Pumpkin Apricot Cake from Leith Hall

I served this pumpkin apricot cake this past weekend for afternoon tea. The simple syruppumpkin apricot cake makes it very moist and delicious. I like pumpkin and apricots together because they are so similar (orange color and gooey). You could use golden raisins, or dried cherries, or nuts. (Suzie doesn’t like nuts, so they seldom turn up in my recipes)You could use cream cheese frosting – either on a loaf or on traditional round layers.

Pumpkin Apricot Cake from Leith Hall

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon
1 1/2 c. each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. canned pumpkin
4 eggs

2 cups dried apricots, cut up

Simple syrup= 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water, brought to a boil

Mix all of the dried ingredients together. Mix all of the wet ingredients together. Mix all ofpumpkin the ingredients (except apricots) together with a wire whisk. Mix in the apricots with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Pour into 2 parchment-lined and greased  9 1/2 x 5 1/4-inch loaf pans. Or bake in  plain or fancy bundt pans, or in layer cake pans

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes (for a loaf or bundt, less for layers) or until cake is firm and springs back when prodded with a finger. Cool for 5 minutes. pour simple syrup on cakes when cool. Wait at least a couple of hours before unmolding and serving.

Come visit us at Leith Hall and sample Elan’s goodies at breakfast and afternoon tea !



This recipe is for Rob, who is one of our loyal-est guests – having visited us for well over browniestwenty years now. I serve these brownies at teatime last week and Rob has asked for the recipe. I’m amazed that I could tempt him away from ruggalach. I think that the secret to these brownies is the icing. It’s just butter and very strong chocolate, melted together.

Line a square baking pan with parchment and spray with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

½ cup canola oil

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste (I use vanilla paste)

1 tablespoon coffee extract ( get mine at the health food store)

2 eggs

½ cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa (I use Van Houten or Droste’s)

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

browniesMix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix all of the wet ingredients in another bowl. Mix the ingredients of the two bowls together until smooth. Turn into baking pan and smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate icing

½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter

1 cup chocolate (I use part Ghirardelli 60% chips and part Trader Joe’s 70% “Pound Plus” bar)

Melt the ingredients together in a Pyrex cup, either on the stove while the brownies arebrownies baking, or for a minute in the microwave. Mix thoroughly and ice the brownies once they are cool and on your serving dish.

You can vary these brownies by adding a teaspoon of peppermint extract to the icing. Or you could spread the brownies with raspberry preserves and pipe the icing on top of that using a small plastic baggie with the corner snipped.




Richest Bestest Almond Pound Cake

I recently served an almond pound cake at Leith Hall teatime, which is very rich and buttery. One of almond pound cakeour guests asked for the recipe, so here it is. It is actually very easy to make and is very impressive because it is so rich. I serve it on a footed cake stand.

Sometimes, I serve a bitter sweet chocolate sauce along-side it, just to paint the lily. There are few desserts that aren’t improved by being served with a bitter sweet chocolate sauce.

1 pound (3 1/4 cups) all-purpose flouralmond pound cake

1 tablespoon coarse salt

4 sticks softened unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon  vanilla extract or vanilla paste

9 large eggs

1 can of Solo almond pastry filling

Beat the butter, sugar and salt together in an electric stand mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, along with the vanilla. Beat in the almond pastry filling.  Beat in the flour, a little at a time.

Bake in two paper-lined loaf pans or one tube or bundt pan. 325 F. for about 65 minutes. It almond pound cakeshould be golden and spring back when lightly prodded with your finger.

For the sauce:

½ c. bittersweet chocolate

½ cup wateralmond pound cake

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Melt all three ingredients together in a Pyrex cup in the microwave oven (30 seconds at a time, repeated) mix well with a spoon. Serve with a small ladle.



Maple Pecan Squares

Maple Pecan Squares

This is the second recipe that Lindsay asked for. They are maplebed and breakfast Cape May syrup flavored cake squares with a handful of crushed pecans in the cake. Of course, you could use any nuts in the cake, or no nuts, or raisins, or any chopped dried fruit. You could also substitute honey for the maple syrup for a different flavor.

