Lemon Pistachio Cake With Special Topping

I have, over the past gazillion years, done a lot of baking. This one is a cheater though, so bear with me on this. (I don’t always cheat). It is one of the tastier cakes with the special topping and I know you will make it….over and over again.

  • 1 Betty Crocker lemon cake mix
  • 1 pkg. pistachio instant pudding
  • approximately 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup coffee cream (50/50)
  • 1/2 cup Crisco oil
  • 3 eggs

Beat this together in your electric mixer until completely smooth. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Pour this into a well oiled 8″x 11″ cake pan and place in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness with a cake tester. Then remove from oven and let completely cool down.


  • 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp, whipping cream
  • 1 lemon, grated for zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped toasted pistachios

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl until smooth, being careful not to over mix as this will curdle the icing, and ice the cake. Sprinkle the cake with the pistachios.

Serve right away or cover and place in the fridge. I put toothpicks in the 4 corners and covered with plastic wrap. It is such a darned tasty and moist cake to serve your family, company or for a celebration. We did this for Don’s Father’s Day dinner at Kelly’s.

Yup! Now say “damn I can do this”.


Marshmallow Icing

When I was growing up, I would walk past a bakery where, in the display window, they had chocolate cake iced with this marshmallow icing and then poured a chocolate ganache over that and let it set. It was so yummy. You have the cake now so why not take it to the next level?

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1/3 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla (if you have it on hand) or regular will do

Boil and sugar and water and slowly add the egg whites. While still warm, add the cream of tartar and vanilla. Beat this until completely cool in your food processor.

Ice your cake and, if you wish, add the ganache.

OMG! Everyone will want this one for their birthday…every year,


Olives For Company Fare

This is something to eat you either love or hate. This is quite tasty I am told. Our house has one of each of the above and I bet you can’t guess which one I am.

This is also done for a friend of ours who, along with my husband, went from table to table on a vacation we were on, stealing the olives from everyone.

  • 3 tbsp. really good quality olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 orange,  zested, in long strips with a swivel peeler
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz. mixed olives (Kalamata, Nicoise, etc) drained
  • 1 tsp. Fennel seeds

Put the oil, garlic, coriander seeds, herbs, orange zest and pepper flakes in a skillet on medium heat, swirling the pan until all has become very fragrant.

Add the olives and cook, until the garlic is golden and the zest has started to curl. About 2-3 minutes longer.

Serve these warm as part of the Charcuterie board.

Cold Shrimp Salad With Fragrant Rice

It is always nice to have another recipe for shrimp salad and this may be just the ticket.


  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1  1/4 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. basil (fresh and chopped)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups of  basmati rice
  • 1  1/2 lb. peeled, cleaned cooked shrimp
  • 3/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

In a small bowl, whisk the milk, vinegar and oil together to combine.  Add the chopped basil leaves and set aside.

In a bowl gently combine the rice, shrimp and milk mixture. Spoon into larger bowls (presentation here, do not fill), sprinkle with the cashews and finely chopped parsley.

If  you have fresh flowers, cut one off and place in the corner of the bowl. WOW! You did it and it looks very professional!