Saturday, February 06, 2016

some assembly required

I don't bake very often, other than around Christmas, because:
(a) I would just eat it, and
(b) you pretty much have to follow a recipe while baking, and I like to think of recipes as mere suggestions.

I'm not good at following formulas - too many flashbacks to Biochem 235. With cooking, I can make stuff up and it usually tastes pretty good, and if it doesn't, I can usually figure out how to fix it. Not so with baking.

Until today.

I had an almost full container of ricotta that I wanted to use up and have been thinking for a while about making the Spousal Unit (aka the Resident Macaroon Aficionado) some coconut macaroons. So I threw the ricotta together with a bit of crushed pineapple that I had in the freezer and some icing sugar and almond extract, with the idea of making macaroon balls. The mess tasted fine but was not in any way rollable. And, not containing any chocolate, it wasn't worthy of eating with a spoon.

So I figured I would turn it into a cake. Not able to find any suitable ricotta-coconut-pineapple cake recipes on the interwebz, I figured I would just make a white cake and incorporate the mess into it.

But I discovered that all the white cake recipes on the internet start with Take one box of white cake mix ...

What the what? If you are using a cake mix, why would you even bother to post a recipe? It's on the side of the ding-dang box. That's not baking; that's paper shuffling.

But from somewhere in the recesses of my tiny brain I pulled out enough cake chemistry data to remember that you have to cream together butter, sugar, eggs and flour (with baking powder and salt mixed into it) at a roughly 1:1 ratio. 

I alternated adding the dry ingredients with the pineapple-coconut-ricotta mess (more latent cake chemistry knowledge), threw it into a greased pan and baked it for about half an hour. Oh, and I tossed in a bit more almond extract and also some lime juice, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Turns out it was a darn good idea. Turns out you can hack a cake recipe after all. Especially when you slather it with a lime-coconut buttercream icing.

Who wants to come over for dessert?


Eugene K said...

That's awesome! I'm way better at cooking than baking, for the reasons you suggest. I like to improvise, and I'm not very good at doing what I'm told.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am not terribly surprised that you are not good at doing what you are told, Eugene. You proudly follow your own drummer. Here's to recipes made on the fly!

For the record, I always covet your self-picked mushroom soups, among other great-looking dishes.

Corinne said...

Nicely done! Chemistry class was worthwhile!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Haha! You can only say that because you don't know how many years it took me to finally pass Biochemistry, Corinne!

Erik Donald France said...

Seems like an excellent concoction, indeed!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was far tastier than it had any right to be, Erik.