2 cups all-purpose flourbed and breakfast Cape May NJ

3/4 cup oat bran

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons baking sodaCape May bed and breakfast

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1/3 cup maple syrupCape May NJ bed and breakfast

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

1 cup (I use my hand to measure, so it’s probably closer to 2 cups) pecans

For the icing:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

About 1 cup maple syrup


350 F.  8”x8” metal baking pan, lined with cooking parchment and sprayed with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, maple syrup, butter, and eggs. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until it springs back when lightly prodded with a fingertip.

To make the icing, beat the confectioner’s sugar with an electric mixer adding enough maple syrup to make it flow.

Cool cake. Turn out onto serving platter. Cut into sixteen squares, and then drizzle with maple icing.



Peach Upside Down Cake for Lindsay

Peach Upside Down cake for Lindsay

Cape May bed and breakfastLindsay asked for the recipe for this peach upside down coffee cake which I served at teatime last week. I cut it into four squares by four squares – for sixteen servings. The cake is plain, but the melted butter and sugar syrup takes care of that. I’ll post the other recipes that Lindsay requested afterbed and breakfast Cape May this one.

For the upside-down topping:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

Sliced peachesCape May bed and breakfast

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour,

½ cup granulated sugar

1 Tbsp baking powderbed and breakfast Cape May New Jersey

½ tsp salt

1 cup whole milk

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

4 oz unsalted butter (½ stick)

1/3 cup sour cream

First, line an 8”x8” metal baking pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray like Pam. Melt the stick of butter for the topping and pour it into the baking pan. Sprinkle the cup of brown sugar on top of the melted butter, then arrange the peach slices (or any other fruit) on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Mix all of the cake ingredients together in a bowl, then pour on top of the fruit. Smooth the top and bake at 350 F. for about 20 to 25 minutes until it is thoroughly baked. If the middle of the top seems soft, turn the oven down and return the cake to the oven for a few minutes ‘till the middle is firm. When it’s done, remove the cake from the oven and immediately reverse it onto a serving platter with a rim. Do this by putting the serving platter on top of the cake, upside down. Then flip the whole thing over. The sugar/butter topping will run everywhere, so the serving platter must have a rim.

Remove the metal baking pan and peel off the paper, being careful not to burn yourself on the molten lava of butter and sugar.

Or, you can skip the whole baking experience and come visit us at Leith Hall and let me bake for you.


Downton Abbey? No, Upton Abbey!

Downton Abbey come to life!

Do you love Downton Abbey? Wish you could live in one of the stately homes Downton Abbey afternoon teaof England and hob-nob with the nobs? Come to Cape May for an afternoon tea presented by the Friends of the Physick Estate called Upton Abbey. There will be prizes for the best British accent, and for the best period costume. Downton Abbey Trivia will test your knowledge of the shows details.

Downton AbbeyWhile you’re in town you can immerse yourself in the period with trolley tours of out twelve hundred Victorian and Edwardian houses, tours of the Emlen Physick Estate (the richest guy in town in those days), and stay at Leith Hall with our period rooms and furnishings.

The Upton Abbey tea will be Friday, April 19th at 3 P.M. at the Physick Estate Carriage House Café and Tearoom.If you miss this time, keep in touch – it will be offered again.


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

I made these chocolate peppermint cookies for tea at Leith Hall last week and Bill from Absecon paid me a great compliment. He said that they were the best chocolate cookies he had ever had, and he doesn’t even like sweets!. They are very easy to make.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookieschocolate peppermint cookies Leith Hall

1 ¼ cup (2 1/2 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 cups flour

¾ cup Dutch cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Icing – Melt together 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 stick butter plus 1 tablespoon light corn syrup. Add 1 tablespoon peppermint extract. Put one dollop on each cookie.


Beat the butter and sugar together until they are fluffy. Beat in eggs and extracts. Mix the flour, cocoa, soda and salt together and beat the mixture into the butter mixture. Drop by tablespoons full onto parchment lined cookie sheets. I use a scoop to get exactly even size domes. Bake for 9 minutes at 350F. Cool on cookie sheets, then again on cookie racks.




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.