Lots to do in Cape May in March – and you can always drink!

There is lots to do in Cape May in March.

O.K., you can’t lie out in the sun and bake, but you can stay indoorslots to do in Cape May and get that healthy glow from the wine and beer events on both the March 9 and March 16 weekends. There are three choices; a self guided wine trail, a self-guided wine and brewery trail, and a winery tour and tasting.

lots to do in Cape MayThe second weekend – March 16, is also Sherlock Holmes Weekend presented by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities. There are still a few tickets availible for the whole program including the murder mystery dinner, the tours, the denouement and the parties. At the same time, East Lynne Theater Company is presenting a dramatization of The Adventure of the Norwood Builder, one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s best stories.

Give us a call at Leith Hall to visit Cape May in March!

March 9th Self Guided wine and brewery trail

March 9th Self guided Wine Trail

March 9th Winery cellar Tour and Tasting

March 16th Crafts and Antiques

March 15th and 16th Sherlock Holmes Weekend.  East Lynne Theater Company Adventure of the Norwood Builder


Chocolate Valentine’s Day at Leith Hall in Cape May

chocolate Valentines Day Cape MayChocolate Valentine’s Day at Leith Hall in Cape May

What could be more romantic than Valentine’s Day weekend in Cape May?  Valentine’s Day weekend in Cape May with chocolate, of course! We’ll be serving chocolate at breakfast and at tea, with raspberry and chocolate butter cream brownies, pumpkin bread with chopped bittersweet chocolate, buttery chocolate chunk muffins and chocolate peppermint sandwich cookies – a festival of chocolate.Chocolate Cake Valentines Day Cape May

Call us now or go online to make reservations for this coming weekend.





I often serve pound cakes for teatime, though seldom theLeith Hall's loveable luxury pound cake Cape May simple vanilla version. Last week, our neighbor Arielle claimed that the chocolate chunk version didn’t count as the required chocolate dessert for tea. I beg to differ. The contrast between sweet, sour-creamy cake and bitter chocolate is like a little explosion in your mouth. You could overdo it and serve a chocolate sauce or raspberry sauce to go with the cake.

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour  Leith Hall's loveable luxury pound cake
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (soft or melted
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract or vanilla paste (or other extract)

Leith Hall's loveable luxury pound cake Cape MayPreheat oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8″ loaf pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray. Or, grease and flour a decorative bundt pan.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in  eggs, one at a time. Beat in sour cream. Beat in extract.

Add flour and baking soda, mix well. Pour into loaf pan or bundt pan.Leith Hall's loveable luxury pound cake

Bake  for 1 hour (check at 45 minutes) , or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, or cake springs back when prodded.

You can use orange extract, or lemon, or coconut, or anything else you like. You can also make a simple syrup Leith Hall's loveable luxury pound cake Cape Mayof 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water, plus extract, and dribble it over the cake after it is baked.

Or, you can chop 1/2 cup of bittersweet chocolate and fold it into the batter before pouring it into the baking pan. Another alternative, chop 1/2 cup of crystallized ginger and fold into the batter.


Is this the best time of year in Cape May? Yes!

Food and Wine Celebration, Victorian Weekend and Ghosts – all in one month!

the best time of year in Cape MayThe  best time of year in Cape May is undoubtedly the next month, from mid September to mid October. The ocean is warm, the kids have gone back to school, the restaurants and shops are all open, and the festivals have started. The Food and Wine Celebration runs from Sept. 15 to 23, and will include progressive dinners, a clambake, food talks and demonstrations by Chef Joseph Poon, and events too numerous to list. (www.capemaymac.org will have all of the details) At the same time, the Washington Street Mall merchants will hold the annual Fall sidewalk sale for your early Christmas shopping.

Sept. 29 weekend will be Octoberfest in Cape May (why isn’t it the best time of year in Cape MaySeptemberfest?) Bratwurst and beer and the Odessa Klezmer German American Band will make Jackson Street a hoot.

October 5 through 9 will be this year’s Victorian Weekend which will include a Champagne Brunchwalk, a beer-tasting dinner, an underwear fashion show, a murder mystery dinner, winery tours, plays, and several chocolate events.

Call us at Leith Hall or click book now to make your reservations.


Almond Chocolate Sandwich Cookies from Leith Hall bed and breakfast

Our guests who just left Leith Hall bed and breakfast yesterdayalmond chocolate sandwich cookies asked for the recipe for these almond and chocolate sandwich cookies that I served for tea – so these are for you, Stephanie and Michael von M . You could, of course, substitute coconut extract for the almond, or lemon extract, or orange. If you used coconut extract, you could also roll the filled cookie in toasted coconut for decoration. You can also roll the pre-baked dough balls in sugar to give the cookies a crunchy crust.

Almond Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Leith Hall’s Buttery better-than Moon Pies

1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, cut up

½ cup sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. almond extract

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt


½ cup 60% (minimum) chocolate

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Beat butter and sugars together. Beat in extracts and egg. Mix flour, Leith Hall butter Almond Chocolate sandwich cookiessalt, and baking powder together. Beat flour mixture into batter until just moistened and smooth. I use a small dough scoop to get perfectly even hemispheres of dough. That way, they are even size to make neat sandwich cookies. Arrange on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for almond chocolate sandwich cookies8 to 12 minutes at 375 F. degrees. They should be just lightly colored around the edges.

Melt butter and chocolate together and mix. After the cookies are absolutely cool, make sandwich cookies and store in refrigerator (if it’s summer) until you serve them.

This same recipe can be made with lemon extract and pignoli to make wonderful unfilled Italian cookies. Or, you could use hazelnut extract and use Nutella for the filling.




Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast Chocolate Cherry Cake

Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast Chocolate Cherry Cake

I recently served this rich chocolate cherry cake at Leith Hall at Leith Hall bed and breakfast rich chocolate cherry caketeatime. Our guests asked for the recipe, so here it is. I bake it in a glass bundt pan, but it would work in any ring-shaped pan, or in two nine-inch round cake pans with a frosting or icing.

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder (I use Droste’s, Rademaker, or Van Houten)
  • 2 cups sugarLeith Hall bed and breakfast rich chocolate cherry cake Cape May
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • ½ cup dried cherries, dusted with flour
  • 1 jar of cherry preserves

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Beat the sugar, oil coffee, milk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the flour mixture and beat in. Fold in the dried cherries. Turn into a greased and floured bundt pan. Place a ring of cherry preserves on top of the batter by teaspoonsfull . As the cake bakes, it will sink toward the bottom.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Check the cake by prodding with a finger. It should spring back and seem fully baked and cakelike. Add time as needed.



This past week, our guests devoured this cake and a cherry devil’s food cake at afternoon tea. They asked for the recipe for both cakes. This is the orange one, which is flavored with sour cream and orange marmalade and tastes like a Creamsicle pop. The chocolate recipe will follow in a later post.  I hope that you enjoy them at Syracuse!

I use a glass tube pan to bake this cake in, so that I can keep an eye on the color, (it has to get golden brown to be fully baked in the center)  but you can use any pan that you have. If you use layer cake pans, it will take less time.

Leith Hall’s Orange and Cream Cake

  • 2 cups unbleached flourLeith Hall orange and cream cake Cape May
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup softened unsalted butter (one stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • ½ tsp. lemon extract
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup bitter orange marmalade
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • Tube pan, greased and floured
  • 350 degrees    30—35 minutes. Check for doneness and add time if needed.Leith Hall orange and cream cake Cape May

Mix the flour, baking  powder and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter with the sugar, then the orange marmalade, then the eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the flavorings, then the sour cream. Beat in the flour mixture and the milk, alternately to make a smooth batter. Turn into the pan, bake until the cake is golden (darkish brown) and springs back firmly when poked with a fingertip.

I serve this cake right-side up without an icing. You could drizzle an icing made of Leith Hall orange and cream cake Cape Maypowdered sugar, orange juice and melted butter on top; or you could sprinkle it with powdered sugar for decoration.



Chocolate – Miracle FoodWoody Allen in Sleeper?

Those of you old enough will remember the 1973 movie Sleeper, in which Woody Allen wakes up far, far, into the future and discovers that the really healthy activities are smoking cigarettes and eating ice cream. It’s come true! A recent story reported by WebMD described a large Australian study dark chocolate miracle foodthat found that eating three to six ounces of high-percentage chocolate every day greatly lowered your risk of heart disease. That was one to two chocolate bars of 60 to 70 percent chocolate every day!

Chocolate – Miracle Food!

Susan thinking about chocolate

Having had two heart attacks, four angioplasties a quintuple bypass, and a partridge in a pear tree, this is news I want to hear! Suzie has prophetically been implementing the recommendations of this study for years. One of the conclusions of the story was that money spent teaching people to eat chocolate would save so much in medical costs later that it would be cheaper for Medicare to pay to encourage chocolate eating. The next thing we’ll hear is that World Peace has broken out and lions are napping with lambs.

Come visit us at Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast to sample Elan’s chocolate confections!




A recent Leith Hall b&b guest, Donna B.,  emailed me for two recipesbed and breakfast raspberry sour cream coffee cake for treats that we serve at afternoon tea. The first was Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread which was in an earlier post, and this is the second – Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Of course, you could substitute any other preserves, but then it would be apricot or orange coffee cake.

 Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

2 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter

4 cups all-purpose flouregg for Raspberry sour cream coffee cake

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste

1/3 cup sour cream

1 small jar of raspberry preservesraspberry preserves

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooledbrown sugar for Leith Hall raspberry sour cream coffee cake

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


Line a 9”x11” baking pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray.

Mix 1 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil or butter, 1/3 cup sour cream, and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.  Drop raspberry preserves over batter by random teaspoons full. Combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.Cape May bed and breakfast raspberry sour cream coffee cake

Transfer pan to oven, and bake for about 23 minutes. . Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean or cake springs back when prodded with a finger.


Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread for Donna B.

Recently one of our guests at Leith Hall b&b contacted me to requestLeith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast gingerbread two recipes we serve at afternoon tea. This one, Leith Hall’s Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread, is for Donna. It has bits of crystallized ginger in it for an extra sharp bite. Sometimes I ice it with a bittersweet chocolate and butter icing (which I’ll put on almost anything) and sometimes I’ll sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar through a paper doily laid on top of the gingerbread. We always have one chocolate and one non-chocolate treat at teatime. Suzie would never forgive me if I left out the chocolate, and we sometimes have guests who (sadly) don’t like chocolate.

Leith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup crystallized ginger, cut into tiny slicescrystallized ginger for Leith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast gingerbread

 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

 1/2 teaspoon salt

 1 cup hot water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F   Line a 9 “square pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray

In an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Beat into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until the gingerbread springs back when prodded with a fingertip. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Cape May bed and breakfastDid you know that wooden house trim is called gingerbread because gingerbread was once very heavily decorated? During the Middle Ages, ginger was fabulously expensive and gingerbread was a desert at Royal and Noble courts. Sometimes, it was ornamented with real gold leaf in elaborate swirls. When sawn wooden ornament was introduced in the nineteenth century, people started calling it gingerbread because it reminded them of Christmas gingerbread houses – which are the last vestige of great medieval gingerbread constructions. Architecture and dessert all in one, my favorite combination