Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

This recipe is called Hawaiian Wedding cake (a.k.a. When recipes don't work out!) I spotted this recipe in the Family Circle magazine we got free from our hotel in Ohio. It sounded absolutely delicious! It combines some of my favorite flavors… coconut, pineapple, and walnuts and wraps it up in a delightful looking cake. Sounds wonderful! So, despite my lack of love for baking, I thought I'd try it out. However, I had some serious problems making this one...

For starters, I thought there was a lot of sugar in the recipe, but since I'm not a baker, I made a very deliberate decision to follow the recipe exactly. Second, after the cake started baking, it looked like the batter was actually CARAMELIZING. Not good for cakes. I noticed later I had accidentally used pineapple IN HEAVY SYRUP. Maybe that was my problem? I'm not sure I even knew that pineapple could come in different syrup/water.

After I took the cakes out, they hadn't risen much, and the bottom of the round cake I had made, actually had a heavy layer of what looked like caramel soaking the bottom. We won't even begin to describe the texture...

This whole experience reminds me of the time I made homemade brownies in college. They puffed up about 4 inches over the top, spilled over and burned. Turns out the flour I had borrowed from a roommate was "self rising" and it already had the baking soda in it. After that, I started buying brownie mixes.

There is one redeeming feature to this cake... the homemade cream cheese frosting. It was pretty good - it almost made one of those cupcakes edible. Now I need to find something to go with it... good thing I keep plenty of cake mixes on hand.

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

2 c. Flour
2 c. Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple with juice, undrained
1 c. Shredded Coconut
1 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter
4 oz. cream cheese
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 325. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon until just combined. Spoon the mixture into a prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla until smooth. Top cooled cake.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


This weekend Dave and I headed to the movie Ratatouille (Rat-a-too-ee). I had to convince Dave to see it, but in the end I think he laughed harder than anyone in the theater. It's a great movie - fabulous food, great story, wonderful skyline views of Paris - what more can you ask for?
In case you weren't aware, Ratatouille isn't just a clever name - it's actually a famous French dish. 'Peasant' food to be exact. Though I've never had this dish in France, I have had something very similar in a small town in Turkey of all places. It's a wonderful dish that tastes like home. (You'll understand that even more if you've seen the movie)
Here's a recipe for the famed dish...
Olive oil
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 eggplant
1 green bell pepper
2 zucchini
6 medium tomatoes, ripe (juicy) and peeled
salt and pepper to taste
Herbes de Provence to taste
Put a large casserole on the stove on medium heat. Chop the onions and garlic. When the casserole is hot, add enough olive oil to just cover the bottom. Add the onions and garlic and brown.
Chop the green pepper, zucchini and egg plant. Add to the casserole, stirring from time to time. Peel the tomatoes. Dice them or cut them into quarters, add to the casserole.
Five minutes later, check to see if the tomatoes have made enough juice to almost cover the vegetables. If not, add water as needed.
Add salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence to taste. Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


My sister-in-law Michelle recently moved to Australia and was lamenting the loss of Crisco, among other things. Seems the Aussies only bake with butter. While nothing can quite replace Crisco in creating a light, flaky crust in pies, or lard making some unbelievable tortillas, butter can lead to some amazing desserts.

This recipe hails from an old family recipe - at least I think it does. This can be used for just about any pastry recipe, but is particularly good for pies and quiches - and as an added bonus, calls for butter instead of Crisco.

3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 t. salt
1 cup butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cold water

In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles oatmeal. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, oil and water. Stir liquids into the flour mixture. Mix until combined. Divide the dough into two balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 mins. Roll out the pastry into the desired shells. Bake at 425 for 30-35 mins.