Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

My first jelly roll

My first jelly roll!

Fox grape jelly roll

This is stuffed with fox grape jelly, a wedding gift from Vera Edmonds, a local woman whom I’ve never met. She knows Chris through his work with the local newspaper. Edmonds’ delicious grape jelly and others have served us for the past few years.

When making a jelly roll, I’d recommend making sure the batter is evenly distributed. You don’t want one part burning while the rest is still baking. I had to trim off one corner because the batter was too thin and it burned.

I’d also stick with aluminum foil or maybe even parchment paper. Though the recipe recommends foil or wax paper, I felt like I needed a smoke mask while the cake baked. Wax paper, apparently, smokes no matter the temperature.

And here are the rolls

Clover leaf rolls


These are a basic butter-dipped dinner roll in a clover leaf shape. I make this recipe all the time, but this is the first time I’ve made this shape. I thought I’d get all fancy for the holiday.

These were fun to make. You cut the dough into 18 pieces. Each piece is then cut and rolled into 3 rolls. You drop the rolls (made of 3 balls each) into greased muffin tins, coat them with butter and let them rise. Before placing them in the oven, coat them with some more butter.

Some of the rolls didn’t hold together so there are a few bite-sized rolls. I’ve already eaten a few, which means there aren’t exactly 18 rolls anymore. There should still be plenty for tomorrow.

Bye, Herman

I tossed out Herman. This is the loaf I made a few weeks ago.

Bad bread

It was very dense. It seemed the starter had become deactivated. I turned it into bread crumbs.

I tried to revive Herman by converting it from a liquid starter to a solid/dough starter. It worked. This is the loaf I got.

Good bread

The trouble is, this loaf requires more than 6 hours of rising time before it’s ready to bake. I don’t have that kind of time.

So, I made the decision to toss out Herman, and stick with much quicker recipes.

Grand cake

Nannie sent me an old bundt pan last month. I used it last night to make a chocolate pound cake.

Chocolate pound cake

The cake stuck to the pan though I let it bake an extra 15 minutes or so. I’m not sure if it’s the pan or the recipe.

The cake also absorbed a smell from the pan. Whenever I’d take the pan out of the oven to check the cake, I caught a whiff of my grandma’s house. It apparently rubbed off onto the cake.

“It’s like licking your grandmother’s clothes,” Chris said while eating a slice.

Bundt pan

The pan is now soaking. Hopefully we can get rid of the smell. It’s nice to have memories of my grandparents’ home, I’m just not sure I want to be reminded of it while eating cake.

1 Comment

This is Herman

I’d like you to meet Herman.


Herman is a sourdough starter. I got the recipe to make it from an old N.C. Extension Office cookbook from the ’80s. My mom used to make a lot of sourdough when I was growing up and I thought I’d try to make some. Turns out, her recipe and many others use instant potatoes or potato water for the starter. This one, for Herman, uses flour, water, sugar and yeast. Herman has been sitting out for 3 days at room temp. I kept it stirred everyday and, today, took out about 2 cups to make some sourdough bread. To the remaining starter I added more flour and water, stirred it and put it in the frig until I need to feed Herman again (in a few days with flour and water) or want to make more bread.

BTW, there’s a tradition of naming your sourdough starter, for some reason. A friend told me earlier today that she calls her starter “my pet” because, like a pet, she needs to keep it fed and watered. I’ve just started this process so my starter will keep the name Herman (the name of the recipe) until I come up with a different name. Kind of like when you adopt a dog that already had a name from a different family and you decide to give it a new name later.

The traditional way to make sourdough is to mix water and flour and leave it sitting out to “capture” yeast, which is naturally in the air. It could take several days, even a couple of weeks, to grow the starter before you can even use it. I’m worried about contaminating the starter with bad stuff (the starter will turn colors if the wrong things begin to grow) and wasting the tons of commercial yeast I have already, so I just used what I had on hand.

Here’s the bread I made today:


Rolls for steak and onion sandwiches and a small loaf for soup or lunches later in the week. I think the crust may be a little too hard, but maybe it’s supposed to be that way? One source I read said this is a like a white bread, but with a thicker crust. I hope it tastes good, at least.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My first attempt. Waiting for the moment of truth.

We’ve been back from a weeklong vacation for about a day and, of course, Chris didn’t fail to remind me that there’s no dessert in the house. I wanted to make something quick and easy, but I wasn’t sure what that should be. I’m not a big fan of cake, but Chris is so I thought I’d make him one.

I found a recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake in my “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook” (published 1989) and thought that might be a good way to use up some canned pineapple in the frig. Chris had never had Pineapple Upside Down Cake, but he was game to try it.

The recipe calls for buttermilk baking mix, but I don’t keep that on hand. So I subbed 1 1/2 cups cake flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda and 1 tsp. salt for the baking mix. I wasn’t sure about the proportions or the substitution, but I thought I’d give it a try. To give the cake a buttermilk flavor, I added a squirt or two of lemon juice to 1/2 cups of milk.

As you can see in the picture above, the bottom of the cake didn’t turn out too bad. I baked it for 30 minutes instead of 35.

Here’s the cake flipped right side up:

Chris’ description: That’s the sorriest excuse for a cake ever.

I’m proud of it, but Chris didn’t know what to think. His description, “That’s the sorriest excuse for a cake ever. I hope it tastes better than it looks.” He wanted to know if it was supposed to look that way. And, in case you don’t know, it is. 🙂

He was also hoping it was a cake that requires icing. He likes eating icing and graham crackers. Many times I only making icing for him to eat as dessert. 🙂

Anyway. Though the cake was falling apart, it was tasty!