When I am asked to put together a dessert, I usually turn to my old standby, lemon squares. They have a shortbread bottom and a lemon curd top and are extremely toothsome. At least, so I have been told. Oh, and I just recently discovered that warm lemon squares are just this side of heaven. Many thanks to my Mom, who gave me her recipe!
However, this Easter I wanted to switch things up, so when I ran across a recipe for Vanilla Cake with Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing, I was pretty sure I had a winner. The recipe calls for a boxed white cake as a base, and seeing as how Darren avoids boxed cake like the plague, I found a good recipe for vanilla cake in a Cooks Illustrated cookbook.
(Side note: We don’t have a stand mixer, and I can usually manage without one. However, I really could have used one when I made this cake as the batter was very thick and it challenged the old hand mixer that I inherited from my Mom. Incidentally, it is my birthday in about a month, so if anyone (hint hint, *cough* Darren) wanted to buy me either a good hand mixer or a KitchenAid stand mixer, I wouldn’t object. Given the space limitations in our kitchen, the hand mixer is probably the more affordable and prudent choice. Just saying…)
To continue with the cake.
The recipe called for making the cake in a cookie sheet with 1″ sides, which I did not have, so I resorted to two 9″ round pans. Darren calculated that the volume would be the same, so on Saturday afternoon Cate and I made the cake. They cooled, I wrapped them, and away they went to Chilliwack. I thought it would be easier to make the icing in Chilliwack, rather than ice the cake and transport it without a proper cake box/tin/Tupperware/whatever you call it.
The cake was originally intended for Easter Sunday, but I think everyone filled up on the delicious dinner, and by the time I got downstairs from putting John to sleep, mostly everyone had gone. So I postponed the cake completion until Monday.
Monday rolled around, and when everyone else was in the hot tub, I tackled the completion of the cake. Here’s what the icing looked like midway through:
This is my Mom’s old Kenwood stand mixer. She has had it forever and it is still going strong. I remember using this when I was younger. My first attempt at a cake was a failure. It ended up looking like it was created by Dr. Seuss and made a HUGE mess in the kitchen. (Hey Mom, you should track down those pictures so I can post them!)
This is the cake with icing in the middle. I don’t think I drained the pineapple enough so I had to add about an extra cup of icing sugar, which I think made the icing a little too sweet. Next time I am going to strain the pineapple and squeeze it out so I don’t have to add extra sugar as a stabilizer. I was a little worried that the icing would be too wet to hold the cake together, but it turned out all right in the end.
See? Pretty fancy!
Obligatory interior shot. Check out all that delicious icing!
It was really good. I got rave reviews from everyone who has tasted it, including both family and friends. It’s amazing what you can create when you follow a recipe! Oh, and I am definitely giving this a shot again, but preferably when there are more people around to help eat it. And I think I’ll try the cookie sheet version as well.
Have I mentioned that I love food?