Individual Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

I remember my mom making pineapple upside down cake for us all the time.  She made it in her old cast iron skillet and I remember thinking how exotic it was because it was made with Hawaiian pineapple and had those red cherries in the center of each slice.  I would always stand there in amazement when she would flip it out onto a plate and it would be all shiny and bubbly and smelled so amazing.  I can’t say that it was my favorite dessert but I loved it on those occasions when she would make it for us.

These little gems are incredibly good. While they may not stir the imagination the way my moms upside-down cake did, they sure get my mouth watering.  There is something about the smell of bubbling caramel that just makes you salivate.  These are simple to make and are an elegant dessert for a dinner party and are just big enough to satisfy that midnight sweet tooth.

I have to admit that I cheated.  I certainly wasn’t going to buy a fresh pineapple and go through the trouble to peel, core and slice it for these little cakes when perfectly adequate canned pineapple slices are available.  I’ve also made my opinions clear on buying these single use pans.  And I have to say, who is getting what for endorsing this ridiculous pineapple pan.  I can see absolutely no use for ever buying this pan.  It even seems silly to use it for these cakes when ramekins work perfectly fine.  I hope I haven’t offended anyone who went out and bought this pan to make these cakes, just my opinion here.

The pineapple slices are drained and patted dry as well as the cherries. 

The sugar, lime juice and butter are boiled to dark amber (300 degrees) and then poured evenly into the molds.  I skipped the heatproof glass container business.  Who needs another thing to wash.  The caramel is allowed to harden and then the pineapple slices are added and a cherry goes into the center of each slice.  Then on to the batter.

The egg, vanilla and part of the yogurt are mixed together and set aside.  The flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt are mixed together, then the rest of the yogurt and butter are added until the mixture is moistened.  The egg mixture is added in two additions and then the batter is spooned into the pan and into the oven they go.

cakes ready for baking

My cakes tested done after 20 minutes at 350 degrees in my convection oven.  Then they are unmolded onto serving plates and allowed to cool.

The baked cakes

 To make the caramel drizzle the sugar and part of the pinapple juice are heated to 300 degrees to make a deep amber caramel.  While the sugar is caramelizing, the remaining pinapple juice is heated.  When the sugar mixture comes to temperature it is taken off the heat and the remaining pineapple juice is added and the mixture is heated to 170 degrees and then set aside to cool.

I thought these cakes were delicious and I will certainly be making them again.  I think I may experiment and try to make just one big cake like my moms old fashioned upside down cake.  I have to admit that I didn’t particularly care for the drizzle.  I found it to have a slightly burnt aftertaste which I didn’t really mind but didn’t think it enhanced the flavor of the cake.  I enjoyed them better plain.  All in all these little beauties are a winner.

Next Up:  True Orange Genoise

Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake

Being diabetic in a household of diabetics, I make alot of angel food cakes.  We have them plain, with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, vanilla custard.  You name it.  So when I saw this weeks cake selection I thought, “Oh great, another angel food cake”.  At least I knew that everyone would like it and I wouldn’t have to toss it or unload it on my unsuspecting co-workers.  Imagine my surprise when I took my first taste.  This was absolutely delicious. I was amazed at the depth of character that just 2 ounces of chocolate delivered in this cake.  Almost as surprising as that tiny bit of cinnamon in the Chocolate Streusel cake.  It struck me as soon as I took it out of the oven.  What a deep and pleasant aroma, not the usual sugary sweetness of a traditional angel food cake.  This has alot more egg whites that my usual angel food recipe but the taste is well worth the extra egg expenditure. 

The cake goes together pretty much like a traditional angel food cake. The whites are beaten with the sugar into a stiff merinque.  With 2 teaspoons cream of tartar and 3/4 cup of sugar you can pretty much forget about any danger of over whipping these egg white.  Once they are beaten to stiff peaks you simply fold in the flour mixture and the grated chocolate and bake.  My cake tested done after 30 minutes in my convection oven at 325 degrees.  I just inverted the cake on a wine bottle and left it to cool.  Actually I got kind of busy and it stayed there overnight.

