Ginger-Frosted Pineapple Cake

I first found this recipe a few years ago, in the Cooking by Moonlight book by Karri Ann Allrich. She had mentioned the ease in which it came together, and I remember being impressed at how true that sentence was. In fact, outside of the frosting, you don't even need the electric mixer; it's all by hand. And, as much as I love the Holy Grail... oh, sorry. The Kitchen Aid mixer as its known to the rest of the world ;) But, yes, sometimes it's nice to mix everything by hand. (Just don't tell that to HG, okay?) ;)

The first time I made this, I just did regular cream cheese frosting. This time around, I added the ginger, and was quite pleased. It's a nice contrast in taste. And my wonderful guinea pigs at work were all happy, too. :)

Oh, and definitely use the crushed pineapple. I didn't have any (nor did Target), so I just went with the chunks. Still good, but the crushed would have been better.

2 large eggs
1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)

Gingered Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 to 3 cups confectioners' sugar
¼ tsp. ground ginger
4 to 5 pieces candied ginger, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until they are light and fluffy. Add the undrained crushed pineapple, and mix well by hand. Add the flour, sugars, and baking soda, and gently beat with a fork. Do not overheat. Fold in the chopped nuts.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan, then frost.

Gingered Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, until desired consistancy is achieved. Add the ground ginger, and beat until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the candied ginger by hand and stir well.


Double Peanut Butter Bars

On Monday night, I said - quite randomly - to Dave, "I feel like making something with peanut butter."

He looked at me and asked, "Who are you?"

I'm sure I've mentioned on here before, my love/hate relationship with peanut butter. Some days, we're friends, I'll go straight for the jar. Other days, just the scent is enough to turn my stomach. So I don't blame him for asking me that question. Besides, it was funny.

I found these on the Hershey website, in search of something peanut butter-y yet simple. It had been a long day, and while I wanted to bake, I wanted something that required little to no thinking. Voila, this recipe worked out perfect.

They taste like any other peanut butter bar, but I feel like they hardened up pretty quickly, even with being in the air-tight container. After Tuesday night, I haven't had a single bit. Other people have, with no complaint. *shrug* Maybe I'm just weird? LOL (No need to answer that one!)

½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) peanut butter chips (Or the Swirled ones, as that's all I had)
½ cup chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl. Add sugar and brown sugar; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla.

Beat flour mixture into peanut butter mixture, blending well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Spread half of batter into prepared pan; spoon syrup over top. Carefully top with remaining batter; swirl with metal spatula or knife for marbled effect.

Bake at 350F 35 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. About 36 bars.


Marshmallow Swirl Brownies

Being from Massachusetts, one thing that I have a hard time finding out here in California is Marshmallow Fluff. While I was never a fan of the Fluffernutter sandwich (peanut butter and fluff), I do greatly enjoy the taste of the Fluff all on its own.

It came to me a few weeks ago: Why not try swirling it into a brownie? I used their recipe for Whoopie Pie filling with my classic 'smaller-pan' brownie recipe. I'm a firm believer that whoever came up with the idea of chocolate and marshmallow together needs to be sainted. :)

The camera goblins are acting up, so no pictures. But, if this tells you anything - Dave ate nearly half of the pan. I brought some into work today and it got rave reviews. Not bad when I don't think it came out overly pretty to begin with. (And that's part of the reason the goblins were acting up, I think) ;)

Oh. I would've posted this soon, but ya know... yesterday was the 21st. I had to read book seven. (And, hey, if you're curious and want to read my thoughts, check out the livejournal) :D

Marshmallow Fluff Filling:
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup confectioners' sugar
½ cup Marshmallow Fluff
½ tsp. vanilla

½ cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

For Marshmallow Filling/Swirl:
Combine all ingredients, beating until light and fluffy.

For Brownies:
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square pan.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until smooth.

Pour three-quarters of the batter into prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of marshmallow over batter. Top with remaining batter. With a knife, gently swirl through the batter, marbling the marshmallow.

Bake at 350F for 20-23 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.


Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I think this is my fourth attempt at a peanut butter cupcake. They've come out either too heavy, too oily, or just plain not good enough. I'm still obsessing over Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and am currently hinting at my mom to buy it for me. ;)

So, these aren't fully vegan, since I didn't have any soy milk left. And the frosting isn't from the book at all, since I was lacking in ingredients. So I took one off of my recipe webpage. Oh, yeah, have I mentioned that? Gypsy Kitchen is my recipe website; not updated nearly enough, but it's there nonetheless. :)

But, yeah. I finally have a pb cupcake recipe that works! Woohoo! Fourth try's the charm, right? ;)

3/4 cup soy milk
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
½ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. ground flaxseed
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Mix soy milk with vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the peanut butter, oil, sugar, molasses, vanilla, and flaxseed until well combined. Add the soy milk mixture and mix until incorporated. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined. Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full.

Bake at 350F for 23-26 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling racks.

Cocoa Frosting:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Large pinch salt
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients. Cream butter, milk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mixing until desired spreading consistency is reached.


Sexy Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes

I think every blog and its mother has posted a cupcake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. With that, I simply had to get my hands on the book and give it a try. The library finally got in stock yesterday.

I tried this one first because I didn't really have to get any ingredients that I didn't already have. That, and hey, when a cupcake intro says "there's no way in freakin' hell you're putting down those cupcakes", how can a girl possibly resist?

And the taste? Oh my goodness. This is my official vanilla cupcake recipe. Hands down. I used the icing/decorating suggestion that they made, for the most part. I did half raspberries, half plums, but the plum pics didn't work out. They had to be quickly refrigerated so that they wouldn't fall off. Probably should've patted them dry a bit after chopping, hmm? Oh well. I had one and 'twas yummy. :)

½ cup vanilla soy yogurt
2/3 cup vanilla or plain soy milk
¼ cup applesauce
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

Skinny Confectioners' Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 to 4 tsp. of soy milk or 1 Tbsp. flavored syrup (like the Torani brand)
½ cup seedless, smooth spreadable fruit or other preserves
1 cup fresh fruit or berries, washed, patted dry and thinly sliced, if necessary

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, soy milk, applesauce, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Sift in flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix well. Fill cupcake liners three-quarters full.

Bake at 350F for 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Whisk together confectioners' sugar with soy milk or syrup, until desired consistancy is reached. If too thick, add more milk, one teaspoon at a time; if too watery, add in more sugar by the tablespoon.

Spread top of cupcake with a few thin layers of spreadable fruit. Spoon a small circle of icing on top of jam, then decorate with fresh fruit. If desired, drizzle tops of fruit with icing as well.


Vanilla Cheesecake with Mixed Berry Sauce

Last week, we acquired about ten pounds of plums. Which made me start thinking, of course, of what I could make with them. I mentioned the idea of cheesecake, and Dave said he could make a sauce to go over it. Alright, sounds like a plan.

But then he didn't feel like cutting them up, so we used a bag of frozen mixed berries that have been needing to get some use. *shrug* Still yummy, but I've still got a ton of plums!

I wanted to do a white cheesecake, but without the white chocolate. Sometimes the white chocolate is just too sweet, and I didn't want to risk not eating any of the cheesecake! As an added surprise, after pressing in the crust, I added some crushed Daim chocolates. (For those who haven't been enlightened yet, Daim is a Swedish chocolate... toffee enrobed in milk chocolate. Very yummy. Ikea sells them) :)

Oh, and I'll give proper credit: Dave took the picture. He also found the 'close up' option on the camera, for use on things less than a certain amount away. Hmm. I never knew that existed. At least that means there's hope for my photography skills! ;)

1½cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
¼ cup granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean, split, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1½ cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream

1 bag frozen berries (mixed or of choice)
¼ cup water
3-4 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
1½ tsp. cornstarch, mixed with 1 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, almonds and butter in bowl until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden brown, 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Wrap bottom and side of pan with heavy-duty foil. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 325F. Remove seeds from vanilla bean with tip of small paring knife or spoon; set aside. Beat cream cheese in mixer bowl on medium-high speed, 3 minutes. Scrape side of bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in vanilla seeds. Gradually beat in sugar, scraping sides of mixer bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended and mixture is completely smooth. Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract, if using. Pour filling into prepared pan.

Bake at 325F for about 1 hour, or until center is nearly set. Let cool on wire rack before transferring to the refrigerator.

In a medium saucepan, combine berries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until most of the berries have popped. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook for an addition minute, until the syrup thickens slightly. Turn heat to a low simmer and cover for about 10 minutes.