Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everybody!

I appreciate each and every one of you, dear readers!


Thank you so much for reading Plenty Sweet Life!!


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Easter Treats

Here are some past posts for Easter Treats that I think you’ll enjoy! Try them all!

Hopping Bunny Rolls

Hopping Bunny Rolls

Easter Bark

Easter Bark

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Hot Crossed Buns

Iowa Ham Balls

Iowa Ham Balls






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Coconut Cake

The recipe for today comes from my sister, who makes this Coconut Cake a lot. Everybody who tries it absolutely loves it!! It was originally from the Kraft Foods website, and while I couldn’t find the exact recipe that my sister used (she had printed it out and it’s dated 2005 – she’s been making this cake a long time!), you can find a similar recipe here. I modified my sister’s recipe for this post to make cupcakes instead of one big cake. This recipe is totally right up Grandma’s alley and I know she would have loved this one: it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s delicious, and you can have all the ingredients on hand and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Coconut Cake

Prepare as directed on package:

1 yellow cake mix

Stir in:

2/3 cup coconut (7-oz. bag, divided – keep 2 cups for later)

Bake as directed.

Cool 10 minutes.

Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.

Pour into medium bowl and mix with wire whisk:

1 cup cold milk

1 small package (4 serving size) White Chocolate Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Beat with whisk until well blended – mixture will be thick.

Gently stir in:

1-8 oz. tub Cool Whip, thawed

Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

For Cake:

Place 1 of the cake layers on serving plate; spread top with 1 cup of the pudding mixture.

Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of remaining coconut; cover with second cake layer.

Spread top and side with remaining pudding mixture; press remaining coconut into pudding so entire cake is covered with the pudding mixture and coconut.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

For Cupcakes:

Frost top of cupcakes with pudding mixture and top with coconut.


This doesn’t look like a lot of coconut, but it really makes a difference in the batter.


I made the cupcakes instead of cake, but cake would be even faster to make!


I just had to show these pretty little cupcakes!!


First I put on a HUGE amount of the pudding mixture – there’s a lot of it if you’re not making a cake. Then to top it all off – the coconut! I put a lot of that one top, too, just because I love coconut!


Because it IS Easter, after all, I added some eggs for decoration. You could use any kind of eggs or jelly beans for this – go crazy! Kids would love to help decorate the cupcakes.


My intention, when deciding to make cupcakes instead of a cake, was to send these to work with my husband. Well, that’s not happening because there aren’t enough left. Let’s just say they went over well. The cupcakes turned out absolutely beautiful and I can see why everyone loves this cake!!! This one is perfect for any time you need a quick and delicious dessert to take anywhere! Go ahead – be the hit of your Easter gathering – and bring this beautiful cake (or cupcakes).



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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

Thanks for reading!




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Hot Crossed Buns

I make Hot Crossed Buns every year for Easter, mainly because they’re the perfect complement to leftover slices of Easter ham. Grandma’s youngest sister was supposed to have made the BEST Hot Crossed Buns, but I had never seen the recipe until I found it in Grandma’s file. This is a photo of this sister with my mom. She was a WAVE (we think) in WWII, and it looks like she was home on leave.

Hot Crossed Buns

I would say it’s springtime since the garden behind them isn’t looking too green and my mom has a little spring coat on. I was so excited to see that the recipe was in Grandma’s recipe file and that I would get a chance to try it! There are a lot of steps, but it really isn’t that hard or complicated. So here goes . . .

Hot Crossed Buns

Hot Crossed Buns 2

The house smells so good when these are baking!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Hot Crossed Buns

1/2 cup warm water (not hot – 110-115 degrees)

2 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup lukewarm milk

3/4 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes (it doesn’t say if they need to be warm so I made them the day before and they were cold)

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter (I didn’t know how well softened butter would mix in so I melted it and it worked just fine)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup raisins

4 1/4 cups flour, sifted

In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water.

Mix in remaining ingredients except flour.

Add half of flour and beat until smooth.

Add enough of the rest of the flour to handle easily.

Mix by hand (I mixed the dough in my big mixer, but then kneaded it by hand).

Turn out onto floured board and knead until smooth.

Place in greased bowl, flip greased side up (I cover with plastic wrap), and let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch down, put on floured board, cover, and let rest 10-15 minutes.

Divide dough into 2 halves and divide each half into 16 pieces.

Place pieces into greased 9 inch round or square cake pan (I smooth the pieces like I would if I was making buns).

My round cake pans were only 8 inches, so I did have a few left that I just put on a baking sheet.

Brush with egg yolk glaze (beat 1 egg yolk with 2 Tablespoons water), and let rise again until double (30 minutes).

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

Remove from pan and let cool.

Make “X” on top with powdered sugar icing: about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar mixed with 2 Tablespoons or so milk or cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla.


I never really know how smooth is smooth enough when kneading dough. This is how far I went, and you can see the size of the ball of dough before rising.


I cover with plastic wrap so the dough doesn’t develop a skin and have a hard time rising. This is also how much it grew during the first “rise”.


Punch it down, cover it, and let it rest a bit.


I use a serrated knife to cut the dough into pieces.


These are the pieces of dough before and after baking.


You really don’t need a lot of icing for making the “X” on top. I use a snack sized zip top bag as my icing bag. Just put the icing in, zip the top, cut a small piece off of one corner of the bag, and squeeze from the top. Just toss when you’re done!


I LOVE how these turned out – they’re nice and compact.


They’re already in my freezer ready for Easter!


These buns are a tradition in our family and I’m so glad I found this recipe from my great-aunt – they’re my new favorite! It’s a fairly easy recipe and they’re DELICIOUS!!! Try these – it will be your new favorite, too!



