King Cake Season!

It’s King Cake Season: it has been King Cake season since January 6 and it will be King Cake Season through February 28! 

I had never even SEEN a King Cake before until I moved from Birmingham, Alabama to Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the early ’90s. But King Cake is a part of the celebration of Epiphany (January 6), Mardi Gras (literally “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Ash Wednesday) in New Orleans, throughout Louisiana, and all along the Gulf Coast. Mobile, Alabama, has the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States.

The fun of Mardi Gras, including delicious King Cake, is spreading throughout the country. You can now get a fresh, homemade King Cake in Birmingham! I am making both the traditional, brown-sugar-cinnamon kind, as well as a number of filled varieties. Here is a list of the flavors I am making:

Traditional Brown Sugar-Cinnamon, Apple Cinnamon, Cherry, Blueberry, Strawberry, Cream Cheese, Cinnamon/Cream Cheese, Apple/Cream Cheese, Cherry/Cream Cheese, Blueberry/Cream Cheese, Strawberry/Cream Cheese, Pecan Praline, and Mississippi Mud (chocolate).

Place your order today! It’s not quite too late for Super Bowl Sunday, but you need to hurry! The fastest way to order is to message me: I will give you all the details. A large cake (serves 24-30 guests) is $45, and a medium cake (serves 12-20 guests) is $25. I can make gluten-free King Cakes, too: add $5 per cake for gluten-free cakes.


Baking Secrets eBook: Great Gift for Yourself or Others!

You can scour the Internet for recipes that may or may not turn out to be good, and that may or may not have unclear or just plain incorrect instructions.

Here’s an example: I found a recipe online once for Lebkuchen, which is a delicious German holiday favourite: it’s a lot like gingerbread. Well, this recipe called for “pimiento”: you know, those little red things that get stuffed into olives! In a cookie? Yuck. Well, I knew enough German to know that “pimento” is the German word for allspice. Very similar words, but very different foods! I wonder how many people tried making those cookies with pimiento in them.
Anyone can post recipes on the internet. Often these recipes are UNTESTED. And even if they have been tested, they have ingredients and/or amounts that have been incorrectly entered, resulting in disaster for you! All of my recipes have been tested, re-tested, tweaked, and perfected, by me.

But beyond knowing that you are getting tested, tried-and-true recipes, know that you are getting “foolproof” instructions, along with tips and tricks. Too often, recipe instructions are unclear. They can be unnecessarily difficult, or just weird. I give you plain-language, step-by-step instructions.
PLUS for a limited time, I am including a special Holiday Foods Collection. 25 bonus recipes: not just baked goods, but main courses, sides, salads, desserts, and more! This is included in your $6.00 purchase price, but only for a limited time.

Here’s the most important thing: you’re getting a relationship with someone who wants you to succeed. Your $6 for an eBook isn’t just for an ever-expanding collection of tried-and-true recipes with my helpful hints and step-by-step instructions: your $6 is for having me as a personal consultant–forever, whenever. I have already had someone who bought the eBook contact me! He was going to use my Whole-Wheat Bread recipe and needed to know about an ingredient substitution. I answered him immediately. I will do the same for you. All the time.

Click here to get your copy, and to get me as your personal consultant, all the time. Thank you for your support.

New Custom Baking Item and More!

UPDATE: Time is running out, so place your order now!

Independence Day (July 4) is just a few days away. As I did for Mardi Gras, I am baking custom King Cakes, only these will be decorated in Red, White, and Blue for Independence Day, and filled with your choice of a blueberry or cherry filling (or blueberry/cream cheese or cherry/cream cheese)! When you order, please leave me a note specifying what flavor you would like.

If you are local, the cake will be fully decorated. If you need it shipped, the cake will come as depicted, with powdered sugar for the glaze and red, white, and blue sugars for the decoration (if I ship them decorated, the sugar will melt into the glaze). Please note the price does not include shipping. If you need it shipped, I will calculate the shipping based on your ZIP code and send you an email letting you know how much shipping will be.

Because of other commitments, I can only make a limited number, and once my quota is full, I will be taking this offer down, so order NOW by clicking on this link. (You do NOT have to have a PayPal account to place an order.)

The Baking Secrets eBook is also still available, and it is only $6! It contains all of my favorite recipes, including this Banana Nut Bread (pictured below). When you buy the eBook, you also get all future additions and updates, so it is really a great deal. Order today by clicking this link to get instant access.

Something for Everyone

The following is a press release (of sorts) that I did for a friend’s website. Please feel free to share this with your friends too, either by linking to this blog post or by copying and pasting it as your own press release!

John Allen Bankson is an ordained Presbyterian minister, a classically-trained musician and composer, and an avid scratch baker and foodie. There aren’t too many jobs that call for all three of these skill sets, but he manages to combine the three by sharing his interests online. He currently has two eBooks for sale on PayLoadz: “Everyday Miracles: the Sacraments as Ordinary Means of Grace” and “Bengtsson’s Baking Secrets.” “Everyday Miracles” contains a concise theology of the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion (from a Presbyterian/Reformed perspective) and explores why the Sacraments tend not to be integral to our lives as Christians, and why (and how) they should be. It is full of interesting bits of history as well as practical suggestions. Discussion questions follow each chapter, making this eBook ideal for Sunday School classes! Bible Study groups, church officer training, and many other applications. “Bengtsson’s Baking Secrets” offers foolproof, tried-and-true recipes, from Bankson’s family (“Bengtsson” being the original Swedish spelling of his surname), with step by step instructions and a lot of “insider” tips and tricks. More information on both books can be found on the PayLoadz site:

On the music side of things, Rev. Bankson has made three of his choral anthems available on the CadenzaOne website. “Welcome, Child of Mary” is an original composition, with the text drawn from an old Dutch Christmas hymn. The other, “God Our Father (Das Vaterunser)” is an arrangement of a German hymn with a very folk-like character. He has written an English text for this piece (a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer) but has included the original German too. It is great as a “general” anthem or as a Communion anthem. With two sets of words—one in German and one in English—it is also quite appropriate for World Communion Sunday. Bankson’s arrangement of this piece is quite popular both in Germany and in Switzerland: now it is time for American choirs to discover it too! The third, “Hosanna in Excelsis,” is his newest piece, combining the traditional text from the Eucharistic liturgy with an original melody that segues into the well-known hymn “All Glory, Laud, and Honor.”


UPDATE: As of noon on 3/15, only 5 slots left! Order now!

Hamantaschen! Purim is March 22 and 23, so order today! I just had my first orders placed: 2 batches of 3 dozen each. Filled with your favourite flavor of jam filling (apricot is my favourite), or with a caramel-apple filling (delicious), Nutella, or if you want, I can do the traditional fillings of prune or poppy seed. (A batch of poppy seed, however, will cost more due to the cost of ingredients.)

Priced at $36 for a three-dozen batch. That works out to a dollar a cookie. So not as much for a batch of these as for one King cake, but these are more labor intensive. Poppy-seed Hamantaschen are $40 per batch. Message me if you want those as I don’t have a pre-made “button” on PayPal for them yet.

I can’t bake all that many, and I have to lay in supplies, so I would suggest you order yours TODAY! When the slots are all filled, that’s it!