The Terrible Fail of Pineappley Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This is the face of failure.

O.k. it wasn’t a complete failure, two people thoroughly enjoyed this cake. The lesson to be learned here is that certain flavors, like pineapple and coconut are not widely received with wonder and drool. If you want to be admired for your baking skillz: ask first, then bake.

In case you love pineapple here’s what I did:
Yes there is a clearance sticker for 75 cents on that cake mix. I have a family full of deal-hunters and that’s how I end up with box mixes for things like pineapple cake. I don’t like to waste food, but what the heck do you do with a pineapple box mix? I thought of pineapple upside down cake, but apparently that’s made with yellow cake. However it was 10:00 pm on Sunday and I needed a cake for Monday. Thus: Pineappley Pineapple Upside Down Cake (let it be noted that if I had just made the box mix and put frosting on it a lot more of that cake would have been eaten, but still not all of it like in general).

I actually followed the directions on the box and used oil instead of butter, breaking my own rule. But, cold butter isn’t any better and I’m not good at microwave softening, I always make a mess. Plus it was midnight by the time I got back from the store with the pineapple and cherries.

The upside down part is actually really simple, and if your really like measuring I suggest finding a recipe because I literally just threw some stuff together.

First I melted butter in the microwave and divided it into two 8″ round pans. It would probably be easier if you suck at dividing things equally to use a rectangle cake pan, but my cake carrier is for round cakes and I haven’t’ invested in a sheet cake one yet.

Then I dumped in some brown sugar, cracked open my canned pineapple slices, plopped them in (coincidentally there were exactly ten slices which turned out pretty awesome because I could only fit five in each pan), put a cherry in the middle of each slice and then in the middle of the pan just for sass.
That one on the bottom of the picture looks so perfect it seems fake, love it.

Then I divided up the cake batter using my inacurate method of spooning and then eyeballing, and finally “weighing” them in the same hand. Then baked according to the box.

Here is a secret that I inherited from my mother, who’s cakes are way better known than mind. Her’s are beautiful as well as delicious, I’m working on the beautiful part.After you take the cake out of the oven, grab some wax paper and put it on top of the cake. Only let it cool a little bit before you do this or it won’t work. Then take a kitchen towel and press the cake down, I usually do the edges first then the middle. You aren’t trying to kill it so be kind of gentle, but firm. If you do it right, not only will you not have a cake with a dome on top, but you’ll also seal in all of that wonderful moisture from your wet ingredients, and make a denser cake that still has a nice fluff from all of that beating that you did (even using a mix always beat the heck out of the butter before adding dry ingredients and alternate dry with wet). Yes that was one sentence.

And if you like pineapple you’ll probably want to cut into this right away after stacking them, no frosting required.


Click it, I’m not even going to tease you with a photo.


Monday Cake, that’s actually cookies and… really late.

Here we have Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies. Since I’m so awesome at this already I totally meant to load all of the photos in one big grid instead of some inane tutorial which may have helped you replicate my baking madness. Exactly.

This is the original recipe, including all typos and omissions of directions. You can point them out if you want to in the comments, I might even be surprised.

Great Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
1tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup ( 2 sticks ) butter or margarine softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup Libby’s Solid Pack Pumpkin
3/4 cup chopped nuts               optional
3/4 cup raisins                             optional
Decorating icings( in tubes )  optional
NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet chocolate Morsels ( I use the mini chocolate chips ).

COMBINE: flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin: mix well. Stir in nuts and raisins. For each cookie. drop 1/4 dough onto greased baking sheet; spread into pumpkin shap about 3 inches across. Add dough to form stem.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are firm and lightly browned. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with icing and morsels, candies, raisins, or nuts.

This is what I did and as I go I’ll tell you how I think it went wrong:

First I took a can of northern beans and dumped the whole thing in my tiny blender (photo 1). Then I pureed the heck out of it (photo 2). After the fact, I realized that it wasn’t such a good idea to dump the whole can in; next time I would reserve at least half the liquid, maybe more. The purpose of the bean puree is to replace up to half the butter. I only replaced about a third of it because they ended up so runny, but with less liquid in the puree you can replace more. When adapting a recipe is not really a good idea to replace more than half the fat this way, even if the fat is oil. You need some fat.

Then I mixed all the dry ingredients together (photo 3), except the sugars. However, I didn’t use all-purpose flour. I use whole-wheat flour, primarily with some combination of oat bran, wheat bran (untoasted), and wheat germ mixed in. I really can’t tell the difference between them and I never remember to label them after I dump them into mason jars so I can’t tell you how much the ratio was other than I like to use at least half, preferably two-thirds flour.

A note on cakes: if you eat butter always use it if you have it, it tastes so much better than oil.

After I creamed the butter and white sugar together (photo 4) I realized that I had less than half of the brown sugar I needed. So I made some, with white sugar and molasses.  It was lumpy, but delicious, so I went with it (photo 5).

Then I alternated the dry mixture with the pack pumpkin and other wet ingredients (photo 6). These turned out more like I tried to make a quick bread into a cookie: tasty but so moist they became a happy commune in the container on the way to work. The oats to flour ratio did not suit me. I like my oatmeal cookies moist, but practically a granola bar. Although in the last  picture I think they look way crispier than they actually were.

edited 10-20-2010 for continuity reasons.

Howdy and Cheerio!

This is a cake I made for a friends birthday. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but the frosting was a very pale blue, with pink writing and flowers. I cannot describe neither the look on her face when we cut into it, nor  the sound that she made. I can tell you that I love making cake, not because I like to eat it, but because I like to watch other people enjoy it. That’s the fun part for me.

So when I read All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray I was hooked. A cake every Monday? What better day for cake? And since Monday nights are usually the most hectic of my week, (I work at a bookstore and getting ready for Tuesday is never quite easy) where I need the most help from my team of associates: what better way to make everyone excited for Monday’s than cake?

Since I started this over two months ago I’ve only missed one Monday due to illness and I’ve only brought in store bought twice. I consider this a feat.

The reading part of my little corner of the internet is just a little something extra because I consider myself a voracious reader, devouring books rather like a certain Monday night regular devours whatever I bring in.