Saturday, February 4, 2017

Piña Colada Cake

A bite of tropical dreams. That's what this cake is all about. Just cooking the pineapple will make your house smell great and transport you to a beach in Mexico or the Caribbean!

This is a big cake, highly recommended for a summer party, or whenever you feel like going to the beach in the winter! Creamy coconut and pineapple layered between fluffy and moist yellow cake stacks!

It has a lot of components but don't be fooled: it's an easy cake to make! The actual cake turns out very elastic so you don't have to be scared if making it in a long rectangular pan, it will not break! It serves about 25 people, depending on the size of the slices you cut.

You can make 1/2 the recipe and bake in 2 X 8"spring form pans or this one recipe and bake in a 9X 13 pan in 2 steps.

8 eggs (2 egg whites beaten until stiff peakes)
2 + 3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 T natural vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
2T baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup warm milk
1/2 lemon

100g shredded unsweetened coconut
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 cans of milk (use the condensed milk can for measuring)
2T whole milk powder (I use mexican Nestlé NIDO found in any supermarket's hispanic aisle)
2T corn starch
pineapple compote (recipe below)

Pineapple compote
1 large pineapple diced small (use canned diced pineapple if you need more or don't have the fresh fruit)
2-4T sugar (depending on how sweet and ripe the pineapple is)
1/4 cup (water)
8 whole cloves

1 pint Heavy Whipping cream
3T whole milk powder or 2 envelopes of Dr. Oetker "Whip it!" (found on Amazon)
3T confectioner's sugar, sifted (or to taste)
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

To drizzle over cake layers
2oz Malibu Black or Spiced rum
liquid from the pineapple compote
water to complete 16 - 18oz

Making the cake:
Pre heat oven to 350F. Spray baking PAM in a 9X13 non-stick pan.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm peaks. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until a fluffy cream forms, about 8-10 minutes. While mixing that, in a separate bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Heat up the milk with the 1/2 lemon squeezed for about 1min in the microwave.
In low speed, incorporate the flour and milk with lemon to the egg cream, adding a third of each at a time, alternating milk and flour mix until all is combined. Don't overmix. Use a wooden spoon for this step if you prefer.
Using a spatula or wooden spoon, lightly incorporate the stiff egg whites to the batter.
If you have 3 pans, divide batter into 3 pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes.
If you only have one, like I did, spread 2/3 of the batter in one pan, bake for 30 min or until dry in the middle. Take it off the pan while hot and pour the remaining batter and bake for 15-18 minutes, until dry in the center.

Whisk all ingredients (except for the compote) in a heavy bottom pan and cook until thickened in medium heat, whisking continuously. Incorporate drained compote.

Pineapple compote
Add the pineapple, sugar, water and cloves to a small sauce pan. Heat up until boiling. Cover pan and let it simmer 10 minutes or until pineapple is cooked but still holds its shape. Remove the cloves and drain compote saving the liquid in a measuring cup.

Assembling the cake
Use the cake pan lined with a lot of saran wrap or Press 'N Seal.
If you baked like me, cut the fist cake in half, horizontally. Use the top of the cake as your bottom layer with the crust facing the pan. Drizzle 1/3 of the liquid over the cake. Add 1/2 coconut and pineapple cream, cover with the other cake layer, crust side down. Drizzle another 1/3 of the liquid and the rest of the coconut cream. Use the remainder of the liquid to drizzle the last layer of the cake you baked, crust side up for leveling when decorating.

Wrap the press 'n seal around it and put in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours before you frost it.

In a cold bowl, mix the whipping cream, milk powder, vanilla extract and sugar in high speed until firm peaks form. If you mix too long, you will churn it, so keep an eye out and reduce the speed when you feel like the consistency is changing if you don't have a lot of experience mixing your own whipped cream.

I recommend frosting the cake the day you're serving it but, if you are using the whole milk powder or a whipped cream stabilizer, you can do it up to 48h in advance.

Frost the cake with the whipped cream and cover with coconut. Use a piping bag if you wish.

If served the next day, your cake should be extra moist! YUM!


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Chicken and Jasmine Rice Casserole

In Brazil, a creamy dish like this one is called a fricasse, but I'm calling it a casserole since it's all baked in one big pyrex!

An easy recipe that will yield enough food for a large family of 8 or a small family of 2 like mine and then a ton of leftovers for lunch and dinner during the week! hehehe

All you need is (adapted to the US and my taste from Tasty Demais website)

2 tubs of regular cream cheese, softened
2T milk or half and half
1 bag (8oz) shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar blend or whatever you prefer)
28oz diced tomatoes
1 small bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 chicken breasts (1.25-1.5lb), cooked, shredded
3-4 cups of rice, cooked (I use american Jasmine, 2 cups dry)
handful of parsley
salt & pepper to taste (I use 1 + 1/4 teaspoon salt and just a couple dashes of pepper)
1 teaspoon of paprika (full, don't level)
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
parmesan to broil (about 1/2 cup shredded)

To cook the rice:
lightly sautée 1 clove of minced garlic and 2 T of minced onions in 2T of olive oil. Add 2 cups of dry rice and 3cups of water (or as much as indicated in the packaging of the rice you're using). Let it boil. Cover pan and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it rest for another 10 minutes without opening the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, soften the cream cheese and whisk it with the egg yolks and milk. Add the shredded chicken and cheese, the diced tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and seasonings. Mix well with a spatula.

In a 9X13 pyrex, add half of the cooked rice after fluffed covering the bottom of the pan. Add half of the creamy chicken mix, another layer of rice and then the rest of the creamy chicken mix. Sprinkle the parm and take it to the oven for 40 minutes and then broil for 3-4 more minutes on high.

Add a side salad or some wilted spinach as side and enjoy!