Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Michael Lee!!!

In honor of a special blogger's birthday, Michael Lee West from Rattlebridge Farm, I am showing some excerpts of a post that I did in 2011 after reading one of her wonderful books. My inspiration for the tablescape was the Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake from Michael Lee West's "Gone With a Handsomer Man".   Teeny Templeton, the fictional heroine in the book, loved Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake.

 This is a wonderful dessert, and I hope you will try it.  I sprinkled some dried lavender blossoms on top of the cake while it was baking, and it amplified the floral flavor of the fruit. 

Teeny’s Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake
Yield: 8 servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose white flour
1 cup sugar (white, granulated)
½ cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla

Beat eggs. Add milk and oil. Whisk. Add vanilla and sour cream. Next, add dry ingredients. Mix. Pour into a greased 9 X 13 inch pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet.

Prepare topping:

3 cups ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup chopped pecans
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour

Mix ingredients and spoon over batter. Bake 30 minutes.


I also made the birthday girl my favorite cake. Several years ago, I was searching for a carrot cake recipe that would suit my taste. The requirements were no raisins and no pineapple.

Marilyn on the Garden Web shared this recipe, and it is my go to recipe for carrot cake. I prefer layer cakes, but you could also use this recipe to make a sheet cake. 

Classic Carrot Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups shredded or grated carrots

1 cup chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound powdered sugar (4 cups)

8 oz. Cream cheese; softened

1 stick butter or margarine; softened

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients and mix well with electric mixer

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Sift
flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices together. Beat oil, eggs,
sugar and brown sugar at medium speed for 2 minutes or until well
blended. Stir in orange juice and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture on
lowest speed, just until blended. Stir in carrots and nuts until
combined. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

Cool completely before filling and frosting with 1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting.

Happy 60th Birthday Michael Lee West, the Queen of Southern Novels! Hope you have a fantastic birthday week. I will be joining you on Foodie Friday where we met!

Please visit Michael Lee West's friends that are also celebrating today!

Kitty~ Kitty’s Kozy Kitchen

Mary~ Home is Where the Boat Is

Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. Sweet tribute! I think it's time to make this one again. I vividly remember how delicious it is! '-)
    Happy, Happy, Michael Lee West! ~ Sarah

  2. What a pretty cake. Love that you've used lavender buds. I so enjoyed her lavender series.
    Happy birthday Michael Lee,

  3. Debbie, What beautiful cakes you've shared to celebrate our friend, Michael Lee! I'd love to sample each of those wonderful recipes, but I'm especially fond of anything with cream cheese frosting. Your peach table setting is so pretty for the birthday girl. Happy Birthday Michael Lee! xo

  4. Debbie, Both of your cakes look and sound delicious! I did not know that some carrot cakes contain pineapple although I do love carrot cake. I would also love Teeny's favorite. I think Michael Lee will have some trouble eating a piece of all the cakes she is getting today! Linda

  5. I love your fun peach dishes Debbie! Both cakes sound great, I'm a big fan of the addition of sour cream in the peach one:@)

  6. Hi Debbie!

    My mouth started watering as soon as I saw that luscious hunk of peach cake...I made ML's Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake last year & it was scrumptious!
    Love your pretty peachy place setting & I have serious charger envy going on! Just Lovely!

    Thanks, too, for the carrot cake recipe. I'll have to compare it to one a friend gave me long ago & see if there is much difference. It is my favorite type of cake!

    Happy Birthday, Michael Lee!!

  7. Debbie, I remember Teeny's Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake and your requirements for Carrot Cake would be perfect for us! I don't object to the raisins, but am not wild about the pineapple. It looks delicious and fitting for a foodie Queen and writer! Thanks for joining in the fun~ Happy Birthday Michael Lee West!

