Pies, Cakes, Desserts

Better Times Cookbook Home ... Justpeace Home ... Bookstore ... Better Times Webzine Home

Don't buy that old frozen pie that costs big bucks and don't waste your money on that expensive birthday cake from the bakery that was probably made with a mix. Make your own pies, cakes, and desserts and save big bucks. Here's a selection fo fun and easy sweet things. Get in the habit of making these items, and everybody will swear you are a cook that is touched by heavenly flavor.

Sugar Cookies

½ cup margarine -- 1 cup sugar -- 1 egg -- 1/3 cup milk -- 1/4 tsp salt -- 1 tsp vanilla -- 2-1/2 cups flour -- ½ tsp cream of tartar -- 1 tsp soda

Blend margarine, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla. Stir. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. Roll out on a floured board 1/8 inches thick and cut into cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potatoes -- 2 eggs -- ½ stick margarine -- ½ cup brown sugar -- pie crust

Boil sweet potatoes until done, peel the skins off (after boiling). Mash with beaten eggs, amrgarine, and brown sugar. Add pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger), pour in unbaked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees until a knife in the center comes out clean (about 45 minutes).

Pie Crust

2 cups flour -- ice water (about 3 tbsp) -- ½ cup oil, margarine, or shortening

Mix flour, salt, and shortening. Add enough ice water so it holds together. Knead for several minutes, roll out and place in pan. Tip: place dough between two sheets of wax paper when rolling it out. If you don't roll it out between two sheets of wax paper, fold it in half, and then again in quarters (after rolling!), to place dough in pie so it doesn't tear. Then unfold and arrange in pan. If the dough tears, dip your fingers in water and press it back into place, or "patch" with extra pieces of dough, moistening the fingers first. Note: there are as many different recipes for pie crust as there are cooks. This recipe is among the less complicated possibilities, but there is no doubt that pie crust is challenging. Practice makes perfect, though, so keep working on it.

Miracle Pie

1 cup sugar -- 1/4 cup margarine -- 4 eggs -- ½ cup flour -- 2 cups milk -- 1 cup coconut -- 1/4 tsp salt -- ½ tsp baking powder -- 1tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (you can dump them all in a blender and spin). Mix thoroughly. Pour into a ten inch pie plate that has been greased and florued. Bkae at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. This pie makes its own crust and a coconut topping.

Peach Pie

1 cup sugar -- 2 eggs -- pinch of salt -- peaches -- 2 tbsp flour -- 2 tbsp margarine -- unbaked pie crust

Line unbaked pie crust with sliced peaches (fresh or drained canned). Mix other ingredients gogether and pour over the peaches. Let stand for five minutes before baking. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until filling is set.

Better-than-a-Bakery White Cake

2 cups sugar -- 3/4 cup margarine -- 1 cup milk -- 5 egg whites, beaten -- 3 cups flour -- 3 tsp baking powder -- 1 tsp lemon flavoring -- 3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Mix the flour and baking powder together. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and margarine together and then mix in the flour and baking powder mixture. Add the milk, mix well. Add the beaten egg whites. Mix well. Makes two 8 inch layers or one 13 x 9 inch cake. Bake layers 30 to 35 minutes, sheet cake 35 to 40 minutes, at 350 degrees.

Easy Very Tasty Cobbler

1 cup flour -- 1 cup sugar -- 1 stick of margarine -- 2 tsp baking powder -- 1 cup skim milk -- 1 or 2 cans pie filling or canned fruit

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add milk and melted margarine, mix well. Pour batter into baking pan (use a casserole dish). Pour pie filing on top of the batter, or pour the drained can of peaches or other fruit on top. Use one or two cans, as budget and taste allow. The batter rises up and covers the fruit as it bakes. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes (or until golden brown on top).

Easy Very Tasty Brownies

1 cup flour -- 1 cup sugar -- 1/3 cup cocoa -- 1 stick margarine -- 2 eggs -- 1 cup nuts (optional)

Mix dry ingredients. Add melted margarine, then add beaten eggs. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees in 9 inch square pan for about 15 minutes. Icing: Mix 1/3 cup milk, 1 stick oleo and 4 tbsp of cocoa, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread on brownies.

Easy Very Tasty Brownie Mix

Mix 6 cups flour, 6 cups sugar, 2 cups cocoa. Use two cups mix in place of dry ingredients in Easy Very Tasty Brownie Recipe

Biscuit Mix Cake

1-1/3 cups biscuit mix -- 3 tbsp soft softerning -- 3/4 cup milk -- 3/4 cup sugar -- 1 egg -- 1 tsp vanilla

Mix biscuit mix, sugar, shortening, egg, and 1/4 cup milk. Beat vigorously for 1 minute. Add vanilla to remaining milk, stir in gradually the ½ cup milk. Beat 30 seconds. Pour into 8 inch square pan. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, top with favorite icing.

