Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This was my Father in Laws favorite cake. He requested it for his birthday every year. He died in February of 1989, but I'm sure if he were here he would LOVE this cake. Today is his birthday, so the kids & I made this cake in memory of him.


11/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 3 tablespoons (cut into small pieces) for preparing the top
1 cup sugar, plus 2/3 cup for preparing the top
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
7 thin rounds cored pineapple

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture in three additions alternately with the milk in two, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined.
  3. In a 10-inch cast-iron (or ovenproof nonstick) skillet, pour the remaining 2/3 cup sugar into skillet, and place over medium heat.
  4. Let sugar begin to liquefy, then stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is fully melted and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. The sugar may smoke, but if it browns too quickly, remove pan from heat briefly before continuing.
  5. Remove pan from heat; add 3 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces), stirring to incorporate. The butter will help cool the caramel and stop it from darkening; it also thins out the caramel to make a syrupy sauce.
  6. Begin by placing one pineapple round in the center of the pan. Arrange the remaining rounds in a circle around center slice, overlapping slightly if necessary to fit.
  7. Carefully spoon batter over pineapples in skillet. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake, then carefully invert onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cranberry Nut Bread

This is my absolute favorite nutbread! Last year I discovered a sweetened cranberry relish in the deli section of the local grocery store. It has whole cranberries, pineapple & walnuts. It was too sweet to eat as a side dish, but when used instead of the fresh cranberries in my nutbread it was AMAZING!

2 cups flour
1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup sweetened cranberry relish

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two 8X4 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda, stir in butter until crumbly. Add water and egg. Fold in cranberry relish. Fill loaf pans half full.

Cook @ 350 for one hour or until wooden tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. When it is completely cool, wrap nutbread in foil to store. This recipe also works great for mini loaves to give as gifts.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


One of my favorite Christmas treats is homemade Fudge. I've made the kind with marshmallows or marshmallow cream in the past, but this type with condensed milk is my absolute favorite. I've tweaked this recipe a little bit. It originally called for 3 cups of semi sweet chips, but the package I usually buy is only 12 oz. Instead of opening two bags of semi sweet, I used one bag of semi-sweet & 1/2 a bag of milk chocolate. This recipe can also be made in a double boiler on the stove top, but I find using the microwave to be much faster & easier.
  • 2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (6 oz) milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • (I used store brand condensed milk & it came out fine)
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cups chopped nuts (optional)(I leave out the nuts)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
LINE 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan.
  • COMBINE chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt in 1-quart glass bowl. Cook on HIGH (100% power) 3 minutes or until chips are melted, stirring after 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  • CHILL 2 hours or until firm. Remove from pan by lifting edges of foil. Cut into squares.