Leslyn and Chuck

A couple of months ago I did a post about my sister, Leslyn, whom I, well we lost in 2008. But today would have been the 54th anniversary of her marriage. Since their marriage in 1962, their anniversary has fallen on Thanksgiving 6 times. She wasn’t a big fan of the holiday, didn’t like turkey, stuffing or candied yams, but she loved Chuck and that’s what counted. I’m sure she still does and that she is looking in on him this day with her glorious smile beaming with happiness, touched by a bit of sadness that they aren’t celebrating together. Still I didn’t want to let the day slip by without reminding us of the love they shared, after all isn’t that what the holidays are about – love and peace.

leslyn-smith-charles-thomas-1962leslyn-and-chuck-1987-25th-anniversary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Day                              25th Anniversary

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Lest We Forget

DadWWIISaipan, Tinian and Okinawa. That’s all I ever knew about my father’s service with the Marines during World War II. Any time I asked he would say that he was in the South Pacific for more than 3 years seeing action on Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa. That was all, until one night when I was a teenager, and I saw a documentary about the Battle of Okinawa and learned that over 14,000 Allied soldiers died. I asked him if it was as horrible as the film made it seem?

There’s a reason they say war is hell, he offered. I asked what it was like? He related two memories from the 82 days of the battle. He shot a Japanese soldier. He stood looking down at the man, who was about his own age. Peeking out of a pocket was the corner of a photograph. Daddy bent down and gently removed it. It was of a young woman and small girl; his wife and daughter, no doubt. He took the photo of mom and Leslyn (my sister) from his breast pocket. He held them side by side. He was responsible for tearing apart this young family. He slipped the photograph into the man’s pocket again. He looked at his face, the enemy. How had this young man become his enemy? Politicians who were simply seeking great power had said so. Now he was the enemy invader.

The other memory was one that was reminiscent of a horror film. When it was discovered that the Island’s inhabitants had taken to the hills and caves to hide during the fighting, the American troops were sent into ‘round them up’. There were no people to round up, just bodies of men, women and children who died by each other’s hands and their own. The bodies were to be removed via wheelbarrows. He had nightmares about it for years.mike-usmc2Chuck3

AmoWACWar may seem exciting and adventurous, he warned, but it is not something to be glorified or celebrated. The Marine Corps, on the other hand, is definitely worth glorifying and celebrating. When you are the offspring of a Marine you learn early on that “once a Marine always a Marine”. The first song I learned was the Marine Corps Hymn and the first Latin phrase was Semper Fidelis, always faithful. So today, Veterans Day and the day after the Marine Corps birthday I raise a glass to all the men and women who have served in the armed services. Particularly those in my family, Daddy, Mike (my late husband) who served in the Marines during the Viet Nam war (oops, police action), Chuck (Leslyn’s husband) who was a peace time Marine. Has the world ever been at peace?

There are other soldiers in my family, too, several cousins on both sides of my family were in the Navy and my grandmother was a WAC during the Second World War.

War is unhealthy for children and other living things was a popular poster in the 1960s and is just as relevant today, so I honor vets from all over the world today.

In Flanders Fields

By

Major John McCrae

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

poster

 Turn on your green light and light the way home for all the Veterans in the world.

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I was a Bernie Sanders supporter, not so much because I agreed with all his left leaning ideas, but because the country had gone so far to the right (what with Congress refusing to do anything because we elected a Democratic President; refusing to fulfill their Constitutional duty to Advise,  Consent and confirm a justice to the Supreme Court). It’s been like watching Allen Drury’s book come to life, with everyone only out for their own agenda, with no thought to what the citizenry wanted or needed, and least of all what would be best for the country. It’s been painful to experience. I was hoping that with Sanders so far to the left that the pendulum might actually swing the other way and ultimately settle in the center where it needs to be. But no such luck.

So now we had a man who seemed most interested in being in the spotlight, and a woman everyone said is untrustworthy, and likely a criminal. I, however, was unwilling to take it all at face value. So I put on my research boots and started kicking around the internet. The first thing I ran into had nothing to do with the election or nominees.

I ran across a documentary on the Jon Bonet Ramsey murder, after twenty years, it’s still unsolved. It reminded me how outraged people were about the fact that she’d been in beauty pageants for little girls. Her mother was considered terrible for either forcing or allowing it, either way Patsy Ramsey was a horrible person even before she was a suspect in her daughter’s death. That said, it made me wonder just what has happened to society as a whole.