The stiffly beaten egg whites

The cake ready to be baked

In the morning I unmolded the cake and sliced it into three layers.  I whipped my heavy cream and folded in the ground almonds and grated chocolate.  I filled the layers and then frosted the entire cake with the rest of the whipped cream.  Then I decorated the cake with the mini chocolate chips.  Rose’s instructions say that it is easier to get the chips to adhere if you pelt the cake with them.  She is right, they really adhered and I had a great time doing it but now I am finding those little suckers all over my kitchen.  I guess I had too much fun.  I really don’t find this a particularly attractive presentation but what it lacks in visual appeal it makes up for in whopping good taste.  To be perfectly honest.  I think this cake is so good, it is a shame to frost it.  The next time I am skipping the whipped cream and serving it naked.  You all need to try this cake.

 

Next Up:  Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes.

Torta de las Tres Leches

I was very dubious about making this cake.  For years people have been telling me how delicious it is but somehow the thought of eating a cake that has been soaking in milk was just very off putting.  I have never been a fan of very wet foods like that.  I generally don’t like many condiments on my sandwiches and usually prefer my meats cooked dry so imagine the thought of eating this sopping wet cake.  It also has the ring of those horrible Jello Poke Cakes that my mom used to make for us to snack on.  I despise Jello and I totally hated those cakes with the pink and green sugary stripes in them.  Totally disgusting.  Well, this cake for some reason reminds me of those childhood nightmares.  I decided it was time to throw in the towel and make this cake once and for all and see for myself what all the hubbub was about.

The cake is simple to put together.  The eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt are combined and then heated over simmering water.  I found it odd here that the recipe was so vague on temperature.  On every other recipe we have made where things are heated or cooled Rose has been very specific with temperatures (to the point of distraction sometimes) and here all we get is heat the mixture until “quite hot”.  Oh well, I have done this procedure many times before so I just proceeded on my own instinct.  Once you have the mixture hot you beat it until almost tripled. 

Whipping the heated egg mixture.

 It becomes very thick and billowy and a beautiful light lemony yellow. 

The fully whipped egg mixture

Then you simply fold in the sifted flour in two additions and scrape it into the pan and bake. 

Folding in the flour

The recipe states the the cake will rise and dome in the center and form a crack.  My cake didn’t dome in the center nor did it form a crack.  Instead, mine was high on the edges and sunk in the center.  Not a lot but it did sink in the center. 

The baked cake with the sunken not domed center

Maybe my “quite hot”  wasn’t “quite hot” enough.  I am really at a loss here as to why this happened as I followed the instructions to the letter and all looked good going into the oven.  At any rate the cake was nice and high all around and was even (except for the sunken center) and it tested done so out of the oven it came.  I unmolded it and reinverted it right side up and let it cool.

While the cake was cooling I went on to make the Tres Leches.  Non-fat and whole milk plus sugar are boiled and reduced in half.  Then sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream are added and the mixture cooled.  When the cake is cooled it is wrapped in plastic wrap and put back into the baking pan to be soaked.  The Tres Leches mixture is poured over the cake and then the cake is rewrapped in the plastic wrap and refrigerated.  At this point I have to say I started to get very scared because this looked like an awful lot of liquid and I thought that this cake is really going to end up being mush and I was really thinking that this was totally gross.

After the cake has been soaked and left to refrigerate overnight it is unmolded and topped with a sweetened whipped cream mixture.  I also dusted mine with some cocoa powder just for a little extra decoration.

Adorned with the whipped cream topping

Dusted with cocoa

 The verdict:  No one in my family was wowed by this cake.  Everyone ate it but the closest thing I got to a compliment was “It’s okay”.  I had some neighbors in for drinks on Saturday night and I served this cake to them and they all loved it.  I guess this is one of those like or don’t like kind of things.   As for me, I have to say that I really did not care for this cake.  The cake itself was a bit too eggy for my taste and the Tres Leches really didn’t taste like anything but sweetened milk (I dont know why I expected something else being that all it is is sweetened milk).    As I stated earlier, the wet cake concept really just put me off and I was forcing myself to chew and swallow it.  The taste wasn’t all that bad but I just can’t get past the sopping wet cake concept.  When I sliced it and it was sitting in all that milk my stomach did a little flip-flop.  I just found it gross.  All in all I doubt I will ever make this again and it is certainly not something I would order in a restaurant either.

