I finally started to read Maeve Binchy’s last book “A Week in Winter”. As I mentioned in my Irish Scone posting it is difficult to start reading her last book. It has been sitting on my reading table since I received my pre-ordered copy. Maeve passed away in July 2012 a couple of weeks after she completed this book. She was working on her final changes, which her editor finished. If you read any of her books you know about her rich characters and storylines. Many of the characters are brought into multiple books building a true Irish community through the written word.
I will not say too much about the plot except what is generally already written about the book. Chicky Starr transforms an old, decaying mansion overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and turns it into a hotel for vacations by the sea. She purchased the mansion from Miss Queenie who takes us back to a time when women wore gloves and a hat whenever leaving the house. Riggy, a troubled teen, and Orla, Chicky’s niece, helps with the renovations and planning. We have a wonderful blend of the generations working together and an adorable cat Gloria that transform Chicky and Miss Queenies’ dreams for the hotel. We have older traditions mixing with the technology of Twitter and Facebook! There is a cast of characters who spend opening week at the new hotel. In Maeve wonderful writing style she is able to blend multiple characters and stories together to keep us spellbound! I will spend this afternoon getting lost in her last book!
Today I am sharing the Orange and Pineapple Cake recipe that my mother made for Easter. When I shared our Easter day pictures I had requests for this wonderful cake. It is light and delicious – you will not feel guilty if you have a piece… or two… You can decorate it based upon the purpose of the dessert. For Easter my mother used the marshmallow chicks with a chocolate base and jellybeans. It made a beautiful, festive cake for Easter. If you are making it for a dessert with no particular theme, consider using mandarin oranges for decorations.
1 yellow cake mix
1 small can mandarin oranges, with juices
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 small container Cool Whip, 8-ounce
Mandarin Oranges or topping of your choice
Mix cake mix, oil, eggs, applesauce, and Mandarin oranges including juices. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour in cake mixture and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until toothpick is clean. Chill cake for 2 hours.
Mix together Cool Whip, instant pudding, and pineapple including the juice in a large mixing bowl. Spread icing over cooled cake. Decorate with desired toppings. Refrigerate leftovers.