grilled pineapple upside down cake

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Remember that mochi cake I made last week? Well, the reasons for making it were two-fold. First, I had been eyeballing that recipe ever since I got that book and, second, I’ve been planning to make this grilled pineapple upside down cake concoction for months now, and I required a cake or pound-cake-like substance to do it.

“Why on earth would someone grill pineapple upside down cake?” you ask? Well, why not? It’s summer and people are grilling things and grilling things is fun. The grill imparts a great toasty char and slightly smoky flavor to the cake and caramelizes the pineapple’s sugar, which take the cake up a notch and really just sings “summer”. Add to that a drizzle of homemade brown sugar sauce to take the place of the brown sugar glaze usually baked into the cake. Additionally, I replaced the bright maraschino cherries that are usually dotting the top of a pineapple upside down cake with a fresh cherry sauce, then finished it all off with some Talenti vanilla gelato. Any vanilla ice cream will do, I just happen to be a fan of Talenti.

I made this two ways, one as a “deconstructed cake” – layering the cake, pineapple, and sauces, with a scoop of ice cream on the side. Second, I made it as a parfait, just layering the components in a straight-sided glass. Neither was particularly photogenic. In fact, I could argue that they were both extremely UN-photogenic.

Apparently my 80-degree kithcen is not ice-cream friendly, which turned my parfait into soup in about three seconds flat. I remedied this by stashing my pineapple upside down parfait soup in the freezer to re-solidify and enjoyed it later. Despite not being much to look at, both were super delicious and I highly recommend them. If going the parfait route, though, be sure to chill your cake and pineapple first, to avoid ending up with soup.

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grilled pineapple upside down cake

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared pound cake or mochi cake
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • Coconut oil (I love this spray from Trader Joes, which is much cheaper if you purchase it at the store) or other neutral oil
  • For the pineapple:
  • 1 pineapple, cut into rings
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • For the cherries:
  • 1 pound cherries, washed and pitted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste)
  • zest from half of one medium lemon
  • For the brown sugar sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

    For the cake
  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Cut cake into 1/2-inch thick slices and spray with oil or brush with melted butter.
  3. Cook over the grill until slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
  4. For the pineapple
  5. Press pineapple into brown sugar on both sides, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, or until ready to grill.
  6. When ready to grill, heat grill to medium-high heat and cook pineapple 2 to 3 minutes until grill marks appear. Flip and cook other side 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat on each side, pineapple should be slightly softened and charred.
  7. For the cherries
  8. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  9. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the cherries are dark red and the sauce has thickened - when you dip a spoon into the mixture it should be coated with a relatively thick cherry coating when you pull it back out.
  10. Allow to cool slightly and transfer to a 8 ounce jar or airtight storage container.
  11. Will keep in the fridge up to 1 month
  12. For the brown sugar sauce
  13. Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.
  14. Transfer to airtight storage container (I used 8 ounces but it probably made closer to 9 or 10 ounces of sauce).
  15. Will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  16. For the assembly
  17. Either as a parfait or sundae - with cake on the bottom, topped with brown sugar sauce, pineapple, cherries, and ice cream.
  18. Enjoy!

Notes

* The brown sugar sauce will solidify when chilled, but can be re-warmed in the microwave for about a minute to return to its liquid state. Allow to cool slightly before assembling.

* The cherries are also great for sundae toppings, mixed into yogurt, or to make home-made Shirley Temples... or just as a snack.

* Pre-assembled parfaits can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and stashed in the freezer until serving time.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/07/11/grilled-pineapple-upside-down-cake/

[ Cake from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts ]

[ Sauce adapted from Pioneer Woman ]

[ Cherries adapted from Bon Appetit ]

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jeni’s mochi cake

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When I first saw the recipe for Jeni’s mochi cake in her newest book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts, I was instantly intrigued. Jeni chose this cake for her ice cream recipes because instead of hardening, the cake stays soft and chewy when frozen. At room temperature, the cake is springy, spongy, and delightfully chewy. Like the Japanese mochi, but in pound cake form.