  8. Ohh, 2 cakes!! Now that's a great way to celebrate! I must try them both! Happy Birthday Michael Lee!

  9. Debbie,
    I love your post and I loved that book too...Happy Birthday Michael Lee....
    Love, Mona

  10. Sounds delicious! LOVED that book. Just found you. Newest follower:) Talya @ Grace Grits and Gardening...

  11. loads of bday goodie treats here today and i see we have been harvesting peaches together today! well, thanks to you i even have them~ lovely bday tribute, and of course i am a little extra smitten with the lavender, my new drug of choice! thanks for joining in the celebration, happy birthday michael lee!

  12. Debbie, I'd love a slice from each of those delicious cakes. What a lovely post! I adore your peach dishes, and Teeny's cake has never looked so fine. Carrot cake is one of my favorites. I seldom buy raisins because they're harmful to dogs (and food always ends up on the floor at my house), so I'm delighted to find your recipe. Thank you so much for this fabulous birthday wish! xx

  13. Debbie, I'd love a slice from each of those delicious cakes. What a lovely post! I adore your peach dishes, and Teeny's cake has never looked so fine. Carrot cake is one of my favorites. I seldom buy raisins because they're harmful to dogs (and food always ends up on the floor at my house), so I'm delighted to find your recipe. Thank you so much for this fabulous birthday wish! xx

  14. The perfect cake for Michael Lee to celebrate her birthday!

  15. My mouth is watering from looking at your cakes. Your tablescape inspiration post is a fitting tribute to MIchael Lee. I have had a ball partying with all you ladies.

  16. I love that from her books, that you read about the recipes and the foods and you want to taste them. Then it is fun to try them. You did a beautiful tribute to Michael Lee, happy, happy birthday!
    I am with you, no raisins and no pineapple (but I would probably leave out the nuts too) I just want melt in your mouth carrot cake - no chewing required! I will be great when I don't have any teeth left, I will just eat melt in your mouth goodies!


I'm so happy you decided to stop by my blog. Please leave a comment as I enjoy hearing from each and every one of you!


Appetizers (2) Birthday Week (2) Blog Anniversary (2) Bread (2) Breakfast (4) Breakfast; MacKenzie-Childs (2) Breville Pie Maker (3) Cannoli (3) Chicken (2) Chicken Riggies; Foodie Friday (1) CHRISTMAS 2011 (4) Come To The Table (4) Cookies (2) Dessert (9) Dinner Parties (3) Easter 2012 (2) Events (2) Fairy Garden (2) Favorites on the First (2) Filled Strawberries (4) Flashback Friday (6) Foodie Friday (20) Garden 2009 (3) Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars (2) Halloween (2) Kentucky Derby; Run for the Roses Pie (1) Key West (4) Kick-Off To Summer BBQ (1) Lake Life (2) Lemon (3) Lemon Berry Cake with Mascarpone Filling (2) Let's Dish (13) Let's Dish; Tablescape Thursday (1) MacKenzie-Childs (39) MacKenzie-Childs; Traveling Tote (4) Magazine recipes (2) MAGNOLIA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (2) Martha's Vineyard (3) McKenzie-Childs (2) Miss Aurora; (1) Monday Mosaic (5) Monday Mosaic; Seasonal Sundays (3) Mother's Day 2012 (3) Mystery Ingredient; Halloween 2013 (2) National Bundt Day (3) Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan (3) Outdoor Wednesdays (2) OWLS (3) Pasta (2) PEONIES (4) Philadelphia Garden Show 2009 (7) Pier One (2) Pork (2) PUMPKIN PIE FUDGE (3) Rhubarb (5) Salads (2) Seafood (2) Seasonal Sundays (9) Showy Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium reginae) (2) Soup (4) Spider Web Pizza (1) St. Patrick's Day (4) Summer 2013 (2) Summer Dessert (3) Sunday Favorites (3) Sycamore Hill Gardens (2) Table For Two (2) Tablescape Thursday (17) Tablescape Thursday; MacKenzie-Childs (2) Thanksgiving (5) Tips and Tidbits; (2) Tybee Island; Georgia; Savannah; (3) Utica Greens; Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook; Escarole (1) Valentine (2) Valentine's Day (3) Vietri (4) Weekends (6) World Famous Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting (3) Zucchini Bread (2)