Minny's Caramel Cake

If you have read the very popular book The Help by Katheryn Stockett you are familiar with Minny's famous Caramel Cake.  Minny would make it for her friends that needed a little TLC or just to be neighborly.  Our book club recently reviewed this wonderful book and then for dessert we had this Caramel Cake that I am just sure is just like Mini's:).   How can it not be the most delicious thing you have eaten when it consists of 4 candy bars?!  I hope you will enjoy it too.
 Minny's Caramel Cake
"Layer cake make with candy bars, frosted and drizzled with melted caramel. M-m-mmmm!"


  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 egg whites
  • 4 (2.15 ounce) milk chocolate covered caramel and nougat bars


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans.
  2. Sift cake flour and combine with baking powder, and salt. Set mixture aside.
  3. With and electric mixer, beat shortening, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to the shortening mixture.
  4. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into flour mixture then fold in chopped candy bars. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes then remove from pans. Drizzle with melted caramel if desired.
I am linking up to Foodie Friday for this post.  Please check out other delicious recipes and ideas at Designs by Gollum here.


Summer Look--White slipcovers

I realize in this creative blogging world of make-everything-yourself-for-only-pennies that one is somehow substandard if a thought of purchasing, not making it yourself, enters one's mind.  And I do know the satisfaction that only comes with completing a project I have made myself, after all, I have touted the merits of whole wheat bread made from fresh ground hard red wheat, and used to spend all of August making new wardrobes for each of my children before they entered school etc, etc.  I am the one who can save a dime because I will tell myself how "I can make that" at a boutique when I see something cute.  Now, whether or not I actually end up making a copy of that same thing is another question.  But, let it be said, I have spent many years creating everything you can image.
So, I know I have the skills to master slipcovering my two red sofas.  And now that all the world knows that I am capable of doing just that, I want to show you my new white slipcovers for those sofas that I willingly paid someone else to make for me!
I just love them!  I thought about starting to make one sofa.  And when I did, these feelings of frustration began to surface!  They did not go away, and only got worse.  I just knew it would be a project I would loath!  And the thought of having to make two of them almost put me over the edge.  I have wanted these couches covered for 7 years and one day recently I came across this blog: http://customslipcoversbyshelley.blogspot.com/ with her name and phone number.  The phone number had my area code! Was this a sign?  I thought so.  Then I called Shelley and my house was close enough to hers for her to take my job.  Horray!!  It was my lucky day.  She told me how much fabric I needed ,and where to get it, and her price.   I couldn't believe it, I found the fabric for $3.99/yd. I decided to let her make my two sofas, plus a chair and an ottoman too. I put 50 yards of this wonderful white denim in my washer to preshrink it (8 yards at a time).
A week after I found her blog Shelley was at my house cutting and pinning it to my furniture.  I watched and was amazed with the skill and speed she had.
  I also thought how different my approach would have been to the project and the frustration that would have involved.  In two hours she left and two weeks later brought back my beautifully tailor made white slipcovers.
Nothing has made me so happy for a long time.  I guess I have put too much emphasis on "material" things, but everytime I walk into or past my family room I feel like summer has come to my home and I smile.
 Of course I did not realize that I would have to change my rug, pillows and accessories to match my new look.  But, it was worth it in every sense.  They are just wonderful.  Now, I have time to craft something less complicated.  Right now I am breathing in the aroma of fresh baked bread!   Thanks Shelley!!
I am linking to Susan's Between Naps on the Porch for her Metamorphosis Monday makeovers. Check out what other bloggers have been doing too.


I am featured today on Tip Junkie!

I am so excited!  I am featured on Tip Junkie today for an invitation idea I posted for Memorial Day and 4th of July celebration ideas that I posted about last year.  You may remember if you are a regular reader.  Check it out. I posted several days and had lots of ideas. Here is the link to my posts Celebrating Red, White and blue  I am glad I did all those great red, white and blue party favors, decorations, invitation and food last year because I will be celebrating in Italy this year!  Check out Tip Junkie's blog Tip Junkie's blog for lots of fabulous ideas for more celebrating and a big hug to her for including me in her picks for today!! 


Me and ME in St. Louis-4

At the Mary Englebreit Workshop held in St. Louis were the most amazing displays of creative and artistic supplies including vintage items and ephemera.  I took a few pictures of the classroom tables awaiting the participants selections for use in making their class items.  How could anyone go wrong with this assortment of wonderful supplies?

It was a crafter's dream to be able to use at free will any and all of the magnificent supplies brought by each teacher.  Many of them were vintage finds!  I was awed away by the selection. They were truly eye candy to us. Here are some of the bounteous tables awaiting our classes.

It was so exciting seeing each person make something complete her own using many of the same items.  Added to the things that each person brought with them there was an abundant supply for everyone.

