Category Archives: In the Kitchen

Cooking, baking, recipes, product reviews, and table-setting inspiration

Spring is Almost Here Pineapple Cake

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Spring is Almost Here Pineapple Cake

Spring is Almost Here Pineapple Cake

This is a light, refreshing cake that is great anytime of year, but really gets me in the mood for spring.  It is super easy and would be great for beginner bakers AND has no oil or butter! WooHoo! That makes it a winner in my book!

There are also lots of little ways to tweak this recipe to make it your own.
Share your substitutions in the comments. I’d love to try them!

Getting Ready to Bake a Cake!

Getting Ready to Bake a Cake!

Here’s what I used:

For the Spring is Almost Here Pineapple Cake

For the Topping
Click this link to go to my post for the complete recipe for my Deliciously Unctuous Lemony Topping

Toast the pecans until they smell nutty. About 3 minutes in a pan on the stove or on a sheet-pan in the oven. Let them cool.

Toasting pecans in a cast iron skillet

Toasting pecans in a cast iron skillet

Butter and line a 9″X13″ baking dish with parchment paper and then butter it again.
This will ensure that the cake comes out beautifully easy AND my baking dish won’t get wrecked by knife cuts!

Parchment-lined 9"X13" Stoneware Baking Dish. Make one piece to go length-wise and another to go the other way for easy lifting and no sticking!

Parchment-lined 9″X13″ Stoneware Baking Dish.
Make one piece to go length-wise and another to go the other way for easy lifting and no sticking!

Once the butter and cream cheese are soft, and I mean really soft, it’s time to pre-heat the oven to 350°.
Do NOT melt or soften in a microwave.  The consistency of these 2 ingredients will be the consistency of your topping.  If it’s runny, you’ll have a runny frosting- yuck!

Sift the flours and sugars and other dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk them together.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl just to homogenize them and add the pineapple and all the juice from the can. Barely combine them and then pour into the dry mixture. Do NOT whip the eggs.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, add the toasted pecans, and mix with a spatula just until everything is moistened and combined.  To keep it tender, do not over mix.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the middle of the pre-heated 350° oven.  Start checking for doneness at 30 minutes with a toothpick in the center.  It should not have batter on it.

Cake batter in lined baking dish.  Give it a couple of gentle drops onto a towel-topped counter to ease any air bubbles out.

Cake batter in lined baking dish. Give it a couple of gentle drops onto a towel-topped counter to ease any air bubbles out.

Allow the cake to rest at room temperature for about half an hour and then pull it out with the handy-dandy parchment paper liner and place the cake on a baking rack to cool completely.

This is about when I sneak a “tester” portion 🙂
You know, for quality control! Tee-hee 😉

A naked Spring is Almost Here cake.  Its nuts are showing! :P

A naked Spring is Almost Here cake. Its nuts are showing! 😛

I make the topping while the cake is cooling.

My favorite topping for this cake is my DELICIOUSLY UNCTUOUS LEMONY TOPPING, but you can top it with anything you want…or not at all!  This recipe would make a fantastic breakfast muffin or lunch snack cake with no topping at all.

Perfectly Pinnable naked Spring is Almost Here cake glamor shot

Perfectly Pinnable naked Spring is Almost Here cake glamor shot

Some notes:

I tend to be very specific about what ingredients I use.  I do this in case I want to adjust the recipe or experiment with it later.  I also find that when recreating someone else’s recipes, it can make a difference what brands are used in getting similar final results.  If I don’t mention a brand then I probably don’t remember what I used; I usually decant my bulk ingredients.
I do not receive compensation for linking to, using, or mentioning any brands.  I simply link to them to make it easy for you to know exactly what I’m using and help you to locate where it’s sold in case you’d like to try it.

t: little “t” is a teaspoon. ’cause it’s cute and little
T: big “T” is a Tablespoon. ’cause he’s the big brother
C: Cup

Deliciously Unctuous Lemony Topping

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Spring is Almost Here Pineapple Cake

Spring is Almost Here Pineapple Cake and Deliciously Unctuous Lemony Topping

Click the pic for my Spring is Almost Here Pineapple Cake recipe!!
 

This is one of my favorite cake/muffin/finger toppings because it is slightly sweet & tart and gives me that jaw-twinge/watery mouth reaction.

And it’s super-simple to boot:

Getting Ready to Bake a Cake!

My Sunny Country Kitchen

Cut the butter into pieces, no need to be fancy about it, and throw it into a mixer bowl and increase speed to high until butter is pretty whippy (using whip beaters is ideal but if a wider kind is used like this one, the topping will taste as good, but it will have tiny lumps of butter).

Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter and whip.

Add the sugar and salt.

This is the base and the other ingredients are for flavoring.  If you want to change it up, this is where you’d do it.

Add the liquid ingredients but stop if the topping starts to not hold its shape.  You want it to be creamy but have body.  If it’s too runny, add confectioners sugar.  If it’s too stiff, add liquid.

Taste and adjust to your liking.

Some ideas for other flavorings to add:

  • orange juice
  • just vanilla
  • just lemon

Let me know what variations you come up with!

Some notes:

I tend to be very specific about what ingredients I use.  I do this in case I want to adjust the recipe or experiment with it later.  I also find that when recreating someone else’s recipes, it can make a difference what brands are used in getting similar final results.  If I don’t mention a brand then I probably don’t remember what I used;I usually decant my bulk ingredients.
I do not receive compensation for linking to, using, or mentioning any brands.  I simply link to them to make it easy for you to know exactly what I’m using and help you to locate where it’s sold in case you’d like to try it.

t: little “t” is a teaspoon. ’cause it’s cute and little
T: big “T” is a Tablespoon. ’cause he’s the big brother
C: Cup

Tender Boiled Cabbage

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St. Patrick's Day Irish Cabbage and Golden Hashbrown Nuggets

St. Patrick’s Day Irish Cabbage and Golden Hashbrown Nuggets

Last night’s dinner was simple Irish fare for St. Patrick’s Day: Tender Boiled Cabbage and Golden Hashbrown Nuggets.  Both items were easy and quick with minimal clean-up.

Cabbage is low in calories, rich in phytonutrients and vitamins like A, C, and K, and it is high in dietary fiber.  It’s an easy-to-cook, easy-to-like, cruciferous veggie that is one of my faves.  It loses nutrients if it is cooked, and more-so if it is cooked too long or too hot.  Keep it tender but still retain as much of the good stuff as possible by giving it an occasional poke to test for doneness.  If the house starts stinking, it’s cooked too long!

Here’s my green cabbage “recipe”:

Basically just boil, drain, serve!

Fill a large stockpot or pasta pot with water, leaving room for displacement by the cabbage head.
I use the pot of my pressure-cooker.  It’s heavy with a thick bottom and holds several gallons.
Heat it to a low simmer.

Rinse the cabbage head.

Remove the outermost leaves and discard.
(I compost these or give ’em to my bunny-bun-bun, Duchess)

Cut the cabbage head in half through its stem.
Trim the very end of the stem off, but don’t cut too far as it holds the halves together.

If you notice buggies or wormies, place your cut cabbage in salty water or vinegar water solution to kill & remove them then rinse and continue. They had a tasty cabbage for their last meal!

Add a lot of salt to the pot of water!
How much is a lot? I dunno…I dump some in until it tastes like seawater (YUM!).
Give it a quick stir.

Plop the two cabbage halves (carefully) into the simmering water and go set the table.
It’s a good time to set your butter out so it can soften in time for dinner. It always takes my hubby at least 15 minutes to get ready for dinner so now’s when I give him the dinner bell.

Start checking the cabbage after about 15 minutes.
Poke it with one of those long, stabby meat-forks…they have a name, right? The cabbage should be this beautiful, translucent light green and it should not be stinky or falling apart which would mean it had overcooked.  The time depends on the size, obviously, but it will never take more than 30 minutes.

When it’s done, remove it with tongs and lay it cut-side down in a colander in the sink and let it drain for a few minutes.

Cut each half in half and serve each person a quarter.
Flay the leaves open a bit and add a few dabs of butter.  If you added enough salt to the water, the cabbage will not need any other seasoning!  If you erred on the safe side, you’ll need to sprinkle with salt or you could mash some kosher salt into the butter before serving. Sometimes I’ll pepper it as well, but I usually keep it super-simple and really let the cabbage shine with just salt and butter.
Another serving option is to cut the cooked cabbage into bite-sized pieces after draining it and then tossing butter and seasonings with it in a bowl and serve each portion in a small dish.

Some people don’t like the less-tender (and mostly flavor-less) core and they cut it out before cooking, but I find it helps keep the head together if it’s left in.  I like to eat it (it’s healthy!) but if you don’t, just leave that part and eat the outer leaves or cut it right before serving.

 

I think that’s it, but if you have any questions about how to pick out a good cabbage, cook it, or want some ideas for what to serve it with, let me know in the comments!