I’m a little behind at recording my baking projects here. Last weekend was my husband’s birthday, and he requested pineapple upside-down cake, without cherries.
Easy enough! There are lots of recipes for this kind of cake out there, and I’m sure most are good. It’s actually a fairly easy cake, and I chose a skillet cake recipe just because it seemed fun and slightly different. It also called for several tablespoons of rum, which sounded great to me.
I mostly followed the recipe–I think I added some cinnamon and clove in addition to the cardamom that was called for. Now that I’ve made it, I also think I could have used more pineapple and been a little more strategic about their placement. Overall, though, this was a very good recipe as-is, and I would bake again. I used fresh pineapple and it was super duper tasty for several days.
Belated hoppy Easter to all! I am really trying to work on my layer cake skills now that I know I don’t have any. I looked at a million different carrot cake recipes before settling on this one from King Arthur’s Flour, which is a surprisingly reliable & comprehensive baking recipe resource.
This recipe has two components: the cake and the frosting. I added a third component, which was the decorative carrot curls on top.
- Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease two 9″ cake pans.
- Beat together 1.5 cups vegetable oil, 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp salt, 4 large eggs, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and 2 tsp baking soda.
- Stir in 2 cups flour until just blended. Then stir in 3 cups finely grated carrots and 1.5 cups chopped nuts. Pour into pans.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes and allow to cool before frosting.
- Beat together 1/2 cup room temp unsalted butter and 8oz room temp cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/4 tsp salt and 2 tsp vanilla.
- Add 2.5-3.5 cups confectioners’ sugar gradually and beat until smooth, add a little bit of milk if it’s too liquidy. Frost the cake.
Carrot curls (I used this recipe as a guideline):
- Take about 2 large carrots and cut 15-20 strips using a peeler.
- Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Place carrot strips in the water and reduce heat to a simmer, let simmer 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Once carrots are done simmering, drain and lay out on a baking sheet (not touching). Bake for 30 minutes.
- Working quickly, remove carrots from oven and wrap around a wooden spoon handle to curl. Allow to sit a few seconds then slip off.
- Sprinkle with extra sugar if you want, let cool, and then use to decorate as you wish.
- This recipe tasted good and was VERY rich.
- I did a few things differently from the recipe. Mainly, I cut the layers in half so that I had four layers instead of just two. I used a mixture of pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts because I didn’t have enough of any single nut.
- I also multiplied the frosting recipe by 1.5 because I figured I needed more due to the increased number of layers.
- Lastly I made more carrot curls than called for because I figured some of them would look ugly so I’d need more.
- Okay so this recipe tasted good and looked okay but there are a LOT of things I need to think about or work on.
- First of all, I had a cake crater AGAIN. I am getting so frustrated by this. Both of my cakes had fairly sizeable craters. It’s a big reason why I cut them in half, because I was kind of worried they weren’t totally cooked and wanted to check. I have researched and researched and tried multiple solutions and I’m still having this issue. I’m not giving up yet though.
- Also, I am very inexperienced at cutting layer cakes in half, as demonstrated by the mess of the middle of the cake pictured below. I think part of the problem is that it’s tricky to cut cakes with chunks of nuts in them. I’m going to try just a smooth cake next time.
- Grating carrots is TERRIBLE. Next time I would do this in advance, or enlist someone else to do it.
- I’m getting better at spreading the frosting but still not great. I want a turntable.
- The carrot curls didn’t quite work as imagined. Only a few of them really maintained their curl. Some of them just snapped completely. It ended up okay looking but not what I had hoped.
Hummingbird cake is a Southern classic comprised of a banana/pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting. Y’all, I’m now up to TWO cakes for the year, which is about as many as I made in the entirety of last year.
I got this recipe from The Kitchn, which is my favorite professional-quality resource for baking. The recipes from The Kitchn don’t just explain how to do things, they explain WHY they work and they provide very detailed photo step-by-step instructions. Also, they almost never include dumb personal details about people’s kids that you have to scroll through before the actual recipe.
There are three parts to this recipe: the cake itself, the frosting, and the decorative pineapple “flowers.” (Sadly, these are not potato chips, as many have thought.)
- Preheat oven to 350F, coat 2 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
- Mix dry ingredients in large bowl: 3 cups flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt.
- Mix wet ingredients: 3 eggs, 3/4 cup canola oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 8-oz can crushed pineapple, 2 cups ripe mashed banana. It’s ok if lumpy.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients then fold in 1 cup chopped pecans. Don’t overmix.
- Pour the mix evenly into the 2 pans and bake for 35-40 minutes. (I checked at 40 and felt like it could use another 5 minutes which seemed fine.)
- Cool the cakes in pans for 10 minutes then flip out to finish cooling.
(You may recall that in my previous post, I discussed having problems with my 9-inch cake pan. Well, that’s because I’m a moron and I thought I had a 9-inch cake pan but it was actually clearly a much smaller pan. I realized this when I went to the store and looked at the actual 9-inch pans. Problem now solved.)
- Beat 1 cup room temperature butter for about 1 minute until smooth.
