Metro-East Living

Stir Crazy: Toots’ makes a sweet move downtown

Banana Upside-Down Sour Cream Walnut Cake
Banana Upside-Down Sour Cream Walnut Cake

If you bake cakes or make candy for a living or just for your own enjoyment, you probably have been in Toots’ Candy and Cake Supply in Belleville. It’s an institution that’s been around 40 years, started by Margaret “Toots” Schilling, who then turned it over to Ann Davis in 2005. If you haven’t heard, Ann has moved her business from North Belt East to the former H&G Music spot in the Old Towne Mall at 314 E. Main St. in Belleville.

“I’ve always wanted to be downtown,” Ann said early last week as she and family worked on setting up displays and decorating the “new” space that is next to the former Pie Pantry.

With lots of free parking behind the building, likely double the floor space she had previously, and plenty of downtown workers and passersby she expects to check out the new location, she has been doing a lot of grinning.

“I am just so excited about all of this,” she said, pointing out where new supplies and decorations will go.

The big bonus with the big space is the chance to expand the offerings of cake-decorating classes, which will be taught by Jessie Bostick.

Since not all the renovations are done yet, customers should use the mall front door entrance on East Main Street (next to her business) or the one at the rear of the building. In time, Ann said she’ll have her own door on the street with window displays on either side. Hours are the same: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and closed Sunday. Call the store at 618-277-7373.

This week two recipes just jumped out and tempted my taste buds. See what you think.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 or follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Slow Cooker Crack Chicken

Try this addictive chicken dish. It’s perfect on its own, on a sandwich, in a tortilla or as a dip.

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts

16 ounces cream cheese

2 (1-ounce) packets dry ranch seasoning

8 ounces bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled

In a slow cooker, combine place chicken, cream cheese, and ranch seasoning. Cook on low 6-8 hours, or on high 4 hours, until chicken shreds easily.

Once chicken shreds, stir with a large fork or spoon, so the chicken and all the ingredients combine.

Add in crumbled bacon and stir to incorporate.

Serve warm. Serves 6.

Banana Upside-Down Sour Cream Walnut Cake

This cake has got it all goin’ on: Walnut cake is good. And a sour cream-walnut cake is even better. What about a Banana Upside-Down Sour Cream Walnut Cake? Bring it on!

3 eggs

1 package (2-layer size) yellow cake mix

1 cup sour cream

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup water

1 package (3.4-ounce) vanilla flavor instant pudding

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 bananas, sliced

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 10-cup tube pan or 12-cup fluted tube pan with cooking spray. Beat eggs, cake mix, sour cream, oil, water and dry pudding mix in large bowl with mixer until blended.

Cook butter and brown sugar in small saucepan on medium-low heat until butter is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring occasionally. Add bananas; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in nuts; pour into prepared pan. Cover with batter.

Bake 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake. Invert cake onto rack; gently remove pan. Cool cake completely. Makes 16 servings.