Pineapple, melted butter and brown sugar...yum!
1. Pineapple Upside-down Cake: when I was a child, my mom would occasionally make this cake, full of sugary buttery goodness and topped with that delight of all delights, maraschino cherries. Somehow in the “sophistication” of my twenties, I forgot all about it, and it was only recently brought back to memory by a recent Food in Jars post on an adaptation made with jam. I almost went with a boxed yellow cake mix, but thankfully Betty Crocker saved the day, and I whipped up a homemade Pineapple Upside-down Cake (sans maraschino cherries, which I now find frightening in their over-chemicalized state) in a few simple steps. Here’s a link to Betty’s recipe, because Betty does it best!
Oh so golden and sweet.
2. Peanut butter. I will not go into a full treatise on the glories of real peanut butter right now; suffice it to say that I am a peanut butter snob. I have high expectations and will generally refuse to eat any that includes ingredients other than peanuts. However, I have recently found myself desperately in need of an easy way to get a lot of extra calories, and unexpectedly finding three jars of (highly processed, not even as good as JIF) crunchy peanut butter in my local shop, I decided that, at the least, it is a better option than eating an entire Pineapple Upside-down Cake every two days. The good news is that since it’s been at least 11 months since I last tasted peanut butter, even this plasticky, gooey mess seems wonderful and delicious.
3. Pregnancy! Yes, I am now almost 12 weeks pregnant with our first child–hence the need for extra calories. Between our normal diet, which is very high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes but low in meat and fats, and the normal first trimester of pregnancy eating discomforts, I have actually lost a few pounds the past two months. I didn’t start this pregnancy with much extra weight to spare, so I am trying to be very conscious about adding in healthy, high-calorie foods whenever I can. (And Pineapple Upside-down Cake only when really needed!) Little Baby (henceforth to be known as LB) is due June 22, and so far is normal and healthy and, as the doctor proclaimed during my ultrasound yesterday, “very active.” Hungry Husband and I are very excited, although he did ask me if this is going to turn into a blog where I talk about nothing except pregnancy and the baby. Um…I don’t know, but if it does, well, it’s my blog and I suppose I can write about whatever I want!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged American, Baking, Betty Crocker, Cake, Cooking, Desserts, Fruit, Hungry Husband, Introduction, LB, Legumes, Memories, Peanut Butter, Pineapple, Pregnancy
Although my birthday started out in a very American fashion, I had more fusion-oriented ideas for dinner and my cake. Dinner was scrapped when one of our neighbors offered me a ride to the surprise dinner party Hungry Husband was planning for me (not realizing that it was supposed to be a surprise—poor sad Hungry Husband). But I was really excited about my cake idea and made it before we left that evening so that it would be waiting for a late-night treat.
Unfortunately, this is one of those thoughts that was better in my imagination than real life, and I’m giving it to you for a challenge. The primary issue was a lack of flavor, as the pomegranate did not seem to contribute the way I expected. The seeds also turned weirdly hard and nubby after baking. What would you change to ramp up the flavor and accentuate the pomegranate-ness? Any ideas on how to prevent pomegranate seed hardness? The original recipe follows; leave your suggestions in the comments!
Pomegranate Pound Cake
- ¾ c. sugar
- 6 Tbsp. butter
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg white
- ¾ c. buttermilk
- 2 tsp. lime zest
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 2 ½ c. flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- seeds from 1 pomegranate
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Beat the butter and sugar until well combined.
Add the eggs and egg white, one at a time, to the butter and sugar. Beat well.
In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, lime, vanilla and baking soda until thoroughly blended.
In another bowl combine the flour and salt.
Alternately add the milk mixture and the flour mixture to the eggs and butter until well blended and without lumps. Stir in the pomegranate seeds.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Baking, Cake, Cooking, Desserts, Fix This, Fruit, Holidays, Middle Eastern Food, Not quite, Other, Pomegranate
So, between grated apples and chopped apples in the previously mentioned cake recipe, I say go with chopped. The batter turned out a teeny bit drier that way (I would add a spoonful of apple sauce–if I was in America and had applesauce), but the apple flavor was much more pronounced. I ate fully 3/4 of the cake by myself…
As the heat continues (highs remaining above 100 for the next week) I am struggling to find ways to keep us eating. Since it started heating up in April, Hungry Husband and I have both lost substantial amounts of weight, and although neither of us are sickly skinny I am trying to find ways to put light, tasty, and high-calorie foods in our diet.
So, I bake. Having the oven on for an hour is…mmm…not so pleasant, but the resulting cakes and cobblers are tasty and easy to eat whenever we want a little something something. For some reason I bought a kilo of green apples last week, and after trying to eat one I discovered it was too sour for me to eat on its own, making the remainders prime candidates for a pie or cobbler.
And this little treat is what we’ve been eating for the past few days. The first time I made it, I grated the apples in my nifty food processor, a little gadget that I have wanted for a long time and have loved using these past few weeks. I’ve got another in the oven right now, but I chopped the apples by hand instead of grating them. We’ll see if one way is preferable over the other.
APPLE SPICE CAKE
- 2 apples, peeled (I didn’t do this) and chopped or grated
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 125 g. melted butter (I didn’t melt the butter, either)
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tsp. mixed spice
Combine all ingredients, and bake for 40 minutes at 350 F. After you take it from the oven, brush the top with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.