Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

My beloved computer is at a friend's house, hopefully being upgraded to the 21st century.  So, I'm writing on a hand-me-down (aka OLD!) laptop that sometimes gets internet connection.  I'll have to add pictures to this post later because my camera is not compatible with this computer(?).  But the good news is that my little pineapple cakes turned out very cute and even more delicious!  Well, I did have some trouble with flipping them out of the ramekins, so they definitely could have looked better, but I still think they're cute!

This was my first time with caramel or any candy, really.  I'm not sure if I did it correctly, but it tasted good.  The first caramel was very thick and didn't cover the bottom of the ramekins (I only used 6 and I'm glad because the cakes were small).  The second never got below 200 degrees on my candy thermometer.  (Rose said it was ready when it was up to 140 degrees, so I'm not sure why mine never dipped down.)  But I let it bubble for a bit over 5 minutes and ended up with about half a cup.  It really tastes good and is definitely going on my yogurt in the morning! 

Speaking of yogurt, I just bought two big containers of yogurt earlier this week (low-fat greek for me and fat free regular for the hubby) and then went out this morning and bought ANOTHER big container of full-fat for this recipe.  Our pot runneth over with yogurt!

These cakes taste good, the pineapple gives a bit of tart balance to the sweet cake and caramel.  I really like the moistness of the cake.  And the cherry in the middle might be my favorite part.  I almost left the cherry out because I didn't want to fork over the extra $3.50 for frozen cherries and I'm not a big fan of canned.  I'm really glad I did!  I'm curious to see how they taste when they aren't warm out of the oven.  And the pineapple caramel is the proverbial cherry-on-top.  My husband who for some reason hates pineapple (the only fruit he doesn't like!), pulled off the pineapple and gave the cake two thumbs up.

Pic 1. Beginning stage of caramel #1.
Pic 2. Before the batter - I cut the pineapple way too thick!
Pic 3.  Bubbly caramel #2.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Wow.  This is super cool.  I was actually quoted by a stranger!  I don't think that has ever happened before.  I'm totally dorking out.  I can't believe that people actually care about/read what I've written.  That blows my mind.

Anyway, I've found some 9x3 in cake pans online, so I know they really do exist.  I'm about to see if they exist in Columbia, SC.  I've also had the epiphany that I am friends with several professional photographers and specifically one that takes food pics (among other things).  So I have emailed Scott Smallin for some advice.  We'll see if he gets back to me in time for my Tres Leches pictures.  In the meantime, here are some of his food pics:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rose's Heavenly Cakes

I ran across a baking book called Rose's Heavenly Cakes. It has completely revolutionized my baking. In fact, it is one of the few cookbooks I have actually forked out the money to buy (at full price none the less) instead of serially renewing a copy from the library. The recipes include weights as well as volume, so all you have to do is set a big bowl on a scale and keep adding stuff until the weights are correct. SO much easier then leveling cups and making a mess with the flour! I LOVE IT! And the few recipes I've made have been delicious. Apparently this is no new trick, Rose has been around forever and is a goddess in the baking world, but considering I'm new to cooking/baking, it's all news to me.

There is a blog called Heavenly Cake Baker which is a bake-along with recipes from the book. I'm going to try my hand at blogging on a schedule. Unfortunately, I can never take good food pictures, but I'll do the best I can! This week featured the Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake. Luckily, I had all the ingredients in the pantry, except sour cream. So I picked up some sour cream from Target of all places and didn't even have to make a run for the grocery store. I did cheat and use regular brown sugar, not the muscavdo. I was visiting my family for our Christmas-in-January party, so it was a great opportunity to share a not-so-sweet sweet.

Unfortunately I am a huge procrastinator and this project is no different. As I mentioned, I was leaving for the two hour trip to my parents' house Friday after work. I was due at work at noon and I put off making the cake until Friday morning! So two hours before work, I started to make the cake. I started by preparing the pan and pulling out some cupcake liners....I'm not sure why this recipe makes a cake and two cupcakes. I'm not sure if this is something I misread because my cake seemed somewhat smaller than the picture in the book, nowhere near filling the pan. But I did read and reread the instructions and went with it. Next, I mixed the chocolate/sugar/cinnamon filling, breaking up the chunks with a fork as suggested. I did take out a stick of butter and two eggs when I first woke up Friday morning. But, of course, the butter was still cool and firm when I was ready to start baking. SO, I stuck the butter in the microwave for a few seconds. And it immediately melted! (You can see that I'm on my way to having a great morning!) This was my last stick of butter, so I considered scrapping the whole project. But I figured I'd try to whip the butter before giving up. It actually ended up fluffing up, slightly runny, looking better when I added the sugar. (I'm not privy to a fancy stand mixer and have to make do with a hand-held.) Next eggs and vanilla and it started to look normal, nicely fluffy pale yellow.

I measured the dry ingredients on the scale (love it!) and added them along with the sour cream in three batches into the wet. I made a bit of a mess with this because I underestimated my bowl size. I made my cupcakes and started to build the cake, adding half the batter, sprinkling the streusel and plopping a few spoons of the batter on top. Unfortunately, when smoothing out the batter, the chocolate mixed in a bit, so it wasn't as pretty as it could have been. Then there was the infamous hold-your-breath-and-flip moment, that ended with a perfectly intact cake on the cooling rack.

The cake itself was very moist and very good, not too sweet, which is what I expected. Everyone liked it, we ate it Friday night as a snack and then again Saturday morning with coffee (the best!). The bites with more chocolate where incredible. I will definitely try this cake again, but I will try adding more of the streusel mixture (double?). I think if the cake can handle it, this will kick it up to incredible for my tastes. All in all, with some of the troubles I ran into, this cake turned out great...and I (barely) got to work on time!