The Happy Chef: Mother’s Day Strawberry Pound Cake

Years ago, when my children were toddlers, my husband would give me the day off on Mother’s Day and I could do whatever I wanted. In those days I would have said, “no way” to making this very involved cake on Mother’s Day because raising two toddlers that were 14 months apart was exhausting enough.

Today a perfect Mother’s Day would be going strawberry picking with my children who have grown too fast and are no longer toddlers (who soon won’t want to pick strawberries with me) and then preparing this cake with my daughter who can REALLY cook with me; she is actually very helpful and no longer in the way now that she is older!

It is funny how quickly things change in life. I will see photographs or run into someone that I knew when my children were little and I not only remember the time when my children were so small but I also remember the emotion I felt from those days long ago – the emotion of wonder in watching a toddler see life for the first time; the emotion of exhaustion from chasing them around and carrying them everywhere and doing everything for them; the emotion of loving them so protectively that I would touch their chest each night before I went to bed to make sure they were still breathing.

Memories are like that, sometimes they are just pictures but sometimes you can remember the whole feeling of a particular time. Such memories are a blessing just as the actual moment in life is; it is all such a gift from God.

I remember my own mother this Mother’s Day and I am not sad – I am happy that I remember who she was and the things that she did and how she loved. Recently our new puppy did something really cute (she does that a lot) and I laughed and my mom suddenly popped into my head and I told ‘Ruby,’ “your grandmommy would have loved you.”

In that moment I had remembered not just the image of my mom but her sweet loving heart and how she would have just burst with joy over the antics of such an adorable young pup I think that is God’s Spirit at work, placing the essence of the memory of our loved ones in our hearts at such moments.

I cherish the memories of my mother and my toddlers from that “other time” but I love this day as well and I have come to recognize that we don’t do very well in life when we don’t accept that life does indeed move inextricably forward. Sometimes it does so with little, subtle, and slow changes; sometimes with drastic, sudden and difficult changes. But it does move forward and how we choose to move with it and trust God’s providence in it really does make all the difference. And as I look back and forward and right into the here and now of it all, it looks pretty spectacular to me! Happy Mother’s Day to all of you! God Bless you!

1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed

1 cup butter flavored shortening

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond or strawberry extract

STRAWBERRY SAUCE:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond or strawberry extract

-Drain strawberries, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Chop the strawberries; set juice and berries aside. In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in the pecans, chopped strawberries and extracts.

-Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for 1-1/4 hours or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from the pan to a wire rack.

-In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and reserved strawberry juice. Add the sliced strawberries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in extracts. Brush some of the sauce over the warm cake. Serve cake with remaining sauce.

By Leigh Sackett
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