Welcome to the Cafe

Welcome to the Cafe portion of my blog! I’ll share my prize winning cake recipe and a book review.

Rum Cake Recipe – Second Place Winner

I entered a Rum Bundt Cake in the Cuyahoga County Fair this year and won second place! I’ve won second place many times before, but it’s always a thrill to win anything. This years first place winner was a pineapple upside down cake. The year I made pineapple upside down cake, I placed second to a Red Velvet Bundt Cake with a Cream Cheese Tunnel! Maybe I need to put the Rum Cake and the Pineapple Upsidedown cake together somehow?

Here’s the recipe for Rum Cake. It came from the King Arthur Flour website. I modified it by

  1. Adding nutmeg to the Almond Flour pan coating
  2. Substituting Eggnog Flavor for the Butter Rum Flavor (Because Eggnog was what I had at hand)
  3. I omitted the rum soak, and glazed the cake with a thin glaze made of powdered sugar, milk and Eggnog flavor

At the last minute, I stopped. bought an orchid plant, snipped off a bloom, and tucked it into the center of the bundt cake.


  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3.4-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup rum, plain or spiced
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter-rum flavor (optional but excellent)
  • 1/4 cup pecan or almond flour, for dusting baking pan


  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rum, light or dark, plain or spiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place all of the cake ingredients except the rum, vanilla, and butter-rum flavor in a bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the bowl after one minute. Add the rum, vanilla, and flavor to the batter and beat at low speed for another minute.
  3. Spritz a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle on the pecan or almond flour and turn the pan to coat evenly; shake out any excess. Set aside. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread level with a spatula.
  4. Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes. When done, the cake will test clean on a cake tester.
  5. Leave the cake in the pan to cool slightly while you make the soaking syrup.
  6. In a medium-sized saucepan combine the syrup ingredients, except vanilla. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer and cook (without stirring) for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  7. Use a long skewer to poke holes all over the cake. Pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup over the cake (still in the pan). Allow the syrup to soak in, then repeat again and again until all the syrup is used.
  8. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow the cake to sit overnight at room temperature to cool completely and soak in the syrup. When ready to serve, loosen the edges of the cake and invert onto your serving plate. If the cake won’t release, place it in the oven, turn the oven to 350°F, and warm for 5 to 10 minutes, to soften the syrup. Remove from the oven, and tip the cake onto the serving plate.
  9. Serve with hot coffee or tea. The cake is very moist, fragrant and potent.
  10. Wrap securely (or place under a cake cover) and store at room temperature for several days. Freeze for longer storage, up to 1 month.

And there it is!

Book Review  The Makers Atelier 

I bought this book for two reasons. First, I liked the name! Second, and more importantly, I was interested in the idea of creating a complete, versatile wardrobe from a handful of basic patterns.

This book sets out to offer a set of simple, easy to sew designs that can be casual or elegant, depending on the fabric, and form a complete wardrobe – and that’s exactly what this book and pattern collection does. If you like fitted designs and lots of details, chances are you won’t like the patterns in this collection. But, if you like a loose, boxy fit and elastic waistbands, chances are you’ll find some (maybe all) of these patterns appealing.

Each pattern includes step by step illustrations and instructions. The designs themselves are simple, with no darts or cuffs. Disclaimer: I have not actually tried following any of the instructions step by step yet, but, I’m not sure they’ve always used the best techniques. For example, the Drape Front Top is made of jersey knit, but finished with bias tape. I wouldn’t do that, I’d cut a self binding or facing.

Book Index/Chapter headings

Choosing and Using Fabrics
Measuring, Making a Toile, and Fitting a Garment
Pattern One – Stretch Skirt
Pattern Two – Drape Front Top
Pattern Three – Cigarette Pants
Pattern Four – Tie Neck Blouse
Pattern Five – The Book Bag
Pattern Six – Raw Edge Coat
Pattern Seven – Wrap Skirt
Pattern Eight – Oversize T
Resources and Acknowledgements

PaperBack or HardBound?

Heavy paper cover, almost like a hardbound but not quite. It has a flap that folds over the front and locks the book closed. When the book is opened, the right side is a tied paper envelope containing the pattern pieces. The contents of the book are on the left side. The last page of the index is printed on the inside of the front cover. I’ve never seen a book assembled like this one, it’s a little hard to describe.

Does this book have clear illustrations or photographs?

Yes, it has clear photos of each project, tech specs on the patterns (line drawings, sizing, etc) and assembly instructions. Disclaimer, I have not actually followed any of the instructions yet. They seem complete and correct, but not necessarily the technique I’d use.

Would you recommend this book as a MUST HAVE?

No, not a “must have” unless you love these styles or want this collection.

The Makers Atelier, The Essential Collection is primarily a collection of eight patterns that together form a complete wardrobe, including a bag.

The book section has an introduction to the idea behind this collection, that is, a set of patterns that create a wardrobe. The styles are simple but versatile, and examples of many variations are included in the photos. There’s a few pages on selecting fabrics and a sizing chart. No sewing instructions are included here, all that is in the pattern section.

Each pattern section begins with a little background on the style. I’ll use the Stretch Pencil Skirt as an example. It begins with a section called “Developing the”, in this example, Developing the Pencil Skirt. It talks about the history of the pencil skirt, a discussion of the stretch version included in this collection, how the author/designer likes her skirt to fit, and mentions the many different looks that are possible from this simple skirt (the author has 25 versions of this skirt). Next is a “How to Wear” section, with 4 photos each showing a different version and a brief description of the skirt and top shown in the photo. This is followed by the Technical Information, including Sizing, Fabric Requirements, Notions, Sewing Notes, Cutting Guide, and assembly instructions. Finishing up the pattern chapter is a Making More of section, which explains how to add seam details and four different hemming methods.

The styles themselves are simple and clean. The Stretch Pencil Skirt, for example, is just two pattern pieces and an elastic waist.

The Drape Front Top is a simple two piece, sleeveless, dartless T with a slight cowl neck, finished with bias binding. Variations include a gathered neck, a self lined version, and a woven bias variation.

The Cigarette Pants are pull on stretch pants with a slightly tapered leg, faced waist and side zip. Variations include top-stitched tucks and capri length pants with vents at the hem.

The Tie-Front blouse is a button front, dartless shirt with long, cuffless sleeves and a slim tie neckband. Variations include wider ties and contrasting ties.

The Book Bag is a nice tote that can be used as a tote bag or purse, and one variation includes instructions on how to make a compact fold up version for easy storage. The Book Bag is the pattern I’m most likely to use from this collection.

The Raw Edge Coat is a dartless, shirt-like jacket with long, two piece cuffless sleeves and optional pockets. When I saw the technical drawing I thought “Lab Coat”. Although no laboratory coat versions are suggested, the raw edge coat is shown in two lengths. One variation includes finished edges, another is made of leather and includes instructions for working with leather.

The Wrap Skirt is a straight skirt with an overlapping asymmetrical front panel, the top edge of the waistband on the overlap panel descends from the waist to the hip across the front, and the hem drops along with it. variations include a stripe emphasising the front panel and a lining.

The Oversized T-Shirt is exactly that: An oversized, dartless T with a large jewel neck. Variations include short, elbow length or long sleeves, two different lengths, and neckline embellishments


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