You may recommend mochi from the toppings bar of your local frozen yogurt shop, or perhaps you’ve seen these glutinous chewy rice balls filled with ice cream at your favorite asian restaurant or grocer (Trader Joes even carries some that you can take home to try!). The rice flour keeps the center of this cake light and chewy while the sugar provides a gorgeous golden brown exterior, and the coconut and evaporated milks give the cake a wonderfully sweet, milky, almost tropical flavor.

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If you have never had mochi, you may be a bit scared when you cut into this cake. It’s a bit on the “springy” side, in that you can even pull at it a little bit and it will happily spring back to its original shape. I mean, it’s nothing crazy but it’s fun to play with and see that tiny tug will serve to stretch the cake rather than break it into pieces. It definitely serves to show this cake’s appeal as an ice cream mix-in.

So whether you plan to cut this into cubes and throw it into some ice cream (I would recommend subbing it for the shortcake in this recipe) or simply topping it with a scoop of your favorite store-bought ice cream, it’s a great way to switch up your typical ice cream routine. Jeni uses it to make mochi cake croutons and even toasts it on the grill (which is what I also did, coming up in the next recipe!).

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jeni’s mochi cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 9-by-5 inch loaf cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sweet rice flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment. (Parchment optional, but recommended).
  2. Sift together the rice flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredient.
  4. Make a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture into the well.
  5. Fold wet ingredients into dry, mixing until fully combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the cake is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to complete cooling.

Notes

To make Jeni's mochi cake croutons: Cut mochi cake into 1 inch cubes. Melt 1 tablespoon unslated butter in a large saute pan and add the cubes. Allow the cubes to cook undisturbed until they are golden brown on the bottom. Flip and repeat on each side until all sides are browned. Serve along with fruit as an ice cream topping.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/07/07/jenis-mochi-cake/

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts ]

 

thursday things – a very momofuku birthday

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It happened. On Monday I officially said “goodbye” to my 20s and dove headfirst into the big 3-0. I’m officially a grown up, and I know this because I got furniture for my birthday. Yep. Furniture.

Not only did I get furniture, but I was excited about it. EXCITED. ABOUT FURNITURE. WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?

Continue reading

condensed milk pound cake

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A lot has been going on in the world and I’ve just been sitting back and taking it all in…

I’m not one to dwell on these things but I lost a huge piece of my childhood with the passing of an amazing actor/comedian.

Cue the comfort food (and childhood movie marathon).

And what food is more comforting than pound cake? The best thing about this pound cake is that the sweet cake will absorb my tears and their salt will perfectly complement the cake’s sweetness.

pound cake

When I saw this recipe for a pound cake using sweetened condensed milk as one of the key ingredients and a food processor as the main mixing tool, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect. However, since pound cake is basically impossible to mess up as it is, I didn’t really see how it could possibly go wrong.

So, what should you expect?

Once in the oven, the sweetened condensed milk in this batter fills your home with the aroma of dulce de leche caramel. Once out of the oven, a hint of caramel flavor of permeates this tender pound cake. It doesn’t have an overwhelming caramel flavor, but you can definitely pick up on the caramelly notes in the cake (especially in the browned edges).

So wrap yourself in a warm, caramel-scented hug (from the inside) with some condensed milk pound cake.

condensed milk pound cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 1 8-by-5 inch loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 large eggs, room emperature

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. And prepare an 8 by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment and baking spray (or flour and butter) and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder and set aside.
  3. Add butter and sugar to a food processor and process until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides and bottom as needed. Add the condensed milk and pulse until well incorporated. Add eggs and vanilla and pulse again to combine.
  4. Add dry ingredients and pulse just until incorporated, being careful not to over-mix, scraping down the sides and bottoms if needed, and pour into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake until the top is dark golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 70 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in pan, turn out onto rack to finish cooling.

