I made this teatime treat this past weekend and four different guests asked for the recipe. I’m happy to share it.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
350 agrees F.
line a 9×13 baking pan with cooking parchment
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at aa time. Mix all of the dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture in parts, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Turn about half of the batter into the baking pan.
This Spring in Cape May there are so many things going on that the festivals overlap and you’ll be dizzy with the choices. Three Cape May organizations are presenting festivals – all running concurrently. The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts puts on Spring Festival with dozens of tours and events. Among my favorites (and my guest’s’ favorites) is the
CHOCOLATE LOVER’S FEAST
It’s a bountiful feast for chocolate lovers! Enjoy seven plated courses of delicious chocolate desserts at the Blue Rose Inn, 653 Washington St., and hear how each was created from the chef who prepared it. This is a limited event so reserve early.
If food is your interest, check out Chef Poon’s presentation. He is a hoot and often stays with us at Leith Hall bed and breakfast.
Saturday, May 19
Slicing & Dicing:
Watermelons and More
with Master Chef Joseph Poon
Chef Poon will be presenting his fun, informative, high energy food demonstrations at the Carriage House Cafe & Tearoom, including information on healthy eating and carving and sculpture demonstrations. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Chef Poon has appeared on the Food Network along with local and national television shows including the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Ellen DeGeneres Show and PBS’ Christina Cooks.
For straight silliness, view the Edwardian naughtiness at Elaine’s
with The Salty Sirens as The Fleur de Fantaisie
Thursday, Friday & Saturday, May 17, 18 & 19: 8pm (cocktails at 6:30pm)
Elaine’s Cape May, 513 Lafayette St.
Enjoy a variety of entertainment when The Salty Sirens take on a French twist. Let yourself get swept away for a night of sensual delights and hysterical whimsy while we daydream of a Parisian enchanted forest at springtime. Flirt with nature in bloom… la nature en fleurs! You’ll have a fun-filled trip back in time to a period when entertainment was theatrical, sassy, and teased the imagination. Experience this modern take on classic burlesque, rooted in Victorian vaudeville. Food and beverages available for purchase.
Limited event; advance purchase recommended Purchase tickets online or at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth at Ocean Street
Don’t worry. Sherlock and Dr. Watson are here. It happens every year. The buds are swelling. The birds are chirping. Someone is mysteriously killed. Friday evening, March 18, everyone will gather and one of their number will be snuffed out. The characters are acting suspicious. Saturday, you get to tour through lots of Cape May bed and breakfasts (including Leith Hall, of course) searching for clues. Deduct (or guess) who’s the villain and see if you are right. Sunday morning there will be honors and prizes galore.
Leith Hall is participating in this year’s Sherlock Holmes Weekend, presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts. Go online at www.leithhall.com to make your reservations now. Then either email Janice Coyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to their website www.capemaymac.org to buy your package tickets. Let them know that you’re staying with us and your room will be paid for through the package.
October 17 and 18, the Cape May Film Festival will flash before your eyes at West Cape May Borough Hall and Banquet Hall at 723 Broadway, West Cape May.
Friday night will kick off with a reception featuring the Beatles cover band, “Love Me Dudes” and will continue with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” hosted by Beatle Historian Denny Somach. Saturday morning, you can scrutinize seldom seen Beatle films at “Breakfast with the Beatles.”
The program continues with The Best New Jersey Short Films, Films from the Black Maria Film Festival and Films from the Cape May Film Society Summer Camp. That evening a surprise Beatle movie will be shown with insight by Denny Somach. (I guess it’s not a big surprise anymore.)
The Sunday morning program includes light refreshments and films by local filmmakers. Sunday night Spooky Comic Silent Shorts with live organ music will be presented by East Lynne Theater Company at the First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes Street, Cape May. Tickets are available on our website. Visit www.capemayfilm.org or call (609) 326-FEST for more information, to volunteer, become a member or donate to the Cape May Film Festival.
The Cape May autumn migration – specifically the Hawk watch – runs from September 1 through Nov. 30th. October, however, is the peak period. In fact the 58th Annual N.J. Audubon Weekend/The Bird Show is October 28-30.
Audubon Migration Workshops
Experts are on hand at the Hawk Watch Observation Platform at Cape May Point State Park to help beginners identify the many species of raptors and birds which fly by on their way south. Their real job though, is to count the numbers of raptors. Cape May Point is a world famous migration capital. No place in North America offers more spectacles more consistently than Cape May, NJ and nowhere else will so many birds and so much birding talent be assembled in one place – at one time.
As an example, on Saturday October 4 alone, there’s a session on Fall Migrants at Rea’s Farm, a Photo walk, and fifteen other activities!! Go to their website to see the incredible variety of classes, workshops, and walks. You can ask for a packaged Early Birder Breakfast at Leith Hall to take with you, or you can return for our later breakfast seating.
We recently had two sisters as guests, Phoebe and Joann, who were a delight to talk to. Phoebe told me about a cake that she makes that is incredibly simple to make, very rich, and pleases all of her guests. She was right. She knows her stuff. It’s called Mexican Wedding Cake, though I suspect that it has nothing to do with Mexican weddings. It is made with an entire large can of crushed pineapple, and it looks like the batter will produce a light-colored cake. But it doesn’t. It produces a very dark, caramelized cake that is delicious when served with cream cheese icing.
Our recent guests, Erik and Lisa, had some and Lisa asked for the recipe – so here it is. Thank you Phoebe and enjoy it Lisa.
Mexican Wedding Cake
2 c. all [purpose flour 2 c. sugar 2 eggs 2Tbs. Baking soda 1 tsp. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste) 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple DO NOT DRAIN 1 cup. Roughly chopped pecans 9′ x13” metal baking pan, lined with parchment 350 F. 35 minutes
Cream Cheese frosting 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter 8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese 1 Tbs. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste) 3 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar
To make cake, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Turn into the baking dish and bake.
To make icing – Beat all of the ingredients in an electric mixer in order, starting with the butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Spread onto completely cooled cake.
And, it’s at Naval Airstation Wildwood’s Aviation Museum. This August 27th through 29th will be Airfest. The B 24 Liberator, the B 17 Flying Fortress and the B 51 Mustang bombers will be there. There will be food, fun, exhibitors, and a day-full of activities. Check out the website of the Aviation Museum to get the details.
Naval Airstation Wildwood’s Aviation Museum is one of the great places to visit in the Cape May area. This enormous wooden hangar is the size of a cathedral, and contains a great collection of planes that you can see, explore, and even sometimes sit in. The hangar is left over from WWII, and some of the planes are that old too. The museum explains Cape May’s role in WWII – so there’s an educational purpose, but the fun is to get close to lots and lots of planes.
Last weekend, our wonderful returning guests, Jeromy and Vonessa, stayed at Leith Hall. Jeromy is a photographer and he posted a photo he took in our Iris Room on our facebook page. It shows them as ghosts, haunting Leith Hall – the ultimate in repeat guests. Check out our facebook page. Send us your photos, even the scary ones.
Did you know that Cape May also has lots of ghost related events all through the year. There are two different kinds of para-normal investigations that MAC sponsors. One group features Craig McManus, Cape May’s spirit medium. You can stay up through the night at the Physick Estate with him and hope for a visitation. Another group of investigators are Ghost One, who use lots of “high tech” instruments to record para-normal activity. (Think of it as Ghostbusters without the humor.) We also have ghost trolley rides (especially around the Haloween season.) and there’s Elaine’s Haunted Mansion – which is a dinner theater with a fun/scary interactive play. My guests have always had a good time there and praised the food.