I am not a psychiatrist or sociologist, so I have no answer, but I find it disturbing that television channels like TLC (it used to be The Learning Channel) with shows like Paleoworld are now showing Toddlers and Tiaras. We ought not be entertained watching little girls dress up like adults, often acting like brazen hussies, as my grandmother would have said. And their mothers with their horrid antics ought to be embarrassed. How did the channel A&E (Time Well Spent), who once partnered with the BBC to create the ultimate version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (as well as airing many BBC series) and the original series Biography become home to Killer Kids, and Duck Dynasty?  If entertainment is the mirror of our humanity, we are in deep trouble as a people. We shouldn’t be entertained by other people’s trials and tribulations, by other’s pain and tragedy. What does that say about us?

As a teenager, I was very active in politics, but after a particularly heated argument with a family friend, my mother admonished me. “It’s best not to discuss religion or politics in polite society,” she said. I’ve found it difficult to comply with mom’s rebuke this year. But I’ve been good, thus far. But no more.

I began my research on the internet and moved to books, magazines and newspapers at the library. I really wanted to understand these two people and find the truth about them. Was Trump, a seemingly successful business man really as stupid as he seemed sometimes? Was Clinton really as untruthful as they all said? Is he a sexual abuser? Is she a traitor? I had to find out for myself. And I did.

What I found is that the man so many think would be a breath of fresh air for government appears to be a sociopath. If you question the assertion, let me explain how I arrived at that opinion. Sometime ago I read an article enumerating the seven signs that someone is a sociopath:

Compulsive lying … I was going to put a few examples, but there are so many lies that I couldn’t decide which to use. They range from small insignificant untruths to huge lies, FactCheckers have determined that, on average, only 9% of what he says is the truth.

Emotional detachment … He has been married three times and admits that he had nothing whatever to do with rearing his children. How much emotional attachment is he capable of?

Narcissism … This goes without saying, everything has to revolve around him, only he can do anything. Everyone else is stupid and he’s not. And he’s never wrong.

A reckless attitude … Is there anything more reckless than suggesting the entire world have and use nuclear weapons?

Anger … His anger is so overwhelming, that often he can’t stop himself from saying and doing stupid stuff.

Manipulation … He’s done a pretty good job of manipulating the American public into believing that they are much worse off than they were when President Obama was elected. The facts, however, prove otherwise:

The U.S. trade deficit has shrunk by 24 percent; exports have grown faster than imports.
The number of immigrants in the U.S. illegally has gone down — by 3.4 percent according to one independent estimate and by 9 percent according to another.
The economy has added 9.7 million jobs.
The unemployment rate has dropped below the historical norm. (In Ohio it’s dropped from 6% to 4%)
The buying power of the average worker’s weekly paycheck is up 4.2 percent.
Corporate profits are running 144 percent higher and stock prices have soared.
The number of people lacking health insurance has gone down by nearly 15 million.
A revolving door of friends … I didn’t find anyone who actually admitted to being a friend of his, but if his campaign staff is any indication, it appears that he is unable to keep anyone close.

He is a relatively successful business man. He’s turned the 37 million dollars he got from his father into 500 million. But he’s had far more failures than successes. That doesn’t make him a bad man. Who he is makes him a bad man. In my research I found that he is and always has been a bully, an authoritarian who is a racist, xenophobe, and misogynist. In 1973 Trump was sued by the Justice Department for violating fair housing policies by refusing to rent to people of color. He believed that “laziness is a trait in blacks.” He told the people in Atlantic City that he only wanted, “short guys in yarmulkes” counting his money. As for xenophobia leanings, we all know how he treated Khizr Khan’s parents. Examples of his misogyny are well known and unnecessary to repeat.

Some may consider all of that trivial, but to me it seems a significant indicator of the radical shift in society that has created the possibility that Donald Trump might actually become President of the United States. A thought that terrifies me. I don’t know if I read this or heard it, but it struck a chord; Hitler’s rise was not because Fascism was strong, but because Democracy was weak. I fear that is what is happening here.

While I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton isn’t always truthful (I’ve never seen a politician who is completely truthful). However, I have discovered by reading those books, magazines and newspapers, facts that I did not know about Secretary Clinton. Including, but not limited to, that she is one of, if not the most truthful of all politicians who ran for President this year. A couple of the sites, that keep track of such things, have her a whole percentage point over Bernie Sanders in truthfulness. That triggered even stronger need to find out more about her.

