Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Halloween Bundt Cake

Today’s post is for a Halloween Bundt Cake as I continue my quest to make a year of Bundt Cake using the same recipe and changing it up for each holiday. If you follow this blog with any regularity, you might have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the last 6 weeks. Well, I ended up in the ER one night at 2:00 am and after spending a week in the hospital with a bit of complication from pancreatitis and gall stones, had gall bladder removal surgery. Recovery has been long and tough (in my opinion), but I’m on the mend and hope to be back to posting with some regularity again soon. About a week ago I realized that Halloween was coming up and that I had to get a Bundt Cake done to continue the year. It was a challenge, to say the least. She wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but I did the best I could under the circumstances. This post will be a bit brief (because this is still exhausting to me right now), but I still think it’s a good idea.


I just love this recipe.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Halloween Bundt Cake

Mix all together:

4 eggs

1 cake mix (I used Devil’s Food for this one – it IS Halloween, after all!)

1 small box instant pudding (I used chocolate for this one)

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

Put batter into well buttered bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Cool in pan 25 minutes.

Turn cake out onto rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 Tablespoons milk, or more to get the consistency you want

Spoon or pipe over top of cake.

Top with sprinkles or colored sugar before glaze dries.

I drizzled this cake with a Vanilla Glaze, and I colored half of it with green, the other half I left white. Full disclosure – I had to make the glaze thinner than I usually do because I was too weak to mix it when it was thicker. Ugh. This surgery has really put a damper on things for the holiday season. I sure hope I can get some stamina and strength back before long. Next, I put sprinkles on top, and that in itself was a beautiful cake. It would have been festive if I left it just like that.

What I had in mind was more like the malts or shakes that you see all over the internet now, where it’s totally loaded with all kinds of goodies. So I put treats on top. Lots of treats. I stuck toothpicks into the bottom of the candies and poked them right into the top of the cake. There were a few suckers that I stuck right in there.

There is a fine line between putting the treats on and putting TOO MANY treats on. Too many and they start to tip over – the cake is only so dense. It looks very festive and would be fun to do for a Halloween party, or to send to a college student, or just to celebrate the holiday. Have a Happy Halloween, everybody, and try this recipe for Halloween Bundt Cake – see how much fun you can have decorating it for Halloween and each and every special occasion!


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everybody!! Stay safe out there!

Thanks for stopping by!



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Warm Pumpkin Spice Drink

I love Halloween. I always have. I love the old-fashioned black and orange decorations of flying witches, scary pumpkins, and jointed limbed skeletons. I love the costumes, as Lucy says in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, “in direct contrast to her own personality” to dress up in and hide behind. I love the crispy sound of dry, colored leaves blowing and tumbling along the street. I love the eventual stark and empty tree branches silhouetted against a cloudy and misty sky. I love the fields full of haphazard pumpkins and gourds on their drying, twisting vines. I love the smell of a burning pile of leaves raked up and out of the yard by the family on the golden afternoons in October. I love the kids as they ring the doorbell, so proud to show off their costumes and shout the customary “trick-or-treat!”, running through the neighborhood and ruling the world.

You can see the beginnings of my love for Halloween in this photo from 1963. I started young. I wasn’t quite 2 years old, but totally ready for Halloween and trick or treating at my Grandma and Gramp’s house! By the reach of that hand trying to get the door open, you’d almost think I knew that there was candy inside there! Ha!


I wish I still had the 101 Dalmatians costume!! That trick-or-treat bag is almost as big as me!

My love of Halloween is equal to my love of pumpkin. The recipe for today is one of those pumpkin recipes that I found when I was sick and on the couch and spending way too much time on Pinterest. There are so many interesting things to make with pumpkin out there now, and as you can tell by my latest posts, I am determined to try as many as possible this fall. I am always on the lookout for a warm beverage to cozy up with and enjoy in the evening, so I don’t like it to be caffeinated and I don’t like it to have too much sugar in it. This one does the trick. I found this delicious Warm Pumpkin Spice Drink on the blog Apple of My Eye, and this was one I had to try.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Warm Pumpkin Spice Drink

2 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk or milk of your choice

2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (I used my frozen pumpkin stash)

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

whipped cream for topping


This drink really doesn’t have very many ingredients, but man is this good!


I warmed it (I wouldn’t bring it to a boil) on the stove instead of the microwave.


You can leave it plain, but I’m always one to gild the lily when I can, so I topped mine with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I suppose if you really wanted to, you could add a splash of your favorite adult beverage to this.


