Refreshed: Lemon Angel Squares

They say when life hands you lemons you should squeeze the most out of the moment.  In the Places in the Home test kitchen, I take that not only as sound but as delicious advice.  I’m thinking Lemon Angel Squares.


How do I love thee lemon? Let me count the ways I find to include you in the recipes of our culinary lives.  The citrusy goodness, the tangy zing of the zest and the brilliant flavor notes of fresh lemon juice balances as it brightens.   I prefer substituting a generous squeeze of lemon for salt in several of my recipes. Lemon is simply an essential ingredient favored for flavor by cooks, bakers and chefs in recipes of both the sweet and the savory kind.


Fresh in season blackberries and the herb of my heart, fresh mint, round out the flavor of these summer tastes so good treats. What we serve should look as good as it tastes.  The three part harmony on the plated side of a prepared recipe is simple- flavor it up, pretty it up and serve it up.  Aromas entice, but we eat with our eyes first.


The Places in the Home test kitchen becomes sweet tooth central in the summer months. The is there anything sweet to eat gang prefers lighter desserts big on summer flavor (coconut, tropical, lemony, melons, berries, etc…) over heavier cakes and pies usually associated with cold weather noshing and nesting.  Yes, there is a distinct association between foods and flavors and the seasons. A quick inventory of the sweets shelf resulted in a Duncan Hines Signature Angel Food cake mix staring back at me.   Angel food cake stands on its own as a light dessert, and the fresh blackberries I picked up at the market would only add to the mix, but this dessert combination did not call out to me.  Isn’t it funny how creative one can become when a sweet tooth is involved?  A lone can of lemon pie filling, a gorgeous lemon primed and ready for zest, and a recent rediscovery of  the fresh mint I planted in a window box planter a couple of spring seasons ago filled in the blanks.  Cream cheese and powdered sugar are basic staples around my kitchen so it’s all good.


This recipe for Lemon Angel Squares is easy, delicious and a nice choice for a summer treat. The taste is fresh, the bite is lemon bright and did I mention this recipe is easy.  Just add summer.



Lemon Angel Squares


1 16 ounce package angel food cake mix

1  21 ounce can lemon pie filling

1 tablespoon lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the angel food cake mix with the lemon pie filling and zest in a mixing bowl; blend until smooth.


Pour the batter into an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.  Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.

Cream Cheese Icing


3 oz. cream cheese

2-3  tbsp. milk

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. lemon extract


Beat together all ingredients. It’s that simple!  Generously frost each square with cream cheese icing and garnish with blackberries and mint.




A Most Fetching Friday





adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible


This week’s A Most Fetching Friday is dedicated to dessert, the art of baking (and no-baking), and the edible works created, admired and deliciously celebrated as the grand finale of the holiday dinner.

Thanksgiving-apple-pastry-package-del1014-lgnWrapped Baked Apple Crumble – Country Clever

beekman-boys-buttermilk-pie-with-pecan-crustButtermilk Pie with Pecan Crust – Country Living Magazine

apple-nut-cake-walnutsApple Nut Cake  with Caramel Walnut Icing

white-chocolate-pumpkin-cheesecakesNo Bake White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Pecan Pie Crust

Butter-pecan-cakeButter Pecan Cake

butterscoth-pudding-Coquette-New-OrleansButterscotch Pudding with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs & Bacon Whipped Cream

I hope you have a most delicious and fetching Friday.

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Simplified Homemade Recipes

Basic on hand baking ingredients combined with the spotlight spices of the season is a recipe for simplified homemade.  Yep, all of the homemade with love goodness without all of the homemade work is sprinkled, sifted and spiced into these simplified homemade recipes.  The holiday hustle and bustle keeps us hopping, shopping and on a quest for time chopping.  Over the next few weeks it will be a holiday rush jungle out there, folks!  Give yourself the gift of time and your guests a taste of the holidays with these time saving simplified homemade recipes.

homemade recipes

Pumpkin Spice Cake


1 box spice cake mix

1 box instant french vanilla pudding

1 can pumpkin

3 eggs

1/3  cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup water

1/3  cup pumpkin spice flavored liquid coffee cream


1 8 ounce cream cheese, softened

¼ cup butter, softened

½ cup – 1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1-2 packets sugar in the raw



In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients.  Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Pour into  greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from pan to cake plate. Allow cake to completely cool before frosting.  Frost cake and garnish top with pumpkin pie spice and sugar in the raw.  Keep cake in refrigerator for optimum freshness.

Frosting directions

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually sift confectioners’ sugar into cream cheese and butter mixture, mixing until smooth.  Stir in maple syrup until incorporated.  Frost top of cake and garnish with pumpkin pie spice and sugar in the raw.

banana nut bread

Holiday Banana Bread


3 packages banana nut muffin mix

3 ripe bananas, mashed

½ teaspoon ground cloves

¾ cup crushed pineapple with juice

½ cup raisins

1 cup water

recipe ingredients


Preheat oven to 400 F.  Spray or grease two (2) muffins pan and set aside. Whisk muffin mix and cloves together to incorporate and smooth out lumps.  In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash the ripe bananas; add to dry ingredients. Add crush pineapple and pineapple juice, raisins and water; stir well to blend all ingredients together.  Divide mixture between the two prepared muffin pans. Bake at 400 for 40- 45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

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