In seeking information regarding Benghazi, something that everyone seems to think was her fault, I discovered that while the American Embassy once asked for added security, no indication was found that the request ever got to the Secretary or that there was more than the single request. Even so, Secretary Clinton took full responsibility, and congress was unable to find anything criminal, after three investigations. Was she held responsible because she was a Democrat and Congress was Republican?

In my continuing research, I found that Cyrus Vance was Secretary of State in 1979-1981, during the Iran Embassy hostage situation, but was not held responsible for it. George Schultz was Secretary of State in 1983 when the Marine Barracks in Beirut was bombed and 241 Americans were killed, he was not held responsible either. And when Islamic terrorists attacked America, Colin Powell was Secretary of State … wonder of wonders, he was not held responsible. Vance served under Jimmy Carter, Schultz under Ronald Reagan and Colin Powell under George W. Bush. So why is Hillary Clinton responsible? Perhaps it is because she is a woman and so must exceed expectation. A double standard?

Colin Powell was also the spearhead for the Iraq war (for which Ms. Clinton is taking a lot of heat because she voted for it). He resigned in 2004 admitting all his decisions were made from faulty information, but he wasn’t blamed for it or 9/11. Why? Perhaps because he is a man.

And for all the discussions of her emails and private server, turns out several Secretaries of State have had private servers. But only she has been accused of treason. Before you jump all over that statement, the so called ‘classified’ emails, I found out, were not classified when she sent them. The information was retroactively classified. Still, no charges have ever been brought against Hillary Clinton.

It is also interesting to note, that the only actual classified emails were hacked from the State Department server (also the FBI and IRS), however, Secretary Clinton’s server was never hacked, maybe she should have used it to send classified information.

I’ve heard people lament their lot in life, I guess because they aren’t as rich as Trump, but before they jump on the Republican Bandwagon, a small history lesson might be in order. Republicans are not good for the economy, they are good for some businesses, who get rich. Republicans tend to want to deregulate everything (as Mr. Trump has said he would do), but please remember, the crash of 1987was a direct result of President Reagan deregulating airlines, banks, wall street, media, and most businesses and industries. Nothing was being manufactured, nothing was being designed and built here, so when the market collapsed, so did the economy, it had nothing to fall back on.

It’s also interesting to note that the country was in a constant state of economic depression during the Eisenhower administration. To some it seemed good because they were comparing it to the rationing during the Second World War, which followed the great depression which was the result of three consecutive Republican administrations.

The oil crisis of the 1970s caused a steep economic down turn, your parents might remember that Nixon was in the White House at the time. The one we all remember because it was not so long ago, was considered a great recession and happened under the leadership of George Bush (as did 9/11).

For some reason people equate the Democrats with a bad economy, but the truth is that the 1990s, during Bill Clinton’s presidency, was the longest period of growth and energized economy in recent history. The 1960s saw the strongest and most progressive social changes in the country’s history under LBJ’s leadership.

So the bottom line is this, the economy hasn’t been as strong as it is now in decades, with a Democrat in the White House.

While Trump was collecting women, making and losing money, without any thought to anyone but himself, Hillary Clinton was playing a crucial role in lining up support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. She was instrumental in securing legislation to provide on-going  medical care and monitoring for the emergency workers and clean-up workers at ground zero. She was a strong proponent of the Pediatric Research Equity Act of 2003 to increase the study of drugs in children. She supported a strong immigration bill that passed the senate in 2013, including an increase for more border patrols. Those are just recent things. She has spent much of her adult life as a champion for children and the disadvantaged.

So there you have it, my take on the whole mess … which, thankfully will be over on Tuesday. Let’s hope so anyway.

Just one more thing. I found something that has nothing to do with the election, technically, but since Trump’s plan is to slash the federal budget, I found it interesting that eight of the states that are gung-ho Trump get from 37%-40% of their respective budgets from the federal government. What will happen to those states if Trump does what he says he will do, and end subsidies and grants? Good luck with that Georgia, South Dakota, Missouri, Kentucky, Montana, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

hillary2She’s the qualified one running, so I’m with her.

