Sunday, April 17, 2011

Working Mom's Recipe of the Week

This is a special Easter Edition for those who will be celebrating next weekend. My Easter tradition is to bake two pineapple upside-down cakes for a potluck party at my mother-in-law's house. This year I decided to make the cakes from scratch and looked up recipes online. I was amazed to find that every single recipes started with "1 box yellow cake mix". How exactly is that from scratch?! Don't get me wrong, I'm not that snobby about my food (Ok, maybe I am). A cake that is a doctored-up box-cake is delicious and it took time and that's great! But sometimes I want to start with flour, butter and milk and see if I can do it without the help of Pillsbury. So I ended up combining 3 different recipes, none of which called for 1 box of yellow cake mix. The result turned out great!

Pineapple Upside-down Cake
Servings = 2 cakes
Time = 1 hr

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 c melted butter (not margarine)
2/3 c paked brown sugar
1 c coconut flakes
1 20-oz can pineapple rings, drained
1 jar red cherries in water, drained (not maraschino cherries)
3 eggs
½ c water
1/3 c oil
1 c low-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside
3. In a small bowl, mix melted butter, brown sugar and coconut flakes.
4. Arrange 5 pineapple rings in the bottom of 2 9-inch cake pans. Pour half the cherries in each pan, arranging them to fill in the gaps between the pinapples. Sprinkle the coconut mixture evenly over the pineapples and cherries.
5. To the flour mixture, add the eggs, water, oil, sour cream and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Pour half the batter into each pan and use a spoon to smooth.
6. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
7. Cool for 10 minutes in pan. Run a knife around the edges and flip onto serving plates. Cool completely before serving.

Notes: You must use pastry or cake flour, not regular, to get the right consistency - whole wheat is healthier, but white is a fluffier texture. You can use twice as many pineapples and just a single maraschino cherry in the middle of each, which is the traditional look. But maraschino cherries are died with nasty red dye, which is starting to be tied to behavioral problems in kids, so I'm not using those any more. If you prefer yogurt to sour cream, just make sure it is plain without added sugar or your cakes will be too sweet. And use a low-fat, not a fat-free, version because the fat makes the cake moist.

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