Chef Dennis’ Pineapple Cake

I’m trying really hard to learn to like cooked fruit. So when a neighbor brought me a whole pineapple, I knew a) I wouldn’t be able to eat it all and b) I don’t really love pineapple upside down cake. What’s an alternative?

Thanks to Google I was able to find Ask Chef Dennis… A blog with this fantastic recipe.

Butter + Fresh Pineapple
Ready for the oven…

My only modification was, instead of just powdered sugar, I made a glaze using 2 Tbls of the cooled leftover pineapple juice butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, powdered sugar and just enough milk to thin to the right consistency.

Thanks to Chef Dennis for this great alternative to pineapple upside down cake!

Tastes like summer…
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Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Flourless Chocolate Cake

What better way to make a comeback with a recipe that will wow your friends. Flourless Chocolate Cake is wickedly delicious. Bonus: it gives a fabulous “I worked really hard on this” impression.

Chocolate + Butter+ Eggs + Coffee = Bliss

There’s two keys to this recipe. Preparation and patience. Here’s what you need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee

But before you think this recipe is TOO easy, let me warn you: this cake is baked in a water bath. If you’re really nervous, take a look at this webpage by A Family Feast to learn more.

Prep all these items before you start to make the cake:

  1. Dig out a turkey roasting pan, a large stock pot or tea kettle, and a 8 or 9 inch springform pan.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  3. Line the bottom of the springform pan with parchment paper and wrap the entire outside of the pan with foil. Spray the sides with nonstick spray or grease with butter.
  4. Brew a strong cup of coffee.
  5. Fill the stock pot or tea kettle with water and start to bring to a boil.
  6. Coarsely chop the chocolate into pieces smaller than the size of a quarter (to help with melting).
  7. Cut the butter into tablespoons (to help with melting).
  8. Take out your mixer (stand mixer, if you have it).

Assess the situation. Are you ready to bake? Really? Ok. The rest is as easy as melting chocolate.

  1. Combine the chopped chocolate, butter, and coffee into a microwavable bowl. Cook at 50% power for 2 minutes, stir, and repeat. Continue heating at 50% power one minute at a time until the mixture is completely smooth.
  2. Beat the eggs on medium speed for 5 minutes, using a wire whisk attachment if you have it, until they are foamy and has significantly more volume.
  3. Carefully fold 1/3 of the beaten eggs into the chocolate mixture (use a larger bowl if needed), then continue in thirds until the mixture entirely combined and uniform in color. Pour into the prepped springform pan and smooth top if needed.
  4. By now the water should be boiling. Set your filled cake pan into the large roasting pan; the pan should be large enough that water should be able to surround the springform pan and come halfway up the sides.
  5. Carefully pour (if using a tea kettle) or ladle the boiling water into the roasting pan, using care to not splash into the cake batter. (I chose to ladle instead of pour hot water from pan to pan because I’m confident I would either burn myself or ruin the cake). Once the hot water has surrounded the cake pan and measures halfway up the sides of that pan, it can go in the oven.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the cake has risen slightly, the sides of the cake start to set and “pull away” from the side of pan slightly. The middle of the cake will look “jiggly”, but there should be a slight sheen to the top of the cake to help indicate it’s done. Bake time will be longer for an 8 inch pan versus a 9 inch pan.

This cake, from my experience, it best judged done by how it looks, so use the time as a guide.

Finished Cake in Water Bath
Finished Cake in Water Bath

After the cake is done, remove from the water bath and set on a cooling rack. After a few minutes, carefully pull back the foil, knowing there’s likely water in the foil, so be prepared for it! Once the cake is room temperature, cover and refrigerate. This is where patience comes in. You must chill the cake for it to set properly. If you cut it too soon, you’ll have a pudding-like middle. Don’t you wonder how I know that? Ha!

I topped my cake with a bit of dark chocolate ganache, but it’s great on its own or with some fresh whipped cream.

2B3C Icing – The Delicious Icing That Needs A New Name

Yellow Cake with CinnaMmm Icing
Yellow Cake with CinnaMmm Icing

I topped that Moist and Mellow Yellow Cake in my previous post with this delicious icing:

Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

That name is far too long. You can’t tell your co-workers you made “Yellow Cake with Browned Butter Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing”. It simply doesn’t fit on a post-it note.

Better names: CinnaMmmm, CinnaYum!, Breakfast Icing, Cinnatoastfrost…

This icing is simple to make AND it’s posted on the web – originally found in Southern Living magazine.

TIP: I halved this recipe, using just a half stick of butter and 16 oz of powdered sugar, and it was enough to cover my sheet cake just fine. I measured the powdered sugar on a scale, but if you don’t have one, it’s about 3 and 2/3 cups of powdered sugar.

The thing I love about finding new recipes is learning ways to tweak them. I want to make other versions of browned butter frosting/icing because it adds a depth of flavor (think nutty, caramel-ish) I think would work well in other desserts.

Yellow Cake and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
Yellow Cake and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

When Life Gives You Lemon Cake

I decided to try the Lemon Lust Cake from my FAVORITE CAKE COOKBOOK EVER which is aptly named The Cake Book by Tish Boyle. I was hoping it would turn out like my wedding cake, which was amazing (the Orange Grove cake in said book).

Wedding Cake
Our Wedding Cake, September 2013

But it wasn’t quite as amazing as I had hoped. There were two reasons, I believe: 1. It wasn’t as moist as I wanted, even with all the layers of filling and frosting and love. And 2. It was in direct competition with a Sour Cream Chocolate Cake, which just isn’t fair (post to come soon).

The Lemon Lust cake has 4 lemon syrup-soaked layers of lemon cake, has a cream cheese and lemon curd filling, and is frosted with a lemon buttercream. It’s time-consuming but impressive if you nail the recipe correctly (which I feel like I didn’t, to be honest).

After all the steps were completed (the photos omit the lemon syrup, cutting of the layers, etc.) I was ready to frost. And the amount of lemon buttercream was simply not enough for me to cover the entire cake, and the crumbs were an issue. In the end, this was my sad result:

Food Edit20150228_160653

But, when cut it looks lovely (sorry no photo of that, my mistake). And it’s very lemon-y (I used 6 fresh lemons for this cake), so it would be great on a hot summer day. I just wish that I had enough buttercream to cover the entire cake , or maybe just leave the layers exposed on the side, like a torte. My husband noted that the lemon curd would be good as its own layer, though it’s really tart! Either way, I probably won’t make this exact cake again, unless someone requests it.

Lesson learned: you can’t hit them all out of the park!