 

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Leslyn

JaneElizabeth

I have always loved the sister relationship Jane Austen wrote in Pride and Prejudice between Jane and Elizabeth, and that Andrew Davies emphasized it in the 1995 BBC mini-series. it reminds me of the relationship I had with Leslyn, my sister, seven years my senior. In the early years of their marriage, I felt as though Chuck was jealous of the relationship I had with my sister, and have often wondered if Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley felt the same?

On this, my sister’s 74rd birthday, I am at a loss. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone for eight years, other times it seems like only yesterday we were exchanging stories about our grandchildren over a rich, dark pot of tea, savoring scones and clotted cream. With a pain in my heart that has lessened, albeit only a little over the years, I offer this small tribute. I spent the evening going through a scrapbook Leslyn made to commemorate a trip we took to England. Photos of us standing near the block where Ann Boleyn lost her head, sharing tea at a shop in Windsor after a trip to the castle. Leslyn loved doll houses and we went there particularly to see Queen Anne’s house. We had a wonderful time, the memories of which help to heal the broken heart.

Cassandra

“I watched the little mournful procession the length of the street and when it turned from my sight and I had lost her forever.” Cassandra Austen – 24 July 1817

Jane

 

Cassandra Austen was with her beloved sister to the end. Jane died cradled in her sister’s embrace. “I was able to close her eyes myself and it was a great gratification to me to render her these last services.”

Disneyland Silhouette

Leslyn and me ~Disneyland    Silhouette

tn_Leslyn&me1951

Leslyn and me, 1950

It isn’t possible for me to read Cassandra’s words written to Fanny Austen-Knight after the death of Jane Austen, and not think of the loss of my own sister. Unlike Cass I was not with Leslyn at the end. While I used pressing work and distance as my excuses, the truth was that I did not want to watch the life drain from her body. I had hoped to see her one last time but waited too long. As I was off-loading my luggage at the airport the phone call came. Leslyn was gone. I had rendered no services.

Leslyn, 1945

Leslyn, 1945

We knew it was coming. Like Jane she wanted nothing but death. Unlike Jane it was Leslyn’s choice. At her insistence the machines were stopped and the intravenous tubes removed. It only took a matter of hours for her to breath her last.

We will never again giggle over a batch of grainy fudge, question why a cake fell. We won’t sew together. Leslyn liked to do the basics, seams and such and I liked to do the finishing like hem, facings…the details. We won’t spend hours on the phone speaking of little nothings. No more doll shopping (she was a collector) or antiquing (I’m a collector). My sister is gone. Thankfully her children thrive.

Leslyn Smith & Charles Thomas, 1962

Leslyn and Chuck, 1962

I can only imagine Cassandra’s grief. Of Jane she wrote, “She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow. I had not a thought concealed from her and it is as if I had lost a part of myself.”

As always, Cassandra was stoic in the face of such a tragedy. She was comforted, she said, that God had granted Jane peace by ending her suffering some ten hours before she ceased to breath. Although I suspect that Mr.Lyford’s (Jane’s physician) ministrations that evening may have had something to do with Jane being able to drift off quietly.

At Winchester Cathedral she was laid to rest; an architectural master piece in which Jane took particular delight.

Of the funeral party (her brothers) Cass wrote, “Never was a human being more sincerely mourned by those who attended her remains than was this dear creature.”

As Cassandra said of Jane and I shall say of Leslyn, “Such a sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed. I have lost a treasure.”

And so have we all…

 

Leslyyn '60

Leslyn, 1960

For those of you who follow my blog, this may seem familiar. It is the post I ran last year on Leslyn’s birthday, with the small addition of the video.

Salute our Veterans

poppy

DadWWIISaipan, Tinian and Okinawa. That’s all I ever knew about my father’s service with the Marines during World War II. Any time I asked he would say that he was in the South Pacific for more than 3 years seeing action on Saipan, Tinian and Okinawa. That was all, until one night when I was a teenager, and I saw a documentary about the Battle of Okinawa and learned that over 14,000 Allied soldiers died. I asked him if it was as horrible as the film made it seem?

There’s a reason they say war is hell, he offered. I asked what it was like? He related two memories from the 82 days of the battle. He shot a Japanese soldier. He stood looking down at the man, who was about his own age. Peeking out of a pocket was the corner of a photograph. Daddy bent down and gently removed it. It was of a young woman and small girl; his wife and daughter, no doubt. He took the photo of mom and Leslyn (my sister) from his breast pocket. He held them side by side. He was responsible for tearing apart this young family. He slipped the photograph into the man’s pocket again. He looked at his face, the enemy. How had this young man become his enemy? Politicians who were simply seeking great power had said so. Now he was the enemy invader.

