Monday, April 12, 2010

Piña Colada Cake


I love coconut; I pine for pineapple-upside-down cake and I can't get enough of tres leches cake. One day, the wheels in my brain started turning and I thought about how great it could be to combine these 3 concepts into one cake; And so it was born: Piña Colada Cake!

I started with a base cake recipe from Paula Deen's book, The Lady & Sons Just Desserts. It is her recipe for Cream Cheese Pound Cake. You can't go wrong with a recipe from Paula Deen. She is the queen of all things southern and sweet!

Cake Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Filling/Topping ingredients:
1 can sliced pineapple
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 15-ounce can Coco Lopez cream of coconut
1 14-ounce can Sweetened condensed milk
4 cups heavy whipping cream (3 cups of this will go into whipped topping for top of cake)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
5 Tbsp. Sugar (for whipped topping)
1 tsp. coconut flavoring (to be used in whipped topping)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans. Using a mixer, cream together butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs two at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and coconut flavorings. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat well. Add remainder of flour mixture and beat for a couple more minutes.

2. Add several slices of pineapple to the bottom of one of the prepared baking pans (Grease and flour pans well; otherwise, the pineapple may stick to the bottom). Pour batter into pans.

3. Bake for 1.5 hours (start checking an hour into the baking process in case your oven bakes hotter). Check with a toothpick inserted in center; if it comes out clean, your cake is done.

4. Allow cake layers to cool.

5. Invert both layers onto separate cake plates. (Be sure the plate you're putting it on has slightly sloping sides to allow milk mixture to soak into the bottom of the cake and not run off the sides of the plate.) The layer with pineapple slices will serve as the bottom layer of the cake.

6. Mix together these ingredients:
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup of heavy cream and half of the can of cream of coconut. Mix well. You will use this mixture of yummy, liquid-y goodness to pour over the cake.

7. Poke holes with a bamboo skewer into the bottom cake layer. Take out your frustrations as needed until there are plenty of holes. The more holes you make, the better your mixture will soak in. Begin slowly pouring half of the milk mixture over the cake, allowing it to soak in.

8. Add a layer of crushed pineapple and a handful of shredded coconut over the top. Reserve more pineapple and coconut for the top layer of the cake.

9. Put 2nd cake layer on top of the first layer. Poke more holes and pour the last part of milk mixture over the top. Don't worry if it runs over the sides. You can clean it off the plate later if needed. Add remainder of pineapple / coconut to the top.

10. Make whipped cream:
I think that regular cake frosting would be over the top--too heavy and sweet; it is better to make a subtle, light topping for this cake. To make whipped cream, start out with a cold bowl and beaters. Add 3 cups of heavy whipping cream to the bowl and start whipping. Your mixture will start to thicken and you can begin adding sugar, 1 spoonful at a time. Add coconut flavoring last. Whip into soft peaks. Don't whip too long or you'll end up with butter!

11. Spread whipped cream onto cake.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Honey Ginger Green Tea


I was thumbing through the latest issue of Southern Living magazine and stumbled upon this recipe. I'm not much of a hot tea drinker, so, of course, I decided to make it on ice. I love lemon in my tea and I thought the ginger would add an interesting flavor. Sure enough, the peppery bite of the ginger was an interesting component in an otherwise ordinary tea beverage. It would be quite soothing as a hot beverage as well.

1 green tea bag (I used Twinings)
1 one-inch piece of ginger root
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. honey
1 cup boiling water


Peel the ginger and grate it with a box grater. Squeeze the juice from the grated ginger. Discard the solids after you've squeezed out the juice.
Boil water and steep the green tea bag for 3 minutes. Add the ginger juice, lemon juice and honey to the green tea. Stir well and serve over ice. Garnish with lemon.