The Amish Cook’s apprentice


Okay, this week, you’ll be joining Julia as she tackles one of her favorite hobbies: baking. A while ago we received a recipe from a dear friend and reader from Lebanon, Ohio, Auntie Norma, as we call her. She had sent a banana cake recipe and suggested that Julia would try making it. Since I’ve been homeschooling Julia, her times in the kitchen have been a bit sparse; nonetheless, a few weeks ago when several bananas were getting to be overripe, I suggested that she makes a cake using them. For some reason, I’ve always thought of banana cakes as a bit dry and boring, yet Norma had written how very much she likes the recipe, so I wanted to give it at least a try.

As you can imagine, there are always plenty of little hands on all sides to volunteer with measuring, dumping, and even licking when mama has her back turned. I watched the boys while Rayni helped bake. Julia managed well, and soon everything was stirred together and spread into a pan. By lunchtime, the cake was still steaming hot and perfectly moist. Following Auntie Norma’s advice, we spread caramel icing over it, which happens to be our favorite frosting, and in our opinion, really topped it off. Then, of course, with our ample supply of fresh milk, we enjoyed it with raw Jersey milk. Mmm… from the oldest to the youngest, we savored every bite.

Today daddy told Julia that he’d be hungry for a fresh chocolate cake. “It can even be that healthy kind,” he said. So after I’m done chatting with you all, that will be next on the list; I’ll get her started, then I’ll fill you in on how it went.

We have been amazed by this sugar-free cake. I used to think of all sugar-free baked goods as bland and tasteless, but here too, I have changed my mind. Most folks would never guess that there’s no flour or sugar in these yummy cake rolls! This recipe also allows us to use up some of our fresh eggs. Keep your eyes open for this recipe in a future column.

Oh, that reminds me, I have to tell you about the egg discovery Elijah made yesterday. For the past weeks, we’ve been letting our chickens run all over, which they thought to be the grandest thing as the pecked all over the yard and outskirts of the woods. Since then, we’ve noticed a decline in the number of eggs we’re getting and wondered if they perhaps found another spot to lay them. Now just yesterday I was going down the ravine in our woods behind our house, with the three youngest children in tow, trying to convince the two older ones that they really are big enough to walk on their own. As we made our way down the bank Elijah, who was in my arms, exclaimed, “Dot! Dot!” (“There, there,” in English). Believe it or not, he discovered a secret hiding place right next to a maple tree with half a dozen eggs! Amazing what little eyes can spy that we adults would never notice.

Okay, so Julia did a fantastic job on her chocolate cake and the next cake daddy requested is another banana cake with caramel icing. So here you go!

Julia’s banana cake


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed banana (about 3)

1 teaspoon soda

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together butter and sugar, beat in eggs, add mashed bananas. Julia used a fork to mash them which worked well.

Add remaining ingredients, mix well and pour into a greased 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and ice with caramel or cream cheese icing.

Caramel icing

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

Powdered sugar

Place butter and sugar in a small sauce pan, heat over low heat until butter is melted. Add milk and salt, bring to a boil. Boil a few minutes then remove from heat, cool slightly before adding powdered sugar to desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake. Enjoy!

By Gloria Yoder

Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427

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