Best Ever Cherry Bars


Whenever we have unexpected company, or just want a last-minute dessert for a meal, we pull out this never-fail recipe. I first found it in a Quick Cooking magazine when I was probably ten, and over time and much use I’ve adapted it by changing the fruit filling. Besides the classic cherry, we like peach and blueberry flavors best. Sometimes we use store-bought cherry pie filling, like the right side of the pan in the photo above, but what puts this recipe over the top is when we make the filling from scratch. We pulled the peach version from our favorite peach cobbler recipe, and the blueberry version is an adaption of a cherry pie filling that we sometimes make for it, too. Each of the filling recipes below will make enough filling for half of a 15″ x 10″ pan, so be sure to choose two fillings, or double one of them.

If that makes sense to you, please explain it to me. Thank you.

Cherry Bars

Cherry Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed, halved
1/8 tsp. almond extract

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice until smooth. Add cherries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Set aside to cool.

Blueberry Filling:

Follow ingredients and directions for Cherry Filling, substituting blueberries for the cherries, and vanilla extract for the almond extract.

Peach Filling:
2 cans (15 oz. each) sliced peaches, with syrup
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Combine peaches, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined. Spread 3 cups of batter into a greased or parchment-lined 15″ x 10″ baking pan. Spread with fillings of your choice, half on one side and half on the other. Drop the remaining batter by teasponfuls over the filling. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes, or until dough tests done with a toothpick. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars. Yield: 5 dozen.


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St. Patrick’s Day Cake and Spinach Frosting


I always get excited about a holiday the day it is here.  Although this week I knew I wanted to make something for St. Patrick’s  Day, I didn’t decide what to make until yesterday afternoon 🙂 I made a white cake from our cookbook, and the spinach frosting I found on Pinterest, of course!  The spinach juice was really easy to make, but I used our own cream cheese frosting recipe instead of using Sally’s. You know how it is, everyone has their frosting recipe!

I did add too much spinach juice to the frosting, so it turned out to be a glaze. You really can’t tell that there is spinach in the frosting, and it makes such a pretty green color.


Dinette Cake

2 ½ cups flour

2 cups sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups milk

2/3 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

In large mixing bowl, blend all ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes high speed. Pour into greased and floured 13”x 9” pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350º or until tests done.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 Tablespoon soft butter

2-3 Tablespoons of spinach juice

2 cups powdered sugar

Combine cream cheese, and 2 tablespoons of juice.  Mix well; stir in powdered sugar and add extra juice if necessary.


The spring chevron napkins used in this photoshoot are available on our Etsy shop, the Country Bluebird!


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Cast Iron Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Our mom made a pineapple upside down cake for dessert one evening this past week. We hadn’t eaten one in a long time and it was so delicious. The photos are not the best quality because I took them in the evening, but I had to share them with you.

Mom made the cake in a cast iron pan and used a recipe from Grandma, her mother. Because the pan is cast iron, the cake baked faster 🙂 Which, of course, means that we were able to eat it sooner. For this reason, if you are going to make a pineapple upside down cake, you should definitely use a cast iron skillet if you have one!

I searched Pinterest for pineapple upside down cake recipes because I was curious to see if a recipe for a cast iron cake differed from a recipe for a regular pan. (The one Mom used was for a baking pan.) From what I could from could find, it doesn’t matter. Instead of sharing links to recipes for a skillet (like I was going to), I will share the recipe that Mom uses.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1/3 cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices

Maraschino cherries

Whole pecans

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1/3 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Pour melted butter into a 9-inch round pan. Or melt butter in a cast iron skillet. Stir in brown sugar and spread evenly. Arrange drained pineapple slices over the top. Place one cherry in center of each ring and arrange pecans around. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until thick, about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add juice and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Beat in all at once. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Cool before inverting on serving plate.




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Angel Food Cake topped with Berry Lime Sauce



Yesterday, while beef barley soup was bubbling on the stove for lunch and grilled cheese sandwiches were melting on the skillet, I mixed up a blueberry/mulberry sauce to top an angel food cake for dessert. Angel food cake is one of our favorite desserts because of its lightness; we always put a dollop of whipped cream and a few spoonfuls of sauce over it : )

Today, I changed the usual blueberry sauce by adding mulberries and lime juice, both which conveniently needed used up! The lime juice gave the sauce a bright tang that was quite refreshing. Here is the recipe-

Blueberry Sauce

1 package [10 ounces] frozen unsweetened blueberries (I used half blueberries, half mulberries)

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup boiling water

3 Tablespoons lemon juice (or lime juice)


Thaw fruit; drain. In small saucepan, combine cornstarch and sugar; gradually stir in boiling water. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly; cook two minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in fruit and juice. Cool. Makes 3 cups sauce.


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Chocolate Cupcakes Topped with Red Chocolate Frosting


Ahhh, these cupcakes. I was looking forward all day to making them and I knew exactly how they should be–perfect. Well, it didn’t work that way 😉

It was suppose to be a simple, fun project but it turned out to be rather frustrating. First the batter was too thick (I added too much flour) and then I couldn’t get the right color of pink frosting (I wanted a light pink frosting, but I messed up on the dye. In the end, I mixed some cocoa powder in and got this reddish color.) If it wasn’t for the white pearls which help the cupcake’s appearance, and the fact that the cupcakes taste so delicious, I wouldn’t be writing about them!

I used this chocolate cake recipe. It is our favorite chocolate cake recipe–truly the BEST. It made about two dozen cupcakes; each pan took maybe twenty minutes to bake. I made the frosting from a cream cheese base…but lets not talk about the frosting because it isn’t the color I had in mind.

The cupcakes are quite rich, but it is hard to stop at one. I definitely want to try making them again, so I hope my family eats them up fast!


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