Chocolate, Banana, or Pineapple Pudding

2/3 cup sugar -- 2 eggs -- 1 tsp vanilla (optional) -- 3 tbsp flour -- 2 cups milk -- 2 tbsp margarine (optional) -- vanilla wafers (optional)

Mix flour and sugar together, add milk and beaten eggs, mix very well, so there are no lumps. Add margarine and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Add sliced bananas and vanilla. Put a layer of vanilla wafers in a dish. Pour pudding over wafers. Chill and serve. Variations: use crushed pineapple in place of bananas. Use 1/4 cup cocoa instead of bananas for chocolate pudding.

Fruit Cocktail Bars

2 eggs -- 1-1/2 cup sugar -- 1 can fruit cocktail -- 2-1/4 cups flour -- ½ cup chopped nuts (optional) -- 1-1/2 tsp soda -- ½ tsp salt -- 1 tsp vanilla -- 1-1/2 cup coconut

Beat eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add fruit cocktail (with syrup) and beat again. Mix dry ingredients together and add to fruit cocktail mixture, mix well. Add vanilla, mix. Spread in a 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan that has been greased and floured. Sprinkle cocounut and nuts over the otp (optional), abke at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Glaze while warm with the following: mix 3/4 cup sugar, ½ cup margarine, 1/4 cup milk in pan and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, add ½ tsp vanilla and cool. Drizzle on bars.

Standard Cookie Recipe

1 cup shortening -- ½ cup brown sugar -- ½ cup white sugar -- 1 egg -- ½ tsp salt -- 2 cups sifted flour -- 3/4 tsp soda -- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar -- 1 tbsp vinegar -- 1 tsp vanilla

Cream sugar and shortening (or margarine) together. Mix dry ingredients, add to sugar mixture. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. To this basic cookied, you can add: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, lemon juice, etc. You can also substitute one ucp oats for one cup of the lfour. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Yellow Cake

2 cups flour -- 1-1/3 cups sugar -- 1/3 cup shortening -- 4 egg yolks -- 1 cup milk -- ½ tsp lemon flavoring -- ½ tsp vanilla -- 3 tsp baking powder

Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, dahs of salt. Add shortening, milk, lemon and vanilla. Beat for two minutes. Add unbeaten egg yolks, beat for two more iminutes. Pour into two 8" pans (greased and floured) or one 13 x 9 pan. Bake in 350 degree oven. Layers: 30 to 35 minutes, large cake, 35 to 40 minutes.

Your Basic Very Easy Cake

sugar -- flour -- 2 tsp baking powder -- 2 eggs -- milk

ake a cup, any reasonable size, from the cupboard. Fill it with sugar. Put it into a bowl. Take the same cup, fill it with flour, put it into bowl and add baking powder. Break eggs into the cup and beat with fork. Add milk to fill the cup, pour over sugar and flour, beat. Put into a cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.


1 recipe white cake -- 1 cup milk -- 4 tbsp flour -- 1 cup sugar -- ½ cup shortening -- ½ cup margarine -- 1 tsp vanilla

Pie Custard

4 eggs -- 2/3 cup sugar -- ½ tsp salt -- 1/4 tsp nutmeg -- 2-2/3 cups hot milk -- 1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Beat eggs slightly, add rest of ingredients. Pour into pie pan lined with unbaked pie crust. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until a knife inserted one inch from the side o the pie comes out clean. The center may stil look soft, but it will set. If you bake it too long, the custard becomes watery. You can make this pie with three eggs, if so, reduce milk to 2 cups.

Easy Very Tasty Fruit Cocktail Cake

2 cups flour -- 2 tsp soda -- 1 egg -- 1-1/2 cup sugar -- ½ tsp salt -- 1 can fruit cocktail and syrup

Mix all ingredients together well. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. (For richer cake, use 2 eggs. For icing: cook 1 stick margarine, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup milk, for 3 minutes (boiling). Remove from heat and add 1 cup nuts (optional), 1 cup coconut, 1 tsp vanilla, spread on cake.

Easy Very Tasty Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour -- 1-1/2 cups sugar -- 1-1/4 tsp baking soda -- 1 tsp salt -- ½ cup cocoa -- ½ cup margarine -- 1 cup milk -- 1 tsp vanilla -- 2 eggs beaten

Mix the dry ingredients together, then add the melted margarine, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Preheat oven to 350 degrees asnd bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes two 8" layers or a 9 x 13" pan or a cast iron skillet-full. Icing: combine in a pan one stick of margarine, 6 tbsp of milk, and 4 tbsp of cocoa. Bring to a boil, add 2-3 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla, and nuts (optional). Mix horoughly, spread on cake while hot. Variation: add ½ cup mayonnaise to the batter for extra richness.