So now I know what all the fuss is about and I know that it is certainly not for me.  All in all I am glad that I finally got to make and sample this cake.

Next Up: Chocolate Tweed Angel Food Cake

Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake

First of all I want to thank Marie for selecting me as this weeks Heavenly Cake Bakers featured baker.  It was a big surprise and a great honor to be chosen among such stand out bakers and bloggers.  Thank you again Marie.  I also want to thank everyone for the wonderful comments about my Whipped Cream Cake.  I truly loved the cake.  For all those wondering about that Heritage Bundt Pan, it is available through Williams-Sonoma both in the store and online.  It sells for $34.00.  The exclusive gold finish was rated by Americas Test Kitchen as the best in the baking pan category and they deemed it well worth the cost.  I plan on replacing all my baking pans with the Williams-Sonoma gold finish pans.  Now, on to this weeks cake.

We had a nice easy cake for the second week in a row and while I didn’t like this one quite as much as last weeks it has earned a place on my bake often list.  Its quick to make and I always have all the ingredients on hand which makes it great for last minute baking.  I have to admit that I cheated a bit this week.  I didn’t have a 6 cup pan and was too cheap to go buy one so I used my 10 cup bundt pan instead.  Other than the cake being a little short I don’t think it really harmed the outcome at all as the cake tasted great.  I just dusted my flat little cake with cocoa powder and no one said a word as they devoured all of it so I will just keep my little secret.

There were two things that surprised me about this cake.  One is that it makes one cake and two cupcakes.  I found that a little odd because when I was putting it together I didn’t think there was enough batter to even make one cake.  (That is probably because I cheated and used the wrong sized pan LOL)  I imagine I could have put all the batter into my 10 cup pan and it would have worked out fine.  I will try that next time.  At any rate I loved having those two cupcakes as I got to taste it without having to cut the cake which I was saving for company anyway.  The second thing I found surprising is that that little quarter teaspoon of cinnamon in the streusel mixture would deliver such a punch against such aggressive ingredients as cocoa and brown sugar.  I didn’t think it would make any difference at all but was pleasantly surprised to get that jolt of unexpected flavor.  Very nice.

 

Making the batter is easy.  Cream the butter and then slowly add the sugar.  Next add the eggs and egg whites and vanilla and beat together.  Then add the dry ingredients and the sour cream in three additions, beating to incorporate with each addition.  Then into the pan, into the oven and then indulge in good honest coffee cake.  A true winner.  Since this went onto my favorites list I may have to break down and get that 6 cup pan, I have a feeling I am going to need it.  Enjoy

Next Up:  Torta de las Tres Leches

Whipped Cream Cake

I have been lusting after this Heritage Bundt pan since I first saw it over a year ago.  When I first saw it on the Baking Bites blog I was under the impression that it was only available on the Williams Sonoma website.  I did find it there but didn’t buy it.  I later found it at the store when I was in there and still I didn’t buy it.  Everytime I go to Williams Sonoma I pick up the pan and carry it around while I shop and always find some reason why I don’t really need another pan and I always put it back.  Well, when I saw this weeks cake I knew the time had come for me to buy this pan.  This pound cake style cake is perfect for this beautiful pan.

I have to say this cake is perfection.  Just the kind of cake I love.  Quick and easy to make, not to sweet, no special ingredients and ready within the hour.  Terrific.  The cake is really easy to make.  It is one of those mix the dry ingredients, add the wet, stir and bake.  Nothing could be simpler.

To start I whipped the heavy cream into stiff peaks, added the egg/vanilla mixture and blended, then added the sugar and blended that in.  Then I folded in the dry ingredients in two additions and folded gently by thoroughly.  Then, into the prepared pan and into the oven and Voila.  Cake Heaven.  For those of you who are following my convection conversions, this cake took 3o minutes in a 350 degree convection oven and it tested perfectly done.

Cream whipped to stiff peaks

Completed batter

Ready to bake

 This cake is definitely in the heavenly category.  Rose did us all proud with this one.  It is so good it goes right to the top of my bake weekly list.  I had to make two of these this weekend, the first one was gone in an hour.  Everyone was eating it like there was no tomorrow.  I am in heaven.

Out of the oven

Unmolded

 

Next Up: Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake