Pineapple Upside-Down Cake!

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake!

Have you ever been flipping through a magazine in the checkout line and notice a dessert called “Pineapple upside down cake,” but it looks perfectly right side up? It’s an interesting concept, but the topping is cooked on the bottom and then flipped! I have to thank King Arthur Flour for the base of this recipe! Either way you slice it, this is a delicious cake! Here’s how:

Ingredients:

Cake batter:

Dry:

2 C All-purpose Flour

2 t baking powder

½ t salt

½ t ground cinnamon (if you’re more of a cinnamon guru, up this to ¾ t)

Wet:

½ C butter (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp

1 C granulated sugar

2 large eggs, separated, room temp

½ C milk, room temp

1 t vanilla extract

Topping:

2 tablespoons of butter, melted

½ C Dark Brown Sugar

½ C Light Brown sugar

20 oz can pineapple rings preserved in pineapple juice, drained

24 maraschino cherries (you can get by with 15 or so. . . )

 

Other Stuff:

Large mixing bowl

Stand mixer/hand held mixer fitted with paddle or beaters

High sided small bowl for beating egg whites

9” (measured of bottom diameter) X 2” cast-iron skillet. 

Pastry brush/silicone basting brush

Serving platter at least 11”in diameter.

 

Instructions:

Separate Eggs and allow to come to room temp along with butter. Drain a 20 oz can or pinneapple rings.  (I generally set out my eggs to come to room temp then separate. . . whatever works best for your time frame. . . )

Preheat oven to 350 DegF with racks placed in the middle and lower third of the oven. 

Whisk together the Dry ingredients in large mixing bowl and set aside.

Break up the butter until it coats the bowl and then add sugar and beat/cream for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, with a whisk beat your egg whites until frothy and set aside.  

Make sure to scrape down the sides of the butter bowl at least once during the creaming process. Add the egg yolks to the butter and sugar and mix and scrape the bowl once more. Add in vanilla and whiz once more.

Now you’re ready to mix in the Dry ingredients alternating with the milk, starting with 1/3 of the dry, ½ milk, 1/3 dry, ½ milk and ending with the last third of the dry. The batter will be rather thick here.

It’s now time to fold in the egg whites. Slack the batter up with 1/3-1/2 of the egg white mixture by “cutting down the middle and going round the outside.” Continue until no frothy white mixture is visible. Fold in the last of the egg whites.  After your batter is smooth, set it aside while you prepare the pan and topping.

In your skillet, melt the butter make sure to work it around the pan bottom and pull it up the sides of the pan with a pastry/basting brush to ensure the release of the cake batter once baked. Sprinkle and spread the brown sugar mixture over the bottom of the pan atop the butter. Don’t “pack” it.  Cover with drained pineapple rings. The size of ring/pan will determine the actual number, but mine is generally between 7 and 8. . .  Pour over rested batter and spread evenly across the pineapple and brown sugar topping.

Place in the middle of the oven for 40-50 minutes.  I like to turn my pan ½ way through a la “20 and turn.”  Mine took about 42 minutes total to bake. The cake is fully baked when it’s a nice golden color, it bounces back, and a cake tester comes out clean. 

After baked, within 3 minutes, loosen the sides of the cake with an offset spatula or butter knife. Then place your serving platter on top of the pan and invert the cake. If one or two of the pineapples have stuck, DON’T worry! You can scrape them off and make sure to put the brown sugar side up on top of the upside-down cake.

THEN, put on your cherries in the middle of each ring and in any space that you see fit. I try to make mine as symmetrical as possible. 

NOW, you need to let the cake cool for about 30 minutes before serving. The BEST part is this cake will last for several days in the fridge wrapped directly with plastic wrap. SO, you could even make it a couple of days ahead during a busy holiday season!

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Citrus Dream Bundt Cake

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Citrus Dream Bundt Cake

Have you ever been walking through a store and you see “lemon pound cake” and wonder, “Does it really weigh a pound?” Well, by the time you’re done with this recipe, it won’t matter how much it weighs because it’s DELICIOUS! This is an adaptation of King Arthur Flour’s Lemon Bliss Cake. Here’s our Will Bake 4 Food twist:

Ingredients:

Cake:

WET:

^8 oz of butter, I always use salted, at room temp

2 C Granulated Sugar

4 Large Eggs, room temp

1 C milk, whole is best, room temp

Zest of 2 large lemons

DRY:

3 C All-Purpose flour

^½ t salt

2 t baking powder

^if using unsalted butter, increase salt in dry mixture to 1 t

Glaze:

1/3 C Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (Use those two that you zested)

¾ C sugar

Icing (optional, but TRUST me, don’t skip it!):

1 ½ C powdered sugar, sifted

2 T salted butter, melted

1 ½ t. pure vanilla extract

2-3 T freshly squeezed Lemon juice (I had enough from my 2 lemons)

12-15 Candied lemon slices.

Other Stuff:

Bundt pan (10-12 cup)

Non-stick cooking spray, I use Baker’s Joy

Stand/handheld mixer, fitted with paddle/beater attachment

High rimmed serving platter

Heavy bottomed pot for glaze to dissolve

Small/medium mixing bowl

Wooden spoon

Instructions:

Allow butter to come to room temperature. Measure out the milk and in a separate bowl break eggs open into a bowl to allow the chill to be knocked off while putting everything together. Preheat oven to 350DegF. Thoroughly grease a standard 10-12 Cup bundt pan.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This is the part that I’ve learned takes WAY longer than we might think. I literally set my timer for about 3 minutes and let it go. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl measure out flour salt and baking powder and whisk together, set aside.

Into the creamed butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. After the final addition, scrape down to bowl to ensure all of the creamed butter is coated and the mixture is homogeneous. Add the Dry mixture in three parts alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the dry. Lastly, pour in lemon zest and then give a final mix.

With a spatula spoon the batter into your pre-greased bundt pan and smooth the top out. TAP on a hard surface to release any air bubbles that may have formed in the batter from this pouring.

Bake in the center of the oven for about 55 minutes. I usually do “25 and turn” and then start testing after 50 minutes. Once a toothpick/cake tester come out clean midway from flute to edge of the pan, the cake is DONE!

In the last 5 minutes of baking, begin your glaze by combining the sugar and lemon juice in a heavy bottomed pot (or if you feel comfortable microwaving, that’s an option). Stir and place over med-high heat. Heat just until sugar is dissolved. No need to boil.  Once cake has passed the done testing, remove from oven and carefully loosen edges of cake from pan with an offset spatula or a butter knife, Don’t forget the flute! With a cooling rack placed on the top of the pan, invert and allow the cake to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan. I like to put wax or parchment paper underneath my cooling rack during this time. Remove the pan and with a brush, apply glaze until it’s all gone; THIS is why I use wax paper. Let the cake cool completely before applying the final icing.

Mix the confectioner’s sugar, melted butter, and vanilla together then gradually add in the lemon juice to get the consistency that you would like. You may not use all of the lemon juice prepared.

Pour the icing over the cake making sure that the icing runs toward the inside as well as the outside of the bundt shape.

Finally, garnish by making a slit in the lemon slices and spreading them so that they stand up all around the iced cake.

It does take a little time, but the result of your guests eyes will be mesmerized by this Citrus Dream! 

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Candied Lemons

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Candied Lemons

I know this is a “baking” blog, but sometimes, we have to “no bake” to get a great result ;) I came across a lemon pound cake recipe and wanted to work on the garnish a bit. I stumbled across something that I’ve never seen in stores in the Midwest, BUT there are in “citrus” areas. So, with a little research, I was able to figure out how to “candy” some lemons! It’s not super hard, but it does take a little time. . . Here’s How:

 

Indredients:

Blanching Liquid:

3 C water

1 C Ice

1 C of water

 

Wet:

2 C Sugar

2 C Water

2 Lemons (I used smaller ones and that seemed to help with “breaking” the pulp)

 

Toping:

¼ C Granulated sugar

 

Other Stuff:

Medium sized Heavy-bottomed pot

Vegetable mandolin set to the thinnest setting

Paring knife

Slotted spoon

Tongs

Bowl for ice water

Large high sided skillet

Parchment paper

Cooling rack

 

Instructions:

Start 3 Cups of water to boil. Cut the ends off of lemons to obtain a flat surface and run each lemon across mandolin set on the thinnest setting (1/8 inch).  There will be seeds that make it through. I use a paring knife to make sure that my lemon slices are as free of seeds as possible. Set up the ice water as soon as the water in the pot comes to a boil.