Kids would love this drink, especially this weekend before Halloween. Maybe this would be nice after a tough evening of trick-or-treating. I think adults would like this delicious drink curled up in front a roaring fire, in your jammies, wrapped in your favorite quilt. Just enjoy the warm deliciousness and drift off to sleepy land. Nothing more cozy than that! How are you going to enjoy this warm cup of coziness?





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Mulling Spices

I love cider. You can have cider all through the fall and into the winter. This recipe for Mulling Spices is great for cider, wine, or even tea. It makes a great hostess gift, or even a potpourri. I could see having this sitting out in the living room throughout the holiday season. The scent of it is amazing, and incredibly fragrant. You can really use any combination of spices and citrus rind to spice up your warm beverages.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Mulling Spices

Dry in the oven at 250 degrees for 20-30 minutes:

Orange peel (white pith scraped off, if possible)

Lemon peel

Thinly sliced ginger

Mix together and pound a bit (I put all of the whole spices into a zip top bag and pounded it with my rolling pin):

Cinnamon sticks

Star anise

Whole nutmeg

Cardamom pods

Whole allspice

Whole cloves

Vanilla Bean

Mix these all together in a bowl, put into cheesecloth or  drawstring bag, and give as a gift or use in your beverage.

To mull cider: Heat 1 quart cider with one packet of spices and sliced oranges or apples.


I love all of these spicy ingredients.


They’re pretty enough to have sitting out in a pretty glass bowl. They smell great, too!


I cut a square of cheesecloth and put about 2 tablespoons of spices into it. I cut pieces of a vanilla bean and put a piece into each cheesecloth bundle.


You can find drawstring tea bags online, but I just used cheesecloth and tied it up with kitchen string. The batch I made was enough for about 4 bags.


Put them in a jar, put a pretty ribbon around it, and you have a very nice hostess gift for all of your holiday gatherings.


I warmed a quart of cider with a sliced orange and one of the bags of spice mix for about 20 minutes.


This mulled cider makes the whole house smell like a holiday!


You can garnish your cider with a cinnamon stick, a slice of orange, and/or a slice of apple. Make sure to slice the apple across the middle so you can see the star! I hope you make this wonderful mulling spice mix. It makes a nice gift  – and make some for yourself, too!




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Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Cake

This isn’t a cake made with pumpkin, it’s a cake SHAPED like a pumpkin! I made this cake for years to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday. Her birthday is actually the first week of November, but her parties seemed to end up being birthday/Halloween parties during the elementary and middle school years.  She’s all grown up now, but since we can’t get together to celebrate during the first week of November, we celebrated on Halloween and she requested a nostalgic traditional Halloween dinner birthday celebration with our traditional Halloween Lasagna and Spider Bread. This Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Cake was her birthday cake. I don’t have an actual recipe for making this pumpkin (because I saw it somewhere years ago and just tried to make one from a photo), so I’ll just type it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Cake

Use 2 boxes of cake mix to bake 2 cakes, baked in a bundt pan according to the box directions. Use enough of the cake mix batter to make 1 cupcake to use as the stem. I use chocolate (this daughter is a chocolate girl) but you could use any flavor of cake mix.

Use 2 containers of Vanilla Frosting (I know, I know – I usually don’t use store-bought, but when I started making this cake years ago, I had 3 children under the age of 10) to make the green or chocolate frosting for the ribs, tendrils and/or leaves, and stem, and the orange pumpkin frosting. For the chocolate or green stem frosting, I add a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder or a bit of green food coloring. For the pumpkin frosting, I used orange food coloring.

Use 2-3 Hershey Chocolate Bars, cut into triangles, for the jack-o-lantern face. I usually get at least 2 because sometimes it won’t cut exactly the way you want it to. If you have 2-3 bars, then you have back-up (and I’m sure you can think of something to do with the extra).

This is also a great cake for Thanksgiving instead of, or in addition to your pies. It serves a lot of people since it’s two cakes in one – just leave off the face!


I greased and floured the bundt pan – we want no sticking! In this case, it doesn’t matter if the flour shows since the whole cake will be frosted. Don’t forget to make one cupcake for the stem.


Before frosting the cake, I use strips of waxed paper around underneath so you can pull them out later and keep your cake plate clean. You can see how to make this cake plate here. Put the first cake upside down on your cake plate and put some frosting on top of that to stick the top cake on.


Put the top cake on and line up the lines of the cake. Then get started with the frosting. You can see the lines of the cake here. I follow them with the green frosting to make the ribs. I also had to put some frosting around the top hole so the cupcake stem wouldn’t fall into the middle. You could also use a couple of toothpicks to hold the stem on as long as you remember to take them out before serving. Then I used a piping bag and put the frosting on the stem, ribs, and vines.