Notes

Recipe from Boy Meets Bowl

http://wee-eats.com/2014/08/17/condensed-milk-pound-cake/

 

fluffernutter cake

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I already told you all about the Baked Sweet & Salty cake, and now the time has come to sing the praises of ye olde Fluffernutter Cake.

I will start by saying that I am surprised that there even was a fluffernutter cake, given the amount of cake batter I ate.

Peanut butter + cake batter is a dangerous combination.

Like, life-threatening.

I found this cake over on Faygie’s website (Life Tastes Good) and was immediately smitten. Anyone who has been on this site for more than millisecond probably knows that peanut butter is my one true love. Some of my earliest memories are when my uncle would come over with a small jar of Jif peanut butter and I would sit on the windowsill (with the curtain closed to conceal myself) and spoon it into my mouth over and over until the jar was gone.

Yeah, peanut butter and me, we go way back.

For those of you who DON’T know, a “Fluffernutter” is a sandwich composed of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Part of everyone’s dietary requirements. It’s great because it can be lunch or dessert, or both at the same time! I know it sounds weird but I promise it’s delicious. Seriously delicious.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy a fluffernutter sandwich in your lifetime, now is the time. You’re (most likely) a grown up so go to the store with this list:

1. White bread. Like, Wonderbread white bread. This is a fluffernutter sandwich, let’s not try to get all high and mighty on your whole wheat train.

2. Marshmallow fluff. You’ve seen this stuff, it comes in a jar. Real marshmallows will NOT do, you need this super processed sugary spread. (Also great for dipping pretzels in, FYI)

3. Your favorite peanut butter.

Now assemble the ingredients like you’re making a PBJ but with fluff in place of the jelly. Congratulations, now you’re 5 years old again. You’re welcome.

So while I was (literally) laying in bed thinking about what kind of cake I wanted to have for my birthday… the thought occurred to try conjuring a peanut butter cake… I don’t know that I’ve ever actually consumed a peanut butter cake. Frosting, of course, but cake? I don’t think so.

Then, as fate would have it, the very next day our dearest Faygie posted this very same cake on her blog.

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Fate, people. FATE.

And who am I to ignore fate?

Generally speaking when you have a peanut butter cake (or brownie/blondie/cookie) a lot of the time it can end up just tasting like cooked peanut butter. It’s hard to describe, but almost like just slightly burned eau de peanut butter without having a real authentic peanut butter flavor.

I was thrilled to find that this cake (well, the cupcake version, which I ate fresh out of the oven) tasted like straight up cake filled with peanut butter flavor. As an added bonus, since my dream of double ovens has yet to come to fruition and I don’t believe in moving cakes once they are in the oven (sorry, I know I’m supposed to “rotate cakes halfway through baking” but that just sounds like someone trying to trick me into dropping a cake or shaking the bejeezus out of it until it falls – no thank you) I had to bake my cupcakes on the top third of the oven, which I assume is why they didn’t dome properly and instead had flat peanut-butter-cookie-like tops.

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It was seriously like someone baked a delicious soft and chewy peanut butter cookie and attached it to an amazingly tender peanut butter cake. I want to make it again just to see if I can make it happen on purpose…

I made my cake (as I do with most of my cakes) a week in advance and thawed and frosted it the day before serving, and stored it covered in the fridge. Whether it was just that the cake doesn’t hold up well to freezing, or perhaps just because the sides were left unfrosted (or likely the latter since the cupcakes seem to do fine), the served cake was definitely more dry than the fresh cake. The flavor was still great, but the texture definitely suffered. So, my tip to you, is to make this cake no more than 24 hours prior to serving (or to frost the sides, which may prove challenging with sticky marshmallow frosting).