The other memory was one that was reminiscent of a horror film. When it was discovered that the Island’s inhabitants had taken to the hills and caves to hide during the fighting, the American troops were sent into ‘round them up’. There were no people to round up, just bodies of men, women and children who died by each other’s hands and their own. The bodies were to be removed via wheelbarrows. He had nightmares about it for years.Chuck3

Mike O'Rourke, 1996

Couldn’t find one of Mike in uniform.

AmoWACWar may seem exciting and adventurous, he warned, but it is not something to be glorified or celebrated. The Marine Corps, on the other hand, is definitely worth glorifying and celebrating. When you are the offspring of a Marine you learn early on that “once a Marine always a Marine”. The first song I learned was the Marine Corps Hymn and the first Latin phrase was Semper Fidelis, always faithful. So today, Veterans Day and the day after the Marine Corps birthday I raise a glass to all the men and women who have served in the armed services. Particularly those in my family, Daddy, Mike (my late husband) who served in the Marines during the Viet Nam war (oops, police action), Chuck (Leslyn’s husband) who was a peace time Marine. Has the world ever been at peace?

There are other soldiers in my family, too, several cousins on both sides of my family were in the Navy and my grandmother was a WAC during the Second World War.

War is unhealthy for children and other living things was a popular poster in the 1960s and is just as relevant today, so I honor vets from all over the world today.

 

In Flanders Fields

By

Major John McCrae

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

poster

 Turn on your green light and light the way home for all the Veterans in the world.

2016 IS HERE!

2016CalendarFront1656Bwobleed101015website

Janet’s beautiful calendar is here and available JT Originals.

Win the chance to add to your collection or get this one as your first.

beigecalendarfrontThe first year (2013)

(the picture on the front is my mouse pad, too)

calendar2014frontbLast year (2014)

The Christmas Kiss inspired my story, 1st Christmas At Pemberley.

My Mr. and Mrs. Darcy short stories

calendar2015FCwborderThis year (2015)

Janet was the photographer, so you can join her on a P&P tour. And she tells me that the three calendars are still available on her website/blog More Agreeably Engaged.

Doorroses.jpg

2016CalendarFront1656Bwobleed101015websiteThis gorgeous cover is a brilliant homage to Hugh Thomson and the 1894 Peacock Edition of Pride and Prejudice.

pride_prejudice_allen_thomson_coverThought it might be fun to offer a copy of this wonderful tribute to our lovely Jane.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sisters

JaneElizabeth

I have always loved the sister relationship Jane Austen wrote in Pride and Prejudice between Jane and Elizabeth, and that Andrew Davies emphasized it in the 1995 BBC mini-series. it reminded me of the relationship I had with Leslyn. In the early years of their marriage, I felt as though Chuck was jealous of the relationship I had with my sister, and have often wondered if Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley felt the same?

On this, my sister’s 73rd birthday, I am at a loss. It’s hard to believe she’s been gone for seven years, other times it seems like only yesterday we were exchanging stories about our grandchildren. With a pain in my heart that has lessened, albeit only a little over the years, I offer this small tribute. I spent the evening going through a scrapbook Leslyn made to commemorate a trip we took to England. Photos of us standing near the block where Ann Boleyn lost her head, sharing tea at a shop in Windsor after a trip to the castle. Leslyn loved doll houses and we went there particularly to see Queen Anne’s house. We had a wonderful time, the memories of which help to heal the broken heart.

Cassandra

“I watched the little mournful procession the length of the street and when it turned from my sight and I had lost her forever.” Cassandra Austen – 24 July 1817

Jane

 

Cassandra Austen was with her beloved sister to the end. Jane died cradled in her sister’s embrace. “I was able to close her eyes myself and it was a great gratification to me to render her these last services.”

Disneyland Silhouette

Leslyn and me ~Disneyland Silhouette

tn_Leslyn&me1951

Leslyn and me, 1950

It isn’t possible for me to read Cassandra’s words written to Fanny Austen-Knight after the death of Jane Austen and not think of the loss of my own sister. Unlike Cass I was not with Leslyn at the end. While I used pressing work and distance as my excuses, the truth was that I did not want to watch the life drain from her body. I had hoped to see her one last time but waited too long. As I was off-loading my luggage at the airport the phone call came. Leslyn was gone. I had rendered no services.

