Little Heart Cakes

Last Sunday was Mother’s day, but not for me.  Not because of anything terrible, but by my own choice.  My sons were getting ready for their last week of school….papers, finals, presentations. You get it.  So, being a mother, I just couldn’t say “stop what you need to be doing and come home to appreciate me”.  Sorry, that just isn’t something I can do.  So I called my oldest and told him let’s wait until next weekend when you’re done with school and then have our own celebration of both of you boys finishing out the year and a little Mother’s day on the side.  I could hear the relief in his voice when he said he liked the idea.  To me, this is what being a mother is…you put your family first.

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It got me thinking about all the mothers I work with at the hospital.  It got me thinking about all the women who wanted to be mothers, but couldn’t.  Women who choose to be active in their extended family’s lives and community.  Women who choose to act a mothers in their daily jobs.  Mainly… healthcare workers.  Weekends, holidays, middle of the night….talk about 24/7!  That is what they choose to do.  And then they go home and take care of their own family.  So I decided to make a little treat to take in to work on Monday.  My own little Mother’s day gift to them.

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Strawberries immediately comes to mind.  In season, sweet, healthy and when you cut them in half they look like a heart…..ahhh!  Some pecans as well for crunch and I added fresh lemon balm to give it a nice lemony flavor.  Lemon balm seems to help bring out more flavor in the dishes I put it in.  I use whole wheat and raw sugar because they’re healthier and I like the taste.

I shared the cake with my guys first who gave them their thumbs up.  I took them to work and didn’t have any leftovers.  Next time you want to do something nice, maybe try making these little heart cakes for the Mothers (or anyone who think that matters) in your life.

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You’ll need:

2/3 cup unbleached flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup finely chopped lemon balm

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup fruity olive oil

1 cup raw sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tbs lemon juice

1 cup strawberries, quartered (about 8-9 med/lg strawberries)

1/2 cup pecans chopped

additional strawberries, halved for garnish (optional)

1/8 cup strawberry sauce or fruit nectar (optional)

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Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare mini loaf pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the flours, salt, baking soda, pecans, and minced lemon balm until combined. Set aside

In your mixer’s bowl, combine sugar, eggs, olive oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients and blend until smooth.

Fold in quartered strawberries. Pour batter into prepared mini loaf pan.

Add strawberry garnish…just set berries on top, you don’t need to press them in, the batter will rise to meet them.

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Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack.  Let loaves cool for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and place on a silicone mat.

Poke holes throughout the top of the loaves with a toothpick. Pour the sauce or nectar over the loaves.

Flavors will develop of a few hours or overnight.  Enjoy!

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