Seasonal Celebrations

Festive Cake Baking
for
Seasonal Celebrations

By
Lisa Anne Lindberg


Fall 1993

I welcome you into my warm, aroma-filled, tradition-carrying kitchen, now all cleaned up from its glory of mixing bowls and stirring and measuring utensils.. . . The first batch of May Day cakes is cooling on the counter, and the second batch is in the oven. Our hounds are sniffing the air appreciatively, wondering when it's going to be their turn to partake -- and hopefully of more than just crumbs.....

Come into my kitchen and I will tell you about my specialty baking of seasonal celebration cakes ....... one of the aspects of what we today do in our celebrations that connects us with all the mothers in all the towns and villages and farms in all the countries down through all the ages preparing festive foods for their families and communities....... and thinking of in my own time, also, of all the other years I have stirred up Celebration Cakes, remembering over the years the children who have helped me in this timeless ritual of stirring, baking, assembling .... and finally, frosting and decorating with flowers ........

2002 2002  mayday  1995

Sometimes these baking times of mine have come in the midst of hub-bub of busy life. Other times, these bakings fall in the midst of long stretches of time of no-news listening or watching, when I have followed a mysterious inner imperative to listen instead to the birds in our mountain woods, the breezes rustling in the trees and entering fragrantly into our house. .... Whichever way is the general flavor of my life at the time, I listen to these promptings from my subconscious, and am never disappointed at the outcomes.


...... But I find my times of baking Festive cakes to be always a time-outside-of-time......

I always stir up the batter in a pair of large stoneware bowls that I have had since I was 18 in 1970 -- having gotten it for pennies at the local grocery store. I stir by hand because I don't like any motor noises to come between myself and my listening to the echoes of timelessness.....

However, I do not altogether shun modern electrical conveniences ..... When baking these Seasonal Celebration Cakes, I always listen to special music, sometimes to 3 or 4 complete Loreena McKennit albums, or Mary Black singing about Ireland and Dougie McLean singing about Scotland. ...... Stirring and stirring the batter ..... listening ..... listening to these albums of music .... I become connected to something so much deeper than what is going on in the news at the time..... I play these albums over and over until once again I become mesmerized, brought to other times, other places, once again stirring the love of far-away lands and far-away times into the cakes, round and round, over and over, round and round. .....

I am giving you my recipies that I use in our Seasonal Celebrations. But remember, these recipies are just a starting point. They are never meant to be inviolable, set-in-stone directives. I don't like to be hemmed in too much by tradition -- even traditions of my own making, and I recommend the same to everyone -- about making Seasonal Celebration Cakes. And also about everything. Just as sometimes at our Seasonal Celebrations, I wear long goddess-priestess-type gowns, and other times I wear leggings and a long shirt to instead be like a Robin Hood-like sprite.

..... After all, even us grrrls in our 50's can still act like young sprites when we are in the mood....

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Recipe for BASIC PLAIN CAKE
developed by Lisa Lindberg, 1992

Oven: 350 degrees
30- 45 minutes

Cream Together Wet Ingredients:

 

Single (1x)

Double (2x)

Triple (3x)

Quadruple (4x)


Butter


2/3 cup


1- 1/3 cups


2 cups


2- 2/3 cups

Sugar

1- ½ cup

3 cups

4.5 cups

6 cups

Vanilla

1 tsp

2 tsp

3 tsp

4 tsp



Mix in (as an interactor with the leavening agents) (If using dry buttermilk, mix in with dry ingredients):

Buttermilk

2/3 cup

1- 1/3 cups

2cups

2- 2/3 cups

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In a separate bowl: Mix together Dry Ingredients:

 

Single (1x)

Double (2x)

Triple (3x)

Quadruple (4x)

Flour


2½ cups


5 cups


7.5 cups


10 cups

Baking powder

2 tsp

4 tsp

6 tsp

8 tsp

Baking soda

1 tsp

2 tsp

3 tsp

4 tsp

Salt

½ tsp

1 tsp

1-1/2 tsp

2 tsp




Mix together cream, wet ingredients with dry ingredients.

