The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Farm Family Insights: MARCH 15, 2021

 by Natalie Dowell Schmitt

Thinking Out Loud

Double Holiday Delight

Looking at the calendar, I discovered I get to celebrate two major holidays with this month’s article, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. Whether you are a green or an orange Irish (my family are Orangemen), these first two recipes will make everyone feel Irish. I love to make Rueben loaf. It looks so difficult but is amazingly simple. You can make your own bread or you can use ready rise frozen bread. I would suggest making at least two loaves and have friends over to celebrate because you will need extra people around to help you eat the Irish cream cake. This is a recipe shared by Mark’s cousins in Virginia. Wendy and I are two Irish girls who married two German Schmitt boys. We are always trying to squeeze in a little bit of Irish fun into our families.

I have also included a couple of simple Easter desserts to share around the family table. I found the coconut cake recipe in a Rachael Ray magazine. Mark and I could not stop eating this moist and simple cake. We ate the whole thing. I would suggest you use the coconut milk as called for in the recipe. The milk really adds to the flavor. You might be able to substitute whole milk with some coconut extract if you are in a pinch. The recipe will not require the whole can, but I used the remaining milk mixed with a few eggs and cinnamon to make the dip for French toast. The éclair dessert called for a container of frozen whipped topping. I prefer to whip up my own cream with vanilla and powdered sugar for the topping. Either option will work. Enjoy.

Rueben Loaf

3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups flour, divided
1 package yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
1/4 cup Thousand Island dressing
6 ounces thinly sliced corned beef
4 ounces sliced Swiss cheese
8 ounces sauerkraut, drained
1 egg white, beaten

Caraway seeds

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 ¼ cups flour, yeast, sugar, butter and salt. Stir in warm water; mix until a soft dough forms. Add remaining flour if necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about four minutes. On a lightly greased baking sheet, roll dough to a 10-inch by 14-inch rectangle. Spread dressing down center third of dough. Top with layers of beef, cheese and sauerkraut. Make cuts from filling to edges of dough 1 inch apart on both sides of filling. Alternating sides, fold the strips at an angle across filling. Cover dough and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with caraway seeds. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately; refrigerate leftovers.

Irish Cream Cake
by Wendy Schmitt

1 package white cake mix
1 large package instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 cups Irish cream liqueur
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil


2/3 cup Irish cream liqueur
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake ingredients and blend. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt cake pan. Bake 45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Combine glaze ingredients. While cake is still warm in pan, poke holes in cake. I use the end of a large cutting fork to make the holes. Pour glaze over cake. Allow cake to cool in pan at least two hours before removing.

Éclair Dessert

1 stick butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
4 eggs
3 cups milk
12 ounces cream cheese
2 small packages instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whipping cream (whipped with vanilla and 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar)

Chocolate syrup

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil butter and water. Add flour. Stir to form a ball. Cool one minute. Add eggs one at a time. Beat with a wooden spoon. Spread into a greased 9-by-13 pan. Bake until brown about 30-40 minutes. Cool. Make pudding according to directions on package. Pour over cooled pastry. Spread whipped cream over top of pudding. Lightly drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Double Coconut Cake

Rachael Ray magazine

1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering the pan
1 cup shredded coconut, plus 1/3 cup for coating the pan (optional)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup coconut milk, stirred well
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with butter. Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, then grease the paper (or skip paper and grease the pan, dust with 1/3 cup shredded coconut. Tap any excess coconut out of the pan.) Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in 1 cup shredded coconut and the sugar. In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk and eggs. Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until blended. Stir in melted butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove parchment paper. Turn the cake right side up and let cool on the rack. Dust with powdered sugar.


Natalie, Mark and his brother Al, farm together near Rice, Minn. They milked 100 registered Holsteins under the RALMA prefix. Their four children are grown up and all involved in agriculture with hopes of someone returning to the farm. For questions or comments, please e-mail Natalie at