Fresh Pineapple Cake

PinappleCakeUncut

Fresh Pineapple Cake

This is a very light, moist cake with a coarse crumb that is not overly sweet. Serve for breakfast with fresh fruit and yogurt or for afternoon tea.

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour or white rice flour (for gluten-free)

1 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

2 lg. eggs

1 c. buttermilk or whole milk

3/4 c. fresh pineapple cubes (between the size of raspberries and blueberries)*

confectioner’s sugar for garnish

edible flowers**, herbs, fresh pineapple for garnish, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare an 8″ round cake pan or decorative cake pan with baking spray or with butter and flour. (For gluten-free, use rice flour.)

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, beat butter until it is light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to beat for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape sides of bowl.

4. Lightly beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/2 c. of buttermilk or milk. Scrape sides of bowl. Repeat, and then beat in the remaining flour mixture.

5. Fold pineapple into batter. Spoon batter into the prepared cake pan, using the back of the spoon to smooth and level top of batter.

6. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center tests clean.

7. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto cake plate to serve right away or onto wire rack to continue cooling. Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar before serving. Garnish as desired.

* Canned pineapple tidbits can be substituted in the recipe for fresh pineapple, if well-drained first.

** Daisies and lemon balm leaves are shown here. Daisies are edible and taste similar to parsley. So they are not very dessert-like in flavor, but they are a pretty garnish.

Enjoy!

PineappleCakeSlice2

A Book-Signing Tea Party

We just got done hosting the tea party for Tama Matsuoka Wong and her book Foraged Flavor. I caught a few quick photos just when guests were starting to arrive; but then needed to trade my camera for hostess duties. Unfortunately, once I got to talking and pouring tea, I forgot to get a picture of Tama. It was a lovely afternoon party, though, and it was a pleasure to hear Tama chat about her book.

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Below: Roasted Red Pepper Humus & Cucumber Tea Sandwiches garnished with golden oregano from the garden.

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The menu:

Milk Oolong Tea

Iced Earl Grey Tea

Coffee

Curried Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Scottish Shortbread with Dried Cherries

Scottish Shortbread with Candied Ginger

Lemon Poppy Seed Wafers garnished with Violets

Espresso Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lake House Cookies

Gingerbread Teapot Cookies

Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles

Cheddar Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, Almond Crackers

Strawberries & Green Grapes

An American Tea Party

Americans rarely have teas these days. When one hears the expression “tea party”, the topic of conversation is far more likely to be politics than a social affair. As far as I can tell, the tradition of having tea parties largely disappeared during the social unrest of the 1960’s and 70’s. Probably the main change to have emerged from that period that would have contributed to the demise of the these gatherings was the emergence of working women amongst the middle and upper classes.  My grandmothers, as with most  women of their socioeconomic class, were stay-at-home mothers; I don’t think that either of them ever had a paying job. Starting with my mother’s generation, women entered the work force en masse; and all of the women in my social circle who are my age or younger work.  So, of course, who has time for polishing silver, making finger sandwiches and dainty cookies, and getting all dressed up for a party in the afternoon?

Literally speaking, the 60’s and 70’s are now history, and it is easy to feel nostalgia for some of the social niceties that got thrown away with so many of the inequalities and injustices from that era (and earlier).  I never, even for a moment, wish that I lived in an earlier time; and yet, occasionally it is fun to recapture a bit of refinement from the past. So, yesterday I hosted an afternoon tea party  – using my grandmothers’ china, crystal and silver – for no special reason except for that it seemed high time for a tea.

The Menu

Darjeeling Tea

Milk Oolong Tea

Cap Cette Picpoul de Pinet

Autumn Fruits Punch

Egg Salad Finger Sandwiches with Whole Grain Mustard

White Bean Sundried Tomato “Humus” & Spinach Finger Sandwiches

Smoked Salmon & Lemon Canapes

Cucumber Canapes

Pecan Crackers & Gouda Cheese

Pumpkin Butter & Whipped Cream Tartlets

Pumpkin Cream Puffs

Lemon Curd & Blueberry Tartlets

Gingerbread Teapot Cookies

Blackberry Jammies

Florentines

Chocolate Rum Balls

Fresh Fruits, Nuts, Dark Chocolate-covered Raisins

(I was so busy yesterday that I didn’t get a chance to take photos. So I staged the one above this afternoon. I wish that I had had a chance to have gotten a shot of the whole spread.)