The last day Mary provided an interesting panel discussion with some very prominent women in the creative field.
 Amy Butler--known for her colorful fabric patterns and designs,
Dena Fishbein (Dena Designs) whose tiny flowery prints we find on cards, fabrics and other small items,
Marcia Ceppos who told us how her grandfather began Tinsel Trading by buying the military trims from the army uniforms and then storing them in his basement.
And of course Mary who began drawing at an early age and without any formal art education has made her name famous for her many drawings of children and sayings she puts with them. Each woman told of her humble beginning into the world of creativity and offered advice for each of us.
Besides the classes, much information was given to us at seminars entitled "Artistic Licensing" and"DIY Craft Fairs"

In all, it was an experience that I will likely never forget. 
I made friends, shared working together, made sweet memories and even had time for sweet treats. Thanks Mary for giving all of us this wonderful sweet time together!


Me and ME in St. Louis-3

More classes at the Mary Englebreit Workshop in St. Louis
Another favorite class was the Award Ribbon class.  Using an amazing assortment of vintage papers, ribbons, and other supplies  many beautiful and unusual award ribbons were created.  Here are just a few of them
 This one uses book pages for the base with vintage trim and flowers.
 This one has old bank notes attached to it and uses music paper.
 How about using comics in the creation!
 Or an old map, mini Chinese umbrellas or cupcake liners?

 one's imagination was in full gear here with telephone pages pleated for this one. (Sorry about the blur)
Another class produced these cute, working paper birdhouse clocks.
And this cute one.
 And you cannot produce a birdhouse without some
 Funky birds to go in it!
Another class offered was Traveling Folding Trays.  I did not take this one but the results were really works of art-- each one as unique as the individual who made it.  They had a great time embellishing them with their own or those items that were provided for them.
All the classes were amazing by themselves but to see the wonderful selection of vintage items provided to class members just amazed me.   I will post pictures of some of those for you to see on Monday.


Me with ME in St. Louis-2

Classes at the Mary Englebreit Workshop
Bright and early Friday morning we found our first class and began our exciting learning experience both from the gifted instructors and from each other.  There was an amazing amount of talent in each classroom. It was almost too much to take in.  I was able to take two classes from the talented Michael Mead (Pottery Barn Stylist/Photographer) who taught us how to use modern technology (cameras and computers) to produce our own original art!  He showed us some that he had produced into large framed art pieces to hang on a wall and also a great headboard that will be in his Christmas Magazine.
He is a great antique/auction/flea market hunter and his current magazine shows lots of ways to use them.  I wanted to take all of his wonderful finds home with me and asked him if I could buy any of them.  He just laughed!  Everyone has to hunt for themselves!!
From his amazing array of flea market finds and antique pieces and fresh flowers we could choose any three things to group for our photo shoots.
He photographed them on backgrounds of old book print or old hand written letters.  Then using different washes and effects in Photo Shop, Michael made the items come to life as beautiful pictures which we then made into shadow boxes and gift tags.
 These are some of the gift tags that I made.  The woman next to me was a Calligrapher so she wrote out some sayings for me while I cut some gift tags for her.
In our chandelier class Wendy Addison, our teacher, told us how she tracked down the little tiny town in East Germany to find this amazing sparkly glitter.  It is the only place where it is still made like it has been for many decades--and that it is comprised of real glass and silver!  That is why it tarnishes and eventually becomes almost black.   Wendy is known for her many glitter items and whom I feel is the real Glitter Queen. It took a lot of patience to cut out this shape for our chandelier.

In my Millinery Flowers class taught by Kaari  Meng of French General we used French inspired fabric as she invited us to join her for her Flea Market and Fabric tour she leads in France this next year.
 The flower on the left and the one in the center are the Millinary flowers.  The one on the left is an Award Ribbon that I will show more of tomorrow.
We met wonderful women with like minds to using their creative energy each in her own way.
 We came from all walks of life and from many cities to learn, share, create and make memories.
My new friends here are from NY, New Jersey, Georgia and CA.  We bonded together from the day one and spent memorable time eating, touring, and laughing with them as we shared classes and our histories together.


Me and ME in St. Louis-1

I  finally have time to share a wonderful and artistic workshop I enjoyed courtesy of Mary Englebreit in St. Louis, MO at the first Mary Englebriet's Home Companion Workshop.  130 other creative women joined with me at the lovely Chase Park Plaza in the West End district of the city--
so charming with lovely brick historic homes, antique shops and interesting restaurants.  We signed in on Thursday evening, each with our handmade name tag and mingled with Mary and all the others.
There were prizes for best name tags (Mine, did not win, although I thought it was very sweet with my 3rd grade school picture on it!).
(It is covered with antique gold mesh so this picture does not look as clear as it really is)
We began with a tour of Mary's studio and were greeted by this adorable Mary look-alike.
Her studio was amazing with it's colorful and cheerful art, furniture and tools
There is so much inspiration just in her studio.  Everywhere you look it is an explosion of color and creativity.  No wonder she produces so much in this place.  I loved the whole experience.  Tomorrow I will show some of the amazing classes that were available.