You could also use candy corn for the face and to make some decoration around the bottom. I used the last of the green frosting to make some vines around the bottom edge of the cake. Use a very sharp knife when cutting the face pieces. For some reason, I had a hard time with the candy bar I used. It kept cracking.


This is also a great cake for Thanksgiving instead of, or in addition to your pies. It serves a lot of people since it’s two cakes in one. Just leave off the face! Decorate it with candy corn or pumpkins.


This particular cake used two bundt cakes, but I think you could do the same with just one bundt cake.

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We’ve had fun with this Halloween/birthday cake over the years. Try this pumpkin cake for your next fall or thanksgiving gathering. It’s fun and festive!





Old Black Witch and Her Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes

Happy Halloween, everybody! I’m sharing a favorite children’s book today, in honor of Halloween. It’s not necessarily a Halloween book, but I love it! It’s called “Old Black Witch” by Wende and Harry Devlin. You can order it and read the reviews of the book here. It’s the story of a mom and her son who move to New England and open up a tea room. Once they move in, Old Black Witch turns out to be quite the troublemaker. It’s a great story and the illustrations are adorable. The book even has Old Black Witch’s recipe for Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes on the back cover.

Happy Halloween 2015


It’s a little hard to read the recipe, so I’ll type it out here.

Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup milk

3 Tablespoons melted fat or oil

1/2 cup washed blueberries

As you stir in the blueberries (this is the magic part) say three times:


Gobble dee gook

With a wooden spoon

The laugh of a toad

At the height of the moon!


Pour on a hot griddle and watch.

You can make things disappear just like Old Black Witch.

Put three pancakes in front of any boy or girl and watch them go!


Both kids and adults will love this book! I haven’t tried making these pancakes yet, but I will! I hope you will, too!

Enjoy the weekend and stay safe!



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Halloween Treats

All week I have shared treats appropriate for the season and today I’m sharing a selection of Halloween Treats from past posts! They’re quick and easy to make (and delicious!) and I know you’re going to love them!


Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds


Halloween Popcorn Balls


Rollo Pretzel Treats for Halloween


Chocolate Rice Krispie Cookies


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Graham Crackers – Frosted

Halloween is such a fun time of year. It’s always been one of my favorites. I love the smell and sound of the leaves  skipping down the street when they’re blown along with the wind – I loved to rake them into a pile as a child and then jump in them and then do it over and over and over and over again. I love the costumes – I was always a gypsy as a child because it was a ready-made costume – one of my grandma’s old dresses, a scarf around my head, and after raiding my mom’s jewelry drawer, I was all set! I love the trick or treat aspect – I loved doing it when I was little, except for the year my little sister was sick and couldn’t go and I had to give her half of mine. Now I love to give the treats in some kind of a treat bag that because that always made me feel special when I was trick-or-treating. I love the colors of Halloween and the decorations – I usually try to use natural and vintage decorations instead of going for the blood and gore. Today’s recipe is another treat that is perfect for fall – all full of caramel and festive sprinkles. I recently found this recipe for Graham Crackers – Frosted written in Grandma’s handwriting, but in an earlier post, I had done another recipe that came from one of Grandma’s sisters called Graham Cracker Cookies. They are similar, but not exactly the same. So I decided to make this one, using a bit of the Halloween Bark treatment. Just like the Halloween Bark, you can dress this up as much or as little as you’d like, in seasonal or special occasion sprinkles or candies. The possibilities are endless. It’s still hard to determine, as with the other recipe, whether this is a cookie or a candy. It really could be either one, but my vote is for a candy.

Graham Crackers - frosted

Both recipes are highly addictive. Just sayin’.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Graham Cookies – Frosted

Layer a baking sheet with graham crackers (I used about 1 1/2 packages).


1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar


1 cup walnuts, chopped (I’d say about 1 cup)

Pour over the top of the graham crackers, smoothing and spreading if you need to.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or so, watching closely.

After removing from oven, I immediately put on the sprinkles and candy corn.

Break up after it’s cool.


I don’t know why this keeps happening, but I ran out of walnuts again, so I had to use some sunflower seeds to supplement. It wasn’t bad.


When it first comes out of the oven, it’s bubbling away like molten lava. I let it sit for a couple of minutes and then started the sprinkling.


After it’s cooled, you can break it up into pieces or do like I did and cut it on the cracker lines. This candy/cookie is almost like a caramel. It’s coated with the caramel goodness on both sides and is literally surrounded with caramel!


