) I have come to love baking and sweets. I'd like to share that love with you through this blog.

Here you'll find my favorite recipes from my childhood as passed down from Mama and you'll find my experiments in trying recipes and techniques she would never have dared because they were "too fancy." You'll also find the occasional foray into non-sweets and traditional Southern dishes as well.

So, welcome to the blog y'all and check back regularly for new recipes and stories!


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