Blanch the slices by placing them in the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Once water achieves a boil once again, let them boil for about 30 seconds and immediately remove and put them in the ice water.  Repeat this process 2 more times. Why? Well, once you candy the lemons, the pith is trapped in the sugar syrup, but the blanching will take a bit of the bitterness away from the pith.

After the last blanch icing, start to prepare the simple syrup by placing the sugar and water in the large pan over medium heat stirring just until sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat to just a simmer (Low-Medium Low).  My tell was if there was steam and “tiny bubbles” (reminds me of a song ;)) In one layer, place your lemon slices in the sugar syrup as much in a single layer as possible (some will slide on top of others, it’s okay). These will need to simmer for about 75-90 minutes until they are “transparent” in color: the pith will be not quite but almost see-through instead of opaque.  I set my timer and turn each slice over every 15 minutes during this time with tongs. Be very careful to keep an eye on the sugar syrup, if it starts to boil, it will caramelize and that turns bitter REALLY fast.

Meanwhile, set up a piece of parchment paper on a cooling rack. Once your slices are complete, remove from syrup and place in one layer on the parchment paper. Let them cool for about 30 minutes, and then sprinkle with half of the granulated sugar, and then flip and use the other half on the other side. Save your simple syrup into a jar to let cool and then refrigerate up to 2 weeks. It’s Really GREAT in tea!

Let these sit out overnight to absorb the granulated sugar and then you they should be “dry” enough to put in a container to store. They will remain pliable, and they are DELICIOUS! 

 Single Layer in simple syrup

Single Layer in simple syrup

 Post candying before sprinkled in sugar. 

Post candying before sprinkled in sugar. 

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UNholy. . . NY Style Bagels

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UNholy. . . NY Style Bagels

Have you ever seen a character in a movie walking in Manhattan and they undoubtedly pass a Bagel Shop! I’ve figured out how to make these bagels at home with not a lot of work and a great deal of taste! Here’s how!

 

Ingredients:

WET:

1 ½ C warm water

2 ¼ t Fast acting/rapid-rise yeast (1 standard package)

1 t granulated sugar

 

DRY Mixture:

4 C Bread/High Protein Flour

¼ C non-diastatic malt powder

2 t table salt

2 T Honey (or 2 T granulated sugar)

 

Steaming liquid:

6-8 C water (the height of your grate may determine this . . . )

2 T non-diastatic malt powder

1 T sugar

 

Toppings:

1 Large egg white

1 T warm water

Any/none of the following:

Kosher Salt, sesame seeds, cinnamon sugar blend, steak seasoning (you laugh, but they are good!), dried onions (Only sprinkle on after “10 and turn” or they may burn.)

 

Other stuff:

Stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment

Large bowl for proofing

Cling film

Silpat-parchment paper

Non-greased baking sheet

Bench/dough scraper

Large High-sided skillet or Dutch oven

Grate for steaming (if poaching, slotted spoon)

Non-stick cooking spray

Spatula

Kitchen towel, damp

Basting brush

 

Instructions:

Before starting the mixing process, preheat oven to about 100 Deg F. In a measuring cup filled with warm water, add the yeast and sugar, whisk together and set aside for about 3 minutes while you get your dry ingredients together. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add Flour, non-diastatic powder, and salt; give a quick whisk and then add honey (or sugar, you can whisk after adding this J). Fit your bowl on the mixer and with hook attachment just turn on for about 30 sec. to combine then pour your wet mixture in and put the speed to 2 and let it work for 8 minutes for you!

Meanwhile, turn your oven off and spray your proofing bowl with non-stick spray. Once your dough is nice and elastic, form into a ball and place in the proofing bowl and turn over to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Stick in your oven to let proof for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, dampen a cloth with warm tap water and line a baking sheet with parchment paper/silpat baking mat. “Poof” Punch down the dough, roll out onto a non-floured surface into a log and start to divide. If you want to “eye-ball” it, that’s totally fine, but I measured mine to between 4 ¼ -4 ½  oz. balls.