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In addition, mix in for moistening:

Enough of any of the following (or combinations of) moisteners:
( 1-2 cups for the single-recipe) of water, juice, milk, etc. to make a batter that is smooth and flowing, and won't bake up into lead bricks.

Also possibly: any other specialty flavorings or moisteners: fruits such as apple, pear, cherries, cooked pumpkin, etc.

When adding moistening ingredient, just be certain to do this:
KEEP AS A CONSTANT THE BASIC RATIOS OF BUTTER : SUGAR : FLOUR .

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FROSTING POSSIBILITIES

Cream cheese & honey (plus optional fruit) - - mixed up in a blender or whipped cream.
See following section about specialties for each season.

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NOTES ON INGREDIENTS AND COOKING METHODS

* * * If you need any advice on anything about baking these cakes, please, do write me and ask. * * *
I promise I will answer.

Lisa Lindberg <lisa@lisalindberg.com>

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Specialty Cakes for Each Seasonal Celebration

In developing specialty cake to make for each holiday, I look what fruits will be ripe at each time of year, and also consider variations in color and taste.



Winter Solstice, December 19-23: Longest night, shortest day
Such a beautiful, spiritual, and crystallinly, inner-light-filled holiday.
Fruit and Nut Cake -- using the stored fruits and nuts from the Fall harvest. Chopped dried fruits and nuts, soaked in fresh juice overnight, mixed the next day with the batter. Sprinkled with powdered sugar as snow.

Candlemas, Feb 2: Half-way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox
Winter with its dark is noticeably losing its grip. February (derived from the root word for "fever") with its hot fever of Valentine's day. The Earth and love are beginning to heat up.
Cranberry Cake: Basic plain cake plus cranberries in batter, with frosting of cranberries blended up with creamcheese & honey. Red for the hot fever.

Spring Equinox, March 19-23: Earth in the balance, day equals night
Peach Cake: Basic plain cake plus peaches in batter, with frosting of blended-up creamcheese, honey, & peaches. Yellow for the new little yellow daffodils soon to emerge.

May Day / Beltane, May 1: Half-way between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice
The sexiest of all possible holidays, with the Earth Maiden of Spring coming into her Womanhood.
Cherry Cake: Basic plain cake plus cherries in batter, with frosting of blended-up creamcheese, honey, & cherries. It took people a while to get it (or to tell me they got it).

Summer Solstice, June 19-23: Longest day, shortest night
Mother Summer at the overwhelming height of her ripening buds of fruits and vegetables and fields of hay.
Strawberry Tall Cake: Basic plain cake with frosting of whipped cream with halved strawberries.

Lughnasadh / Lammas Day, August 1: Half-way between Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox
Sweet corn harvest time: Summer leans back and watches her abundance roll out.
Basic plain cake with frosting of whipped cream with ripe berries: black berries, wine berries (wild raspberries), blueberries....

Fall Equinox, September 19-23: Earth in the balance, day equals night -- once again
Fall harvest torte of nut flours and Fall spices, with frosting of blended creamcheese, honey, and spiced stewed apples and pears, with fruit pieces arranged on top of frosting, chopped nuts sprinkled over the top.

Samhain / Halloween, October 31: Half-way between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice
Fall corn harvest. The grip of Winter is beginning to set in.
Pumpkin Cake: Basic plain cake plus cooked pumpkin & Fall spices, with frosting of blended creamcheese and honey.

Once again coming around to.... 

Winter Solstice, December 19-23: Longest night, shortest day
Such a beautiful, spiritual, and crystallinly, inner-light-filled holiday.
Fruit and Nut Cake -- using the stored fruits and nuts from the Fall harvest.......

...... And the Cycle of our Earth's Year spirals ever onward in her dance with our Sun ..... in our great big home, the Milky Way Galaxy.......

.......

Seasonal Celebrations