Friday, March 22, 2013

Cake, family culture, & a recipe to boot

A couple of years ago, our family Bible studies slipped from simple, elementary themes and on into deeper theological waters. In other words, they finally gained the traction that one gathers once general knowledge is down pat and real theology comes to the forefront. Another way of putting it would be to say that they got more fun.

And longer. There's always that.

Sitting around the kitchen table, with the hum of the dishwasher as our background music, we have debated elements of the early church, women in ministry roles, and predestination. We do not conduct Bible study as a "Now hear this, children!" affair. Rather, we invite (require?) that everyone bring their thoughts, convictions, and questions to the table. We walk through it together., and we talk until we run out of steam. Not the kind of ruminating one should do without a proper sweet within their reach, in my opinion.

Thus was the Blandings Bible Study Dessert tradition born. When we sit down to chew on the Word, it's with a cup of tea or coffee (your choice) and a little something extra to sustain you through what could be quite a ride.

It's not always a fancy offering. It could be a scoop of ice cream or slices of in-season fruit and a nice cheese. Even these are served with presentation in mind, because the whole point, in my mind's eye, is creating a family culture of gathering, savoring, reveling, and enjoying. This time, I decided, should not be an afterthought, no matter how rough the day has been. It should feel special. It should feel sacred ... because it is.

Perhaps because it is thought of as a privilege-- and something of a story time/tea party/Q&A session-- we don't have rolling eyeballs when Bible Study time rolls around. Quarrelsome littles who have lost the chance to stay up beg to be allowed to linger for our gathering time, rather than being put to bed. In other words, it seems to be working. Our family loves and looks forward to this time together.

And while I can't guarantee that your family will find the same joy in a Bible Study Dessert tradition, I can at leat get you started with a tried and true favorite recipe. This is a classic, adapted to my family's tastes from my Mamaw's recipe. It's requested about once a month here, and is so easy to make that I rarely turn down the asker.

MG's Bible Study Carrot Cake
makes one 9x13 cake

4 eggs
3/4 cup canola oil (or coconut oil, for a very moist cake)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup white sugar 
1 cup light brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained 
1 cup chopped pecans 

1/2 cup salted butter, softened 
8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
4 cups powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, both sugars and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots & pineapple. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan while making frosting.
  4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the still-warm (but not hot!) cake. Serve immediately. Store leftovers & fridge & serve cold. (My personal fave!)

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Oh me, oh my! Printed your recipe. Looks SO good!!!