- Add 8 oz room temperature cream cheese and beat for about 3 minutes.
- Add 1 pound sifted powdered sugar, about 4.5 cups, gradually adding 1 cup at a time and scraping down sides.
- Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Beat again for 3-5 minutes.
- Once the cake is cool, frost it. It’s a pretty simple layer cake frosting. Put one layer of the cake on the stand and anchor it down with a smudge of frosting on the very bottom. Then put 1/3 of the frosting on top of the cake. Then put the other layer of the cake on top and put another 1/3 of frosting on the top layer. Finally put the last 1/3 of the frosting on the sides. It’s definitely more than enough frosting so you won’t run out, just mush it on as well as you can.
- Set oven to 200F. If you just baked your cake, leave the door open for a little bit to bring it down from 350. Put a rack on the lowest part of the oven and remove the other racks.
- Take a WHOLE PINEAPPLE, cut off the top and bottom, and peel it. Trim off the “eyes.”
- Thinly slice the pineapple into 1/8 inch thick rounds. The recipe says that it should yield 24-36 thin slices.
- Pat the slices dry with paper towels.
- Set up the slices on wire racks on a baking sheet. The recipe suggested using multiple wire racks stacked using foil balls as spacers so that you can fit all the pineapple on one baking sheet without overlapping them.
- Bake for 2-3 hours.
- Once you remove them, you can shape them around muffin tins, glasses, or your hands if you want. Then put them on top of the cake!
- This cake tasted really good! It was kind of like banana bread, but sweeter and more cakey.
- The cream cheese frosting was also amazing and went REALLY well with the pineapple flowers. If you don’t want to make a cake I recommend just making pineapple flowers and dipping them into the frosting yum yum.
- I need to order some of those pre-cut parchment paper rounds if I’m gonna keep making round cakes. It’s really annoying to cut them out by hand.
- The most difficult part of this was the pineapple flowers. I think my problem was that some of my slices were too thick. But even the ones that weren’t as thick definitely weren’t ready at 3 hours. It took about 4 hours for the thinnest slices to get to a consistency I liked for decorations. I had to get somewhere so sadly I left behind about half the slices in the oven.
- I would want to get fancier with decorations. You could do fun stuff with toasted pecans, or piping the frosting on top in prettier ways!
I’m finally making progress towards my baking resolution to make more cakes! This is my first official cake of the year. I decided to make it because it seemed pretty easy, and I could make it with stuff I had on hand, while using up some sour cream I was getting worried about.
The recipe came from Baked by an Introvert, same as the banana nutella cupcakes I made last week. It has three components: the cake itself, topping, and glaze, all of which are relatively easy.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray & flour, place a round piece of parchment paper in the bottom and spray a little more.
- Beat 1/2 cup softened butter with 3/4 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add 2 large eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup sour cream until well combined.
- Combine dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and spices. Now, as y’all know, if a recipe tells me “add 1 tsp cinnamon” I consider that a suggestion. I also added:
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground clove
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- Alternate adding 1/2 flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by 1/2 cup buttermilk, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed), and spices in a bowl. (Recipe says 1 tsp cinnamon, I used that + 1/2 tsp cardamom + a sprinkle of ground ginger)
- Cut in 1/3 cup softened unsalted butter until it is like wet sand. (Recipe says use a pastry cutter but I HATE cleaning my pastry cutter so I just used a fork it was fine.)
- Sprinkle the topping on top of the cake in the pan.
- Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes. (Recipe says to start checking at 20 minutes but that seems insane to me? It took 40 minutes.)
- Cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around outside edge to loosen, then remove from pan to cool completely.
- Combine 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 tbsp sour cream, and 1 tbsp milk in a small bowl, stir until smooth, then drizzle on top of the cooled cake.
I was too lazy to drizzle from a decorating bag so whatever, this was drizzly enough.
- This was a good cake and both my husband and workmates liked it.
- I figured out how to take a cake to work! I just cut it up into little bite-size pieces and put the pieces into cupcake liners. They were all gone before lunch. This wouldn’t work for very tall cakes, obviously.
- Now, here is the downside of baking while sad or distracted. I used what I THOUGHT was a normal 9-inch cake pan. Then, when all the cake batter + topping more than filled the pan, I thought, “Hm, that’s a little odd,” then thinking nothing more of it, popped the almost overflowing pan into the oven. I ended up with mushroom cake:
- And as you can see especially from the glazed picture, the center fell in a little. I am going to blame this entirely on my cake pan. I guess I need a different 9-inch cake pan? There’s something wrong with mine!
- It still tasted fine though, and not raw or anything.
- Oh also, I ran out of sour cream before I got to the glaze, so instead of 2 tbsp sour cream + 1 tbsp milk, I used 1 tbsp buttermilk + 2 tbsp milk. It was fine but I’m sorry I didn’t get to make the sour cream glaze.
- Well, like I said, I need a new cake pan, I had a problem here.
- I liked the glaze, I would try to be a little more fancy with it if I felt like I had the time & energy.
- I also really liked the streusel-y topping! I would make this and just put it on top of random stuff. Ice cream, maybe.