Pineapple Upside-Down Not-Cake

Here’s what I tried to make. A gluten-free pineapple upside-down cake for Memorial Day, to accomodate one of our gluten-intolerant family friends and because pineapple rocks. Here’s what happened– not that.

birds eye cake

Maybe it had to do with the coconut flour being expired (not sorry, it smelled fine). Maybe I didn’t let it bake long enough (not sorry, it’s vegan there are no eggs). Maybe (/probably/definitely) I messed up the liquid to dry ingredient ratio. Whatever happened, it just can’t be called a cake. It didn’t really “cake up” and was only about half an inch thick, still liquidy in places when I took it out of the oven. Coconut flour was the only alternative flour I had in the house, so I figured I would try that. I read beforehand about how to work with it, but simultaneously playing around to make it vegan probably added other problems.

But I’m a big fan of not letting anything go to waste, even if it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing thing or what I intended to come out of the oven. And it just goes to show that not everything in the kitchen will be a success, so sometimes you have to make the best of a (literally) sticky situation. If I were diligently trying to make a gluten-free/vegan pineapple upside-down cake, I would go back, try again, and work to better the recipe before posting. But I am quite pleased with whatever this is, because it was surprisingly delicious and everyone at dinner enjoyed it and I don’t think they were just saying it to be nice. So while it may not be cake, it’s a sweet, caramelized, pineapple-y dessert with hints of warm cinnamon and is a rockstar with ice cream or fruit salad or licked from the pan. To help with clean-up, obviously.

Pineapple Upside-Down Not-Cake

Makes 9 or 10-inch round cake

~1/2 (or a bit more) of a medium pineapple, cut into small sections

3 Tbsp rum

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tsp lime juice

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup oil

2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp ground flax meal + 5 Tbsp water)

1/2 cup almond milk

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon and ginger

Start by preparing the pineapple! Combine the pineapple, brown sugar, and rum in a skillet and toss together on medium heat until it smells delicious and is kind of bubbly and the pineapple is shiny. As you can probably tell…not too precise of a science. When they’re done, brush the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with olive oil and lay the pineapple down. Drizzle with the lime juice.

Prepare the flax eggs in a smaller bowl. Combine the flax meal and water and let sit for 5 minutes. In the mean time, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Coconut flour can be clumpy, so whisk extra well.

Add the rest of the wet ingredients to the flax eggs and whisk together. This is amusing because the oil doesn’t play nicely with others so you get a cool swirl! Which I was going to post a picture of but in retrospect it’s not super attractive so I’ll let you discover that one on your own.

Put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk together until combined. Pour into the pan over the pineapples, and bake for 50 minutes. Let cool for a while, then undo the springform and let cool even more. Enjoy!

omnomnomIce cream. No one is surprised.

Battenberg Cake: Daring Bakers Challenge

I would first like to say that this is probably the most 21st century thing I have ever done. I am blogging, using photo editing apps, and coding- all from an iPad. Not quite on Zenon’s level, but still. Next thing you know I’ll have little robots measuring out flour for me. But, the reason I am computer-less is that I have officially begun my summer in Greece!!! And thus after this will probably not post until I get back in August. Although follow my other blog,, for all trip-related fun information! Anyway, this is my first post connected to Daring Bakers- a food blog forum where a featured blogger posts a monthly challenge recipe that everyone goes and attacks and then posts the results of on the 27th. Today is indeed the 27th, so it’s time to share my results for this month’s Battenberg cake challenge, posed by Mandy!


Cool chipped tray. Too pretty to give up on it though!

A Battenberg cake is a traditional English wedding cake in which two colors of cake, traditionally an almond flavored one, are alternately stacked using apricot jam as glue and covered in a marzipan coating. Otherwise known as the world’s smallest game of checkers. In edible form. Instead of the usual flavor, I switched it up just a bit by using lemon and peach cakes, bonded together (hot) using peach preserves, and still covered in marzipan. I figured I might as well ride the summer peach train for as long as possible. Also, fun fact, I had the WEIRDEST obsession with marzipan when I was younger. Not even for the taste part, I just thought it was so so so cool, and would beg my mom to buy it so I could build little animal friends out of it. That never ended up happening, and I am slightly glad for my emotional development that it didn’t.


I love zesting/grating things. It’s weirdly gratifying. However, procuring the peach juice was…comical. I needed juice; the logical thing to do would have been to use a juicer on it or something. But I’m not always logical so I decided to peel it, squeeze the peach with my hands over a colander over a plate. SO SQUISHY! It got to the point of pressing the peach against the colander, smushing it with my fist, etc. etc. and I’m pretty sure I only yielded a total amount of juice from peach and a half or something. Not pretty, but actually so much fun, so if you don’t mind being inefficient- do this method!


This is a “flower”- aka the marzipan was splitting from the heat, so I patched it up.

The lemon and peach tastes were pretty understated, so if I made it again I would perhaps add lemon juice and more peach. I erred on the side of too little, because lemon extract can be super overpowering. This cake is also probably the epitome of everything that my sister dislikes (peach and lemon are basically the two flavors she doesn’t like) (sorry Jenny) but after much begging, I got her to take a bite. Maybe it was because I was leaving for 6 weeks the next day, but still. She of course didn’t like it, but! Aesthetic powers. That’s what this Battenburg is all about.