Some Fun Easter Ideas

I’m sharing some fun Easter ideas today. We had 8 inches of snow yesterday in Minnesota, and I’m determined to make it springtime, no matter what! So let’s pretend it’s sunny and 70 degrees out there. Things change fast in Minnesota this time of year – maybe it will be that warm by the time Easter is here.

easter bunnies

I made a bunch of these bunnies last Easter and gave them as gifts. They’re so cute and colorful! I found the pattern on a blog called Twig and Thistle and you can get the pattern here.


I make these Hopping Bunny Rolls for family and friends every year. They’re from a cookbook I got when I was 12. They’re delicious and it wouldn’t be Easter without them.

bunny napkin

One of my daughters did these cute bunny napkin folds from Martha Stewart for our Easter table last year (this photo is from Martha’s website, not from our table). They were so cute we hated to use our napkins and ruin the beautiful bunnies!


Everyone is doing their own version of this Easter Bark, and I posted mine last year. It’s so festive and so pretty and so GOOD! It’s easy to do and kids love to help make it!

These fun ideas should get us going to MAKE spring happen. Let’s get it started! Easter is just around the corner!






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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!


Thanks for reading!

I really do appreciate each and every one of you!!


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Hopping Bunny Rolls

Today’s recipe is my family’s favorite and #1 Easter tradition.

It just wouldn’t be Easter without these Hopping Bunny Rolls.

I have to make them every year.

HAVE to.

It’s DEMANDED of me!


There would be mutiny in my family if I even suggested not making these rolls.

I started making them as soon as I got this cookbook from our neighbors for my 12th birthday.

See, everybody knew early on that I loved to cook!!

This is the Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cook Book, copyright 1959 but the tenth printing in 1970.

I’ve had this cookbook for so long – there are a LOT of recipes in here that have become family traditions.


Bunny Rolls

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Hopping Bunny Rolls

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

1 cup milk, scalded (heated to just before the boiling point)

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup shortening (this is one of the few times I do use vegetable shortening)

1 teaspoon salt

5 to 5 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons grated orange peel

Soften yeast in warm water.

Blend milk, sugar, shortening, and salt.

Cool until lukewarm; stir in about 2 cups flour; beat well.

Add eggs; mix well.

Stir in softened yeast.

Add orange juice, peel, and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Let rest 10 minutes.

Knead dough 5 to 10 minutes on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.

Cover; let rise in warm place until double (about 2 hours).

Punch down; cover and let rest 10 minutes.


I don’t make the one that’s a view from the back, only the side view.

The recipe page says to roll out dough and cut strips to roll and make the bunny shapes.

I just cut off a piece, pretend it’s clay, and make snakes to roll into the body and head shapes.

One is a bit shorter than the other – that’s the head.

A smaller piece, pointed on each end and folded in half placed under the head and there you have the ears.

A small piece rolled into a ball and tucked under the back end and there’s the tail.

Put the bunny shapes on a cookie sheet.

Cover and let rise again in a warm place until light and nearly double (45 to 60 minutes).

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Frost while warm with Sugar Glaze.

It says it makes 2 1/2 dozen but I got 18 out of the recipe this time.

I probably don’t make them as small as I should.

Hmm – wonder why?

Sugar Glaze:

To 2 cups powdered sugar, add 1/4 cup hot water and 1 teaspoon softened butter; mix until well blended.

Brush or drizzle over warm bunny rolls.

I have also used warm orange juice and a bit of grated orange peel instead of water in this.

It makes them taste a bit more “orange-y”.


Making these rolls has gotten a lot easier since making them with the big mixer and a dough hook.

I let it run with the dough hook on for about 5-10 minutes at medium speed.

This is how much dough you’ll have before rising.


This is after rising (even though I started another project and let it go a bit longer than usual here).


When you punch down the dough before forming the bunnies, seriously punch it!


These are the bunnies before and after the second rising.


They all have their own personalities!


This glaze is made with orange juice and orange peel instead of water with the powdered sugar.


It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t that bad – you can do this!


They’re so worth it in the end.

Not only are they cute as heck, they’re SO GOOD!!!

Enjoy our #1 tradition!

Hoppy Easter!




Easter Bark

Today’s recipe is so much fun to do!!

I was inspired last year by seeing the Easter Bark post on

It looked so fun and easy to do, I had to try it!

I made some last year for my nephew and the lucky guy gets a batch again this year.

There really isn’t a recipe card so . . . here goes . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easter Bark

Almond bark, candy melts, or white or any kind of chocolate

Powder food coloring (you can find it here)

Assorted candies of your choice (you can make this treat for any holiday or candy lover)

Assorted cake decorating sprinkles of your choice

Melt the almond bark.

If you want to change the color, I would use powdered food coloring because the almond bark might seize up if you use the regular kind.

You could also use the colored candy melts for this instead of trying to color it.

I made two colors with the white, made puddles of each color, and then swirled them together with the handle of a spoon.

Top with your assorted candies and/or sprinkles.

Chill in frig 10 minutes or let sit overnight until firm.

Break into pieces and enjoy!


I used 1 1/2 packages of almond bark – I had some left from Christmas baking.


This is what the colors look like before swirling.


Colors swirled, candy sprinkled, sprinkles sprinkled.

I may have gone overboard on the sprinkling, but it’s just so FUN!!!

Everyone I know is getting some this year!


Learn how to make a pedestal like this one here!


Find some kids or grandkids and have a blast!

They’ll love it and so will you!

So tasty and so much fun!







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