Cream Filling for Cakes.

Mix in saucepan 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, gradually stir in 1 cup milk (or these items into a jar, shake well, pour into saucepan). Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Put 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten into another bowl. Add about half of the milk and sugar mixture to the egg yolk, mix, then pour back into the remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Boil one minute more, remove from heat, add 1 tbsp butter or margarine and 1 tsp vanilla. Stir well and cool, stirring occasionally. For Chocolate Cream Filing, add 1/4 cup cocoa with the dry ingredients.

Chocolate Cake Mix

6 cups flour -- 4-1/2 cups sugar -- 3-3/4 tsp baking soda -- 1 cup powdered milk -- 1-1/2 cup cocoa -- 3 tsp salt

Use four cups mix for one cake. To this mix add ½ cup melted margarine, 1 cup water, 2 beaten eggs, and 1 tsp vanilla.

Fast and Quick Short Cake

1 cup sugar -- 1 cup flour -- ½ tsp salt -- 2 eggs beaten -- 1 tsp baking powder -- 1 tsp vanilla -- 1 cup milk with 1/3 cup powdered milk added

Mix dry ingredients, add milk, vanilla, and eggs, mix well until smooth. Bake in a 9 x 9 inch pan at 350 degrees until brown and the top springs back when you touch it. Serve with strawberries and ice cream, or other favorite topping. For small shortcakes, fill muffin tins about 2/3 full and bake.

Apple Dumplings

2 cups flour -- ½ tsp salt -- 4 tsp baking powder -- 1/3 cup margarine or shortening -- 2/3 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, add melted margarine and mix until it is the consistency of coarse corn meal. Add milk and stir. Turn out onto floured board and knead for a minute or two. Roll the dough out so it is 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 8 squares. Place some sliced apples into the center of each square and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, dot with margarine (apple pie filling can be used in place of apples and sugar). Fold in the corners over the apples and pinch together. Place foled side down in a 10 x 13 baking dish and cover with sauce. Sauce: mix together 2 cups sugar, 2/3 cup melted margarine, 3 tbsp flour, 1 tsp vanilla. Add 3 cups boiling water. Continue to boil until the sauce thickens, so it is like a think white sauce (it will thicken more while baking. After covering with sauce, bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm: variation: use prunes or cherries or apricots instead of apples.

Pudding Mix

1-1/2 cup sugar -- 2-3/4 cup dry milk -- 3/4 cup cornstarh -- 1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and stir until well blended. Store in tightly covered container. Makes about 24 servings of pudding. Keep mix on hand and you'll always be able to fix a good dessert or snack fast.

Vanilla or Chocolate Pudding from Mix

1-1/4 cup pudding mix -- 2-1/2 cups water -- 1 egg, beaten -- 1-1/2 tsp vanilla -- 1 tbsp margarine (optional)

Combine pudding mix and water in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add margarine and remove from heat. Stir some of the hot mixture into the beaten egg, then blend this mixture into the pudding and cook one minute. Remove from heat and add vanilla, pour into dessert dish. Serve warm or chilled. Makes six servings. For chocolate pudding, add 1/4 cup cocoa.

Cake Icings and Frostings

Fluffy White Frosting Blend 1/4 cup flour and 1 cup milk, cook over medium heat until thick, cool. Cream together ½ cup margarine, 1/3 cup shortening, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup sugar. Add the cooked milk mixture, whip until it looks like whipped cream. Frosts 2 layers or a 9 x 13 inch cake. Variation: add cocoa for chocolate fluffy frosting.

Quick White Icing Put a cup or two of powdered sugar ina bowl, add a little (say two tbsp) milk until it is to spreading consistency. Add flavorings if desired (such as powdered cocoa, for chocolate icing, or lemon extract, for lemon icing). Color with food coloring, if desired.

Cocoa Icing Mix 2-2/3 cups powdered sugar and 1/3 cup cocoa, add 1/3 cup margarine (room temperature) and 3 to 4 tbsp milk. Stir until well blended.

Creamy White Melt ½ cup shortening in saucepan, remove from heat, add 2-1/2 tbsp flour and 1/4 tsp salt, stir until blended, slowly add ½ cup milk, stir well. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, remove from heat, stir in abotu 3 cups powdered sugar and ½ tsp vanilla. Stir until thick enough to spread.

Butter Icing Blend together 5 tbsp butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, add about 3 tbsp milk and 1-1/2 tsp vanilla and stir until smooth. Makes enough frosting for two 8 inch layers or one 13 x 9 cake. Can substitute margarine.

Orange or Lemon Icing Make butter icing, only omit the vanilla and use orange or lemon juice instead of the milk. You can add a little grated orange or lemon rind for extra flavor.

Better Times Cookbook Home ... Justpeace Home ... Bookstore ... Better Times Webzine Home