Two Easy Cake Recipes

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Do you hunger for a tempting dessert? Give one of these easy cakes a try.

The cook in all of us often feels like cake baking, but we often reject the notion because of the time and trouble involved in the layering, filling and frosting process.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to whip up a cake, bake it, and frost it right in the pan? Or maybe even not frost it at all?

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This kind of simplicity is especially welcome during or following the Holidays when we're all feeling just a little bit limp, but you still don't want to compromise on the quality of your cake.

We feature here two cakes: Chocolate Sheath Cake with Chocolate Frosting, dark, moist and irresistible with its hint of cinnamon, and Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, an old favorite that I bet you haven't made in a while.

Chocolate Sheath Cake is wonderful to have around for the family. But make it in one of the nice 13" x 9" pans that comes with its own plastic lid, and and it will travel very well to the office, a friend's house, or anywhere else you want to attract chocolate lovers.

This cake is topped with a simple frosting while still hot from the oven. The warm frosting and cake meld into a simple, but special, dessert.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Sheath Cake with Chocolate Frosting Recipe

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Icing (see below)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Sift the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder and salt onto a piece of wax paper. Sift the mixture again onto another piece of wax paper. Set aside.

Measure the buttermilk into a glass measuring cup and add the vanilla. Set aside.

Put the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer and let it run, at medium speed, for about 3 minutes. Add all the sugar in a steady stream with the mixer running, and cream for 4 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once.

With mixer running, add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating about 30 seconds after the addition of each. After all eggs are added, continue beating for 2 minutes. The mixture should look light and airy.

Remove the bowl from the mixer, and stir in the oil, mixing well. Fold in half of the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, then add half the buttermilk-vanilla, and stir well. Repeat with the remaining half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk-vanilla.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and spread, leaving it just a shade higher around the edges than in the center. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 40 minutes. Cake is done when a cake tester inserted 1 inch from the center comes out clean.

Spread icing on cake while it is still hot. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the Icing

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3-1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
Mix the milk and cocoa in a large saucepan, and stir until smooth. [Hint: Put the cocoa in first and gradually add the milk. Add the butter, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until butter melts. Remove from heat, and stir in confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in pecans, and spread over hot cake.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake has been around so long that the very name is a cooking cliche of sorts.

Everyone knows what it is, but many modern cooks have never baked one, and many modern families haven't had the pleasure of tasting this delicious dessert. Ours is baked in a cast-iron skillet. This cake can be put together so quickly, you can whip it up before you start supper, and serve it warm from the oven for dessert.

So if you are tired of all that Holiday candy (good as they are, if I see one more Ferrero Rocher, I'll scream), but still hunger for a tempting dessert, give one of these easy cakes a try.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 20-ounce can of pineapple slices, drained, reserving 5 tablespoons juice
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet, thoroughly covering the surface. Remove the skillet from heat.

Combine the 1/4 cup melted buter, brown sugar and pecans in a small bowl; stir well to thoroughly combine. Set aside.

Arrange 8 pineapple slices in a single layer in the skillet (your 9-inch skillet should accommodate 8 slices without overlapping. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each slice. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the pineapple slices.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside.

Beat the egg yolks at medium speed of an electric mixer until they are thick and lemon colored. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat. With the mixer running at low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture, then add the reserved pineapple juice. Mix until well combined.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula, gently fold the whites into the cake batter. Pour or spoon the batter evenly over the pineapple slices.

Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the skillet for 30 minutes; then invert it onto a serving plate. Makes 8 servings.

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 45 minutes; Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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