This is so easy and so pretty! Here’s another incredibly delicious candy to try – but be warned – you’ll have to hide it if you want any left by Halloween! These caramel treats are another one that’s highly addictive!!!


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Halloween Bark

You see this Halloween Bark all over the internet and I thought it was so cute and festive, I just had to try it! It’s similar to the Easter Bark I made a year ago last Easter. This isn’t something you’d eat a lot of (it’s plenty sweet!), but it’s very festive and can look as much like Halloween as you want. You could also use this as Thanksgiving Bark because most of the colors in it are fall or harvest colors. You could make Christmas Bark, you could make Valentines Bark, you could make Birthday Bark, the list goes on and on. There really isn’t a recipe for this, you can put anything you want in it, so I’ll just type out what I did.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Halloween Bark

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sprinkle baking sheet with broken up pretzels, peanuts, candy corn, chopped chocolate sandwich cookies, whatever you want in it.

Melt one package of almond bark and pour over top.

Spread the melted almond bark over the chopped goodies.

Top with more peanuts, candy corn, chopped chocolate sandwich cookies, and sprinkles of your choice.

Let cool and harden.

Cut or break into pieces.


You can also use the chocolate sandwich cookies with the orange filling.


There is just enough almond bark to cover one baking sheet.


You can put as many sprinkles and goodies on it as you can! It’s so pretty! It looks like a party! I just love it!


This also makes a great Halloween gift or hostess gift. Just put some in a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty Halloween ribbon.


It cuts or breaks into pieces very easily. I like the look of the cut pieces.


This is really good, but “plenty sweet”! I’m glad I put both pretzels AND peanuts in it. The salty bits make it so good – sweet AND salty! It’s very festive and pretty for the season! Make up a batch and treat your family and friends – they may “trick” you in return!



Lasagna and Spider Bread

Happy Halloween, everybody! I’m sharing a couple of favorite things today. First, this is the oldest Halloween decoration I have from my childhood. We’ve had it as long as I can remember. Isn’t he cute?!!!!


Second, I’m sharing our traditional Halloween dinner. Our oldest daughter’s birthday is the first week of November, so over the years she would have Halloween themed birthday parties. I made this dinner one year for one of those birthday parties and it’s been a tradition ever since. We even managed to have it every year through the college years, not necessarily on the day of Halloween, but at some point during the month. There is no recipe card for the bread – I saw it somewhere once and just figured it out. I will show you the recipe for the lasagna. It comes from the Better Homes and Gardens HOLIDAY COOK BOOK for Special Occasions, which was a birthday present I received from our neighbors on my 12th birthday! So without further ado, I present – our Lasagna and Spider Bread!


This really is a great recipe!

Here is the recipe as I made it:


1 pound Italian sausage, pork sausage, or ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon chopped parsley (I used dried)

1 Tablespoon dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1-pound can (2 cups) tomatoes

2 6-ounce cans (1 1/3 cups) tomato paste

1 10-ounce package lasagna noodles

2 12-ounce cartons (3 cups) large-curd cream-style cottage cheese

2 beaten eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley (I use dried for this, too)

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced thin (or you can use shredded to make it easier to distribute the cheese)

Brown meat slowly; spoon off excess fat.

Add next 6 ingredients to meat.

Simmer, uncovered, until thick, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook noodles according to directions on box.

Combine cottage cheese with next 5 ingredients.

Place half the noodles in 9″ x 13″ baking dish; spread half the cottage cheese mixture over; add half the mozzarella cheese and half the meat mixture.

Repeat layers.

Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Spider Bread

Put frozen bread dough loaves onto greased baking sheet.

Spray plastic wrap with non-stick spray and cover loaves.

Let thaw and rise overnight.

Remove wrap and form loaves into spider shapes.

Let rise 1 hour.

Brush with 1 beaten egg.

Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes, depending on size of spider.

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See how cheesy and delicious the lasagna becomes after baking!


I use frozen bread dough (I did make this with 3 children, originally), but you can sure make your own bread dough to use if you want to.


The dough is puffy and bubbly, so you have to punch it down before forming the spiders. I use the same plastic wrap to cover them while rising.


They come out puffed and golden and hairy (the poppy seeds are supposed to make them hairy looking) and not too scary.

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Add a green salad and you have the perfect Halloween meal.

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This lasagna is good anytime, not just on Halloween. Try these for your little trick-or-treaters. They’ll hold off on the candy if they get to pull apart and devour a big spider!


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