One of my favorite things in life is making a meal for those I love and watching them dive in!  Preparing food is so much more than just a routine daily chore.

It is mental physically and yes even spiritual. I love the table and all it represents. It is the great equalizer. We all come to the table to be fed in so many ways. There is beautiful magic that happens as we sit together.

We  begin to see each other. Really SEE one another.

We share, connect and in those moments we feel a bit of what we were created for.

Connection and community. Belonging. 

Hospitality is such an amazing gift. It is a message we give others about their value. It is not about impressing someone but rather bringing comfort and care.

What a relief. 

So in that spirit last night I made the most delicious easy Lemon Cream Cake (yes it starts with a box cake mix!) with raspberry and strawberry filling.

One of the things I love about this cake is you can make it days ahead (even weeks) and freeze the cake portion

Simple tip:  Did you know freezing cakes before you serve them actually makes them more moist? 

With summer at our door this is going to be one of my go to recipes. Lemon. Berries. Divine.

“Home interprets heaven; Home is heaven for beginners.” Charles Henry Parkhurst


Lemon Cream Cake with Raspberry and Strawberry Filling

1 lemon cake mix 

1 small chocolate instant pudding mix

1 small vanilla instant pudding mix
5 eggs (4 for regular altitude)
1  cup milk
1/2 cup water
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped nuts (if desired) 
shredded lemon peel from two lemons
½ cup flour (if high altitude)
Pint of fresh berries (strawberry or raspberries)
One small jar of berry jam (I like to use blackberry)

Mix first 10 ingredients for one minute on med speed.
Pour into 2 round cake pans (8 or 9 inch) greased well and floured if necessary.
Bake 325 for aprox 40 minutes.
Remove cakes on cooling rack, and bring to room temperature. Cool. You can make this cakes ahead of time and they freeze great. I always keep some made in my freezer.

Cream Cheese Frosting
P1100915 CC Frosting
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
Zest from one lemon
Beat frosting until firm. 
Put fern greens or fresh mint around the cake plate. Add one of the cakes on top.
Add jam and then a layer of berries over jam in the center of the cake.
Add next layer of cake and frost all the cake with the remaining frosting.
Feel free to add a bit of the jam to the frosting and make swirls.
Top with  strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and lemon slices.  Put directly refrigerator and let chill.

I make this cake in the morning for an evening dinner.


Start Simply Cooking: Eighty of our best loved recipes to get you started!


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A perfect gift for the Foodie in your life!

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Dear friends we are so glad you have joined the Start Simply Movement!   Cathy and I feel strongly the table is a great place to connect with people on a deep level. In everything we do we often talk more about the “why” than we do the “how”. Why we cook, why we feel faith is important, why friendships are essential in our lives, and why we should embrace a healthy life style. Both Cathy and I were blessed to grow up with the power of connection through food. We have many memories of wonderful shared meals and beautiful connections. Our parents gave us a legacy of doing life and food well! We have lived it over and over again with our children and now our many precious grand children. We are simply inviting you to come do life with us . . . and share your table . . . simply.

For years I have believed and taught on the reality that people hunger to live a more connected life with their families, and their friends . . . for life to be simple again. The yearning to share ourselves with others is part of our nature as life giving women, something easily lost in the busyness of our culture. We’re so busy caring for our jobs and our families that we just can’t summon the time or energy to think about much else. Especially hospitality and cooking!

What many of us need is to simply be set free. I believe for some it will take a miracle —the miracle of a changed perspective. And that’s what we offer to those who are hungry to lead more beautiful lives and to share those lives with others . . . but also to those who feel inadequate, unprepared, or just too busy to do so. Together we invite you to rethink what it means to begin living simply in everything you do; faith, food, family, friendships and healthy living.

START SIMPLY, but SIMPLY START!!!!! This is our most important message. We are not just about information, but transformation. Keep it simple, keep it real! Remember friends hospitality is giving someone a message about their value it is not about impressing people but rather giving them comfort and care. What a relief!

Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and read though these amazing recipes. I think you will find as we have the best way to start is to simply start. To just begin. And enjoy those you love alone the way with a piece of Maltby Cake in hand!






I know I am driving some of you crazy with all my lemon (did I say I love lemon?) recipes. Forgive me but I had to post this one.

This is the best Lemon Whipped Creme.

It is perfect to pour over fresh fruit this Easter. Great for a brunch.

Simple. Really simple.

But you will see EVERYONE will ask you for the recipe. I promise.


Any and all fresh fruit…peaches, nectarines, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon.

Mix all fruit together in a large bowl.

Make crème topping.

1 small package lemon instant pudding

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons pineapple orange juice concentrate

2 teaspoons lemon or orange rind

Combine all ingredients.

Add 1 container cool whipped topping.

Pour over fresh fruit and chill until serving time. Garnish with fresh mint and thinly sliced lemon and orange slices in the center.


Pie Heals.

I’ve been dreaming about great Easter brunch desserts this week and can’t seem to shake all things lemon. If you love lemon this recipe of for you. If you don’t like lemon this recipe is for you.

It is dreamy good.

The first time I made it years ago my then 80 year father said, “Now this is one good Lemon Pie!” If you knew my father and how opinionated he is about pie you would call that a miracle of sorts.

I love this recipe not only because it is just delicious but because it makes two pies with ease.  Of course I never make my own pie crust (hope that’s not crushing for you…) so I use Mrs. Smith deep dish pie crusts.

For a change up on the top layer I often just whip up some whipping cream and add a little lemon rind and confectioners sugar. Top with blueberries. Divine. Healing.


Pastry for two single-crust pies (9 inches)
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold water
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3 drops yellow food coloring, optional
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-1/2 cups cold 2% milk
2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant lemon pudding mix (I have used sugar free and it works just fine!)


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed


Line two 9-in. pie plates with pastry; trim and flute edges. Line unpricked pastry with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450° for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5-7 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the lemon juice, butter, lemon peel, extract and food coloring if desired. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Spread lemon mixture into crusts. Refrigerate for 20-30 min.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gradually beat in milk. Add pudding mix; beat 2 minutes longer. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Gently spread into pies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.
For topping, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. (I add a couple of drops lemon extract). Spread over tops of pies. Refrigerate until set. Yield: 2 pies (10 servings each).

Adapted from Taste of Home Layered Lemon Pies www.tasteofhome.com


Had lunch today at my sister Terri's house. She is an AMAZING baker…she totally leaves me in the dust when it comes to baking. I told her I am not leaving your house without recipe in hand…and a lemon bar in another!


I mean to tell you here…This is NOT your regular lemon bar…these bars are laced with coconut. Okay it's true I am on a crazy coconut kick…(A trip to Hawaii might help…ahhhh). Anyway…This dessert is amazing when served with a steaming hot cup of coffee….Minnesota style…as in really hot!

The crust is like eating grandma's shortbread butter cookies, the lemon filling tart and the frosting DIVINE!

Have fun…you are going to love these.

Lemon Dream Bars

1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter softened
Heat oven to 350.  Pat into 8 inch square pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare fillings.


2 eggs beaten
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
½ coconut
½ tsp baking powder
Mix and pour over crust. Make at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cool.


1 ½ cups powder sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 tablespoon cream
Beat together until well blended. Frost bars and sprinkle with coconut. Cut in small slices…Cause your going to need to pace yourself….:)

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