Cranberry Upside Down Cake

We had a wonderful Christmas this year, it was especially nice to have a baby in the house.  She was more interested in the wrapping paper and boxes that the presents but I am sure that won’t last too long!

Our Christmas dinner was a very local affair, my parents and grandparents ate chicken from a local farmer, we had potatoes, beets, carrots and cranberries from our land and squash, onions, and apples from other local farms.  I even picked the lemons we used on our recent trip to Arizona!  It was a wonderful meal and this cake was the perfect way to finish it off.  It is a pretty dense cake, I got the recipe from my husbands grandmother, and it pairs really well with the cranberry.  It is lightly lemon flavored and just sweet enough.

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Adapted from a recipe by Mary Bates

2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen

1 1/2 cups agave, divided

2 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 aseptic container of silken firm tofu

1 tsp lemon extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

In a medium saucepan combined the cranberries and 3/4 cups agave.  Cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens.  Pour in to greased 9 inch springform pan, spread evenly over the bottom and let cool.

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place on the middle shelf of the oven.  In a medium bowl combined the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a blender or food processor, blend the remaining 3/4 cup agave, tofu, extracts and lemon zest.  Blend until smooth.  Gently combined the wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.  The batter will be thick so spoon it over the cool cranberry sauce and spread out gently with a spatula.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes and then remove the ring of the springform pan and turn the cake out on to a platter to cool completely.  Serves 8 generously.


Gingerbread Cake

I made this for my grandfather’s 89th birthday this month.  We had a wonderful party and this cake was a big hit.  My uncle even said it was the best gingerbread he had ever had!  I think the best part is the little pieces of candied ginger spread throughout the cake, it is very nice to bite into one and get a burst of ginger.  I wish I had gotten some better pictures, the cake looked very pretty sprinkled with powdered sugar before we cut into it.

Gingerbread Cake

Adapted from Post Punk Kitchen

2 1/2 cups flour

2 Tbsp ginger

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

1 cup oil

2/3 cup molasses

1 cup agave

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup yogurt

zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a bundt pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the crystallized ginger.  In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, molasses, agave, milk, yogurt and zest.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring after each addition.  Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for ten minutes and then flip out on to a cooling rack and cool completely.  Top with powdered sugar if desired.  Serves 12-14.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My daughter came down with the Swine Flu last week so we have been spending a lot of time in the house, trying not to spread it around.  Both David and I got it too, luckily it is pretty mild in adults but it was still a lousy weekend.  I was pretty bored after three days in the house and wanted to bake something when I found out that David’s second favorite cake in the whole world is Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  I have never made Pineapple Upside Down Cake before and I think I have only eaten it once or twice.  I always thought it seemed a little fussy, having to do the topping and then the cake.  I went looking for a recipe that would be pretty easy yet still give David his soft cake topped with caramelized sugar and sweet pineapple.  After looking at a bunch of them I found Emeril’s version on the Food Network website.  He made it in a cast iron skillet so that the topping could be made in the same pan the cake baked in.  I figured that if we were going to be stuck in the house with the Swine Flu we might as well eat cake.

I converted it to an egg-less recipe and left out the rum, pecans and cherries but I think the cake came out perfect, very moist and sweet but not soggy.  I have to say that I am a convert and will definitely be making this cake again.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake in the skillet

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 can of Pineapple rings (I used 7 rings)

3/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cups light brown sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

1 tsp. vinegar

1/4 cup pineapple juice (from can)

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.  Mix together the milk, vinegar and pineapple juice, set aside.  In 10 inch cast iron skillet melt four tablespoons of butter and add the brown sugar.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture is bubbly then arrange the pineapple rings on top.  Cook two more minutes and then flip the rings over and turn off the heat.  Set aside to cool while you make the cake batter.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Beat the remaining butter with the sugar until fluffy, add vanilla.  Alternate adding the milk mixture and the flour, beating after each addition.  Pour the batter on top of the pineapple rings and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and then invert on to cake plate.  Let cool to room temperature before serving.  Serves 8-10 (or two people with the Swine Flu).

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My Grandmother’s Chocolate Cake

I think everyone has some version of this cake recipe.  I have heard it called Wacky Cake, Three Hole Cake and WWII Cake.  In my family it is No Nothing Cake, because you don’t have to know nothing to make it.  My Grandmother, Margaret, set this cake on the counter and covered with a tea towel so that when the men came in from doing the farm chores they could grab a piece.  I never saw her frost it, just top it with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar.  The recipe card that I use is the same one that she used and my mother remembers baking off of it when she was a child. 

Recipe Card

No Nothing Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350* F.  Sift together:

1 1/2 cups flour

3 Tbsp. cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Add to that:

1 Tbsp. vinegar

6 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup cold water

Mix just until incorporated and then pour in to 8×8 pan or 12 paper lined muffin cups and bake for 25-30 minutes.  I love to frost it with vanilla or cream cheese frosting and then top with coconut. 

This is my grandmother in the background on the farm steps with some lambs.

Grandmother's Chocolate CupCake