Battenberg Cake

adapted from Mary Berry’s “Baking Bible”

serves 6-8 people

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes

3/4 cup caster sugar (aka superfine sugar, but normal should work too)

1 1/4 cups self rising flour (1 cup self rising= 1 cup AP flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt)

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup ground almonds (I used almond flour because it’s conveniently ground for you)

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp lemon extract

juice from 3 peaches

zest of one lemon

1/2 cup peach preserves

1 cup (8 oz) marzipan

drop of red and yellow food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 inch pan with butter. If you have a Battenberg pan, cool, use that, but if not, use this awesome method to divide one pan in half- fold a piece of tin foil over itself a lot of times, fold a piece of parchment over it, and lay the flaps of parchment on the pan, using the butter as glue. Make sure the foil blockade guy is in the middle of the pan.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl, slightly beat together, and then add the dry ingredient mixture, beating until just combined and the batter is smooth. Divide the batter into two separate bowls- a food scale is super handy if you have one, but if not just eyeball it.

To lemon-ize half the batter, add the zest and lemon extract to one bowl and stir in. To peach-ize the other half, add the peach juice. I found the colors of the batter to be slightly too similar, so I added just a bit of food coloring to each one just for aesthetic reasons, but there’s no super need to if you stay away from food coloring. Pour each batter into half of the prepared pan.


Bake for 25-30 min, until it’s springy when you poke it and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes, and then turn over the cake on a wire rack.

Once it’s cool, you’re ready to construct the cake! (in my not-21st century sheet of notes I wrote “Battenberg-ize me cap’n.” why.) It’s most helpful to use one of those long, serrated bread knives. Stack the two layers on top of each other and trim off the sides. Then, cut them in half the long way (hot dog style) to get four long rectangles. The recipe said to warm the jam and pass it through a sieve, but the whole sieve thing wasn’t quite working for me so I just warmed it to make it a bit more liquidy and used a marinade brush to apply. Assemble in the alternating pattern (as you see in the pictures) using the warmed-up jam/preserves.


At this point, I stuck it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden up, since it was so so so hot out. I see two geckos having a conversation. Not pertinent to cake, but a fun fact. You might want to chill the marzipan for a little bit too, so it doesn’t get very sticky. When you’re ready to use it, roll it out using confectioners sugar as you would use flour when making dough, to make it less sticky. Place the cake to one side of it and wrap it up! This takes a bit of maneuvering (especially in 95 degree weather) and you’re technically supposed to coat the sides with jam when you roll it, but I forgot to do that. Just work slowly and you should be fine! If you want, score the top of the cake with a knife in a pretty pattern, or decorate with anything you want. Slice and watch people be surprised. Enjoy!

That was an epic set of instructions. But it’s really not that difficult, I promise. The cake bakes really easily, and the end result is super pretty. It tasted a lot better than I expected, too! Because no offense to any English readers, but I’ve never really had a cake from English that blew my mind or anything. The plain almond cake would be great as well, I imagine. This cake is great, because if the ends look ugly with a lot of extra marzipan when you’re making it, you can just chop it off and wow people with the internal design.


Plus, using marzipan allowed me to make Homestar references at every possible second.

Summer Berry Crumble


Last weekend, I had planned to pick up my boy from the train station, eat a quick dinner at home, and then drive up to New Haven. My parents had planned to be out visiting my brother and his wife and their newborn (baby niece!!!!), so dinner was going to be small and uneventful. That is, until their original plans for the day changed and they decided to come visit here instead- along with my grandma, uncle, and two family friends and their 2 year old.

All of a sudden there were 10.7 people to feed. I think that’s probably the only way to quantify 10 adults, a 3-week old, and a 1.8 year old. 10.7 people whom I absolutely love, but just very different from each of our original plans. My mom wanted to pick up something special for dessert (are we related?) so I offered instead to bake something. She was being indecisive so I hit the interwebs and found this recipe. It caught my eye for three reasons. First off, it’s vegan, so no dairy present for my lactose intolerance to pick a fight with. Second, it’s fruit-based, which is nice and refreshing on a super hot day when to be honest, I just don’t want to eat something warm and chocolatey. And yes- that probably is the ONLY time I have ever said that. The third point of attraction was how easy it is to make. All the ingredients are things you would generally have on hand; I only had to run out and pick up some fresh fruit. Also, it’s super adaptable- feel free to experiment with fruit ratios (throw ALL the fruit in the bowl) or with any combination of fruits!

I doubled the recipe to suit the large crowd and made two 9 inch square crumbles. It was delicious with vanilla ice cream if you want to take the vegan part out of it. Or whipped cream. It’s delicious on its own though, hot or cold! Also, leftovers=ideal breakfast. It’s totally fruit. Plus, there’s oats in it- give me one good reason why the presence of fruit and oats does not qualify this as a perfect breakfast food.

Summer Berry Crumble adapted from Joy the Baker

makes enough to fill a 9×9 pan, or 6 individual ramekins

For the fruit part

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1 1/2 cups raspberries

4 peaches, cut into chunks

2 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of cloves

1/4 cup maple syrup

For the topping

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp water


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all the ingredients for the fruit part in a bowl and toss until the fruit is generally coated. Set it aside for a moment while you put together the topping.

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the topping (oats, flour, salt, and spices.) In yet another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and water.) Add the wet to the dry ingredients and blend together using a fork, making sure all the dry ingredients get nice and moist (embrace the word).

Add about half a cup of the topping to the fruit and mix them together. Put the fruit into a 9×9″ pan and then scoop and pat down the rest of the topping onto it. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it’s bubbling and completely irresistible. Enjoy!

Take home message- sometimes, plans change. And when they do, make this berry crumble! I suppose this isn’t a universal solution. If you planned to see a movie with a friend and then they called to suggest going to the beach instead, your first thought shouldn’t be to make this. It should be sunscreen. Overall, it ended up being a lovely evening- I got to see my grandma meet her great-grandchild for the first time, watch a ~2 year old conquer multiple stairs on his own, and eat delicious food with beautiful people, which is generally my everyday goal in life.