Leslyn, 1945

Leslyn, 1945

We knew it was coming. Like Jane she wanted nothing but death. Unlike Jane it was Leslyn’s choice. At her insistence the machines were stopped and the intravenous tubes removed. It only took a matter of hours for her to breath her last.

We will never again giggle over a batch of grainy fudge, question why a cake fell. We won’t sew together. Leslyn liked to do the basics, seams and such and I liked to do the finishing like hem, facings…the details. We won’t spend hours on the phone speaking of little nothings. No more doll shopping (she was a collector) or antiquing (I’m a collector). My sister is gone. Thankfully her children thrive.

Leslyn Smith & Charles Thomas, 1962

Leslyn and Chuck, 1962

I can only imagine Cassandra’s grief. Of Jane she wrote, “She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow. I had not a thought concealed from her and it is as if I had lost a part of myself.”

As always, Cassandra was stoic in the face of such a tragedy. She was comforted, she said, that God had granted Jane peace by ending her suffering some ten hours before she ceased to breath. Although I suspect that Mr.Lyford’s (Jane’s physician) ministrations that evening may have had something to do with Jane being able to drift off quietly.

At Winchester Cathedral she was laid to rest; an architectural master piece in which Jane took particular delight.

Of the funeral party (her brothers) Cass wrote, “Never was a human being more sincerely mourned by those who attended her remains than was this dear creature.”

As Cassandra said of Jane and I shall say of Leslyn, “Such a sister, such a friend as never can have been surpassed. I have lost a treasure.”

And so have we all…

Leslyyn '60

Leslyn, 1960

Coconut cake

coconut cupcakes

A friend recently bought a coconut cake because she was ‘in the mood’, we brewed a pot of tea, and after a dinner of salad (so we didn’t feel quite so guilty about the cake) we cut the pretty white cake. Then disappointment set in. It was nothing but a plain ole’ store bought white cake with coconut sprinkled on top. Being an amateur baker, this was entirely unacceptable, so I set out to make a coconut cake that tasted like coconut. As I am not a coconut lover I relied on others who are, to tell me if I accomplished my goal of creating a cake that actually tasted like coconut. Based on the reaction of said coconut lovers, I did indeed accomplish my goal.

A couple of months ago a co-worker mentioned it was his birthday soon, I asked if he’d like me to make a cake. He said no. Then, a half an hour later he came back to me and said he’d changed his mind, he would like a cake and he wanted a coconut cake. I made my new ‘recipe’ as cupcakes for Paul and the rest of the folks at work. They were a huge hit. I’ve had several people ask for the recipe, so figured I’d add it here.

Using a white cake mix, (I used Betty Crocker), I followed the instructions on the box, substituting the oil and water for virgin coconut oil and coconut cream or milk for the water. Not sure if coconut water would work as well. The virgin oil and cream have very nice coconut flavor. I used only egg whites. The one thing I added that wasn’t a substitution was ½ cup desiccated coconut to the batter. I got mine at Jane’s Cake and Chocolate Supply, which is one of the places where I get what I need for baking, gum paste flowers and my chocolate filled candies. However, a colleague at work found ‘dried’ coconut at Whole Foods. After baking the cupcakes, I cooled them on a rack, then put them in the boxes I use. I put the fluffy white frosting in a bowl and added 1 teaspoon coconut extract. I found I needed to add just a bit of powered sugar to stiffen it a little as the extract thinned it a too much. If you decide to use a pastry bag and fancy decorators tip you will probably need two cans of frosting, but if you aren’t using one, just spread the frosting on the cupcakes (or frost a layer cake). One other thing I did was toast some coconut. It was a nice contrast to the stark white of the frosting, and the toasted flavor was nice.

With the left over egg yolks I made a small batch of crème brulee, which gave me a chance to use my kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar on top. Back to the cake.

coconut cupcakes

Printable Coconut Cake Recipe

Coconut Cake-Cupcake

≈≈≈

I often forget to take pictures for the blog, so this time I took them at work which is why one contains photo of the other flavors I made for the staff at work. Chocolate and Red Velvet.cupcakes cupcake

 

If you try this, let me know how it goes. Have a happy and safe Labor Day.