Dough Balls

Once dough is measured out, take the ball and “pinch” it with the smooth side on the bottom, invert and place ball between the heel and palm of your hand. In a circular motion roll to create a ball that has virtually no seam. Place on your silpat/parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with damp cloth while you’re working through the dough. After all dough is done, start with the first one (there’s method to the madness as the dough needs to rest slightly after the “balling” process.) of the balls and flatten slightly. Poke your finger directly in the middle and gentle break through the elasticity. With your two index fingers side by side, slowly begin to make a circle and stretch the dough. You will need to go farther than you think, but you can feel when it’s giving all that it’s got. . . Place that wring back on the silpat, repeat with the other balls and cover with damp towel. Let sit for about 20 minutes. . .

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Meanwhile, Pre-heat oven to 425 DegF, positioning one rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven and ready your steaming liquid by combining all ingredients and bring to a boil. Separate egg and add 1 T of water to the white and beat until smooth.  Gather your toppings of choice.

 Once 20 minutes have passed, you can begin the steaming process: liberally spray your grate and spatula with oil and place 3 or 4 of your bagel rings on the oiled grate. Cover and steam for 2 minutes. Re-apply oil to the spatula. After 2 minutes, remove the dough from the grate back to the baking sheet. Go ahead and Re-apply oil to your grate and spatula and place your un-steamed rings onto the grate. Cover for 2 minutes.

While your second batch is steaming (I did this a LITTLE out of order over my excitement in the demonstration. . . ) Lather the egg wash onto each steamed bagel. Then with a topping of your choice, sprinkle the tops. I always like a variety, so some remain plain, BUT for that wonderful golden finish, be sure to lather with the egg wash.

After all bagels have steamed and been topped, place the baking sheet in the oven for c. 20 minutes, rotating the pan ½ way through. “Ten and turn”. . . After 20 minutes, check for doneness. If they need to be a little richer color for your eye, put in for 2 more minutes. (mine have taken 20-24 minutes in the past). Once doneness is achieved for your taste, turn oven off for 5 minutes door closed. Then crack the door for 5 minutes. This will allow the bagels to cool slightly before removing from heat completely.

Remove baking sheet and place bagels onto a cooling rack for a minimum of 20 minutes before tearing into one!

And like that, you’re like that character in the movies with your fresh NYC bagel!

Once cooled completely, you can store in a paper bag for up to 2 days.  ENJOY! 

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Vanilla Pastry Cream

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Vanilla Pastry Cream

Have you every been watching a baking show on TV and someone says “Crème Pat”? Well, she’s not a relative but a delicious Pastry Cream. Here’s a SIMPLE one-pot way to make a delicious Crème Pâtissière! I have to thank Martha Stewart for the inspiration for this recipe!

 

Ingredients:

DRY Mixture:

½ C granulated white sugar

¼ C Corn Starch

Pinch of Kosher Salt

 

WET Mixture:

2 C whole milk, room temp

4 Large Egg Yolks, room temp

2 T butter, salted or unsalted (may need to adjust the size of your “pinch” in Dry mix

1 t pure vanilla extract

 

Other Stuff:

Heavy-Bottomed pot

Whisk

Wide 4 C Measuring Cup

Fine-mesh Sieve

Spatula

Large cooling bowl

Cling Film

 

Instructions:

Set everything out to become room temp.

Whisk together your cornstarch, sugar and pinch of salt. In your large measuring cup, combine the milk and egg yolks, whisking until eggs are well incorporated. Add Wet mixture to Dry mixture whisking the entire time as to not form clumps. Add Softened butter. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Once on a full boil, let boil for one minute to completely activate the corn starch, still whisking.

After the minute of boiling, turn the heat off and add in the vanilla (flavoring of your choice) and whisk until thoroughly combined. Switching to a spatula pour mixture through sieve into bowl to filter any potential cooked egg pieces. Cover with cling film place directly onto the mixture to keep from forming a “skin”. Let cool at room temp for 30 minutes and in the fridge for up to 2 days before use.

I always make mine a day ahead and use it in a tart shell the next morning to allow ample time for it to set up!

That’s all there is to this wonderful Crème Pâtissière! 

 Vanilla Pastry cream is the base of this delicious fruit tart! 

Vanilla Pastry cream is the base of this delicious fruit tart! 

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