**Update: I have eaten several of the peanut butter cupcakes after they were frozen and thawed and they were amazing. So, my advice to you is that if you want to assemble this cake in advance to MAKE SURE YOU COVER THE SIDES OF THE CAKE with plastic wrap or foil to keep the cake from drying out. Alternatively, you could frost the sides of the cake which will likely solve any potential dryness problems.**

Additionally, for the first time in probably ever, I ran out of vanilla extract when it was time to make this frosting. Even though the frosting recipe doesn’t call for extract, my intuition told me that it would definitely benefit from a little extra kick of flavor – and I was right. The marshmallow fluff, though delicious. would have definitely benefited from the extra boost of flavor that a bit of vanilla would have offered. Oh, and I toasted some of the frosting. Because toasting and marshmallows go together like peas and carrots … or … you know… something and something else that go together really well.

Below is the side-by-side I did to taste-test the cakes before serving them for my birthday. Just like the sweet & salty cake, though this recipe made layers, I only had two cake pans of the right size so I got 4 layers and a dozen cupcakes. Which works out well for me because now I have a variety of cupcakes stashed in my freezer (win!).

cupcakes 2

Without further adieu, Fluffernutter Cake (with my notes).

Fluffernutter Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Yield: One 8-inch cake (3 to 6 layers)

Ingredients

    Peanut Butter Cake:
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter(*)
  • Marshmallow Frosting
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions

    For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans(*1) by lining with parchment and greasing. (I use Pam for Baking)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and both sugars on low speed until combined. Add the softened butter and peanut butter, and mix on medium speed until the mixture is combined, it will be dry and crumbly.
  4. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture, and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and add another 1/3 of the milk mixture, mixing well. Scrape the bowl down again, and the remaining milk mixture, and mix well, until smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared pans (Faygie recommends a kitchen scale and I second her recommendation! I think each of mine were about 750g each, although my last "layer" was cupcakes so 3 layers may be different.)
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean, and the top of the cakes springs back when lightly poked, about 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn the layers out onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. For the frosting:
  7. Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heat-resistant bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water (think "double boiler" method here). Whisk constantly until the mixture is frothy and hot to the touch, about 5 to 7 minutes(*2). No, your arm won't fall off (though it will feel like it wants to).
  8. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed, using the whisk attachment. Continue beating until it gets fluffy, then add vanilla. Continue to beat on high until it’s thick, shiny, and bright white, and the bowl is cool to the touch. This took me about 7 minutes but that was using my Kitchen Aid Pro mixer, other mixers may take longer.
  9. To assemble the cake:
  10. Use a serrated knife to even out the tops of your cakes and cut each cake in half horizontally, as evenly as possible.
  11. Spread a 1/6 of the frosting onto the bottom layer of cake. Top with additional layer and repeat with the rest of the cake layers and frosting(*3), ending with the frosting.

Notes

* Generally speaking you don't want to use a "natural" peanut butter for baking. I always use Jif)

* I recommend baking this cake no more than one day before serving. If you intend to freeze the cake before serving, I recommend frosting the sides of the cake to help to keep it from drying out.

*1. I used two cake pans and poured the rest of the batter into cupcake tins and baked them separately. They took about 25 minutes to bake as cupcakes and served as a good deterrent to keep Future Husband from trying to attack the actual cake layers.

*2. If you want to be sure your mixture has reached the right temperature - you're looking to get to about 160 - 165F (this will kill any bacteria in the eggs) - if you don't have a thermometer it should be the temperature at which your sugar is completely dissolved. If you rub the egg white mixture between your thumb and forefinger it should feel smooth and not grainy.

*3. I used my hand-torch to "toast" my inner marshmallow layers for fun. It wasn't super noticeable flavor-wise. My ambition was to toast "Happy Birthday" into the top layer of frosting, but then I remembered that I suck at that - lacking both the handwriting skills and the torch skills to do so. If you have more skills (or are more brave) than I, it could be a fun embellishment.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/04/01/fluffernutter-cake-peanut-butter-cake-with-marshmallow-frosting/

[ Adapted from Life Tastes Good who adapted it from Piece of Cake]