Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Cake

Truth be told, I typically prefer pies or cookies to cake. This cake, however, has become one of my favorites through the years. I call it "Easter Cake" because I usually only make it once a year, at Easter. It often doubles as my sister's birthday cake given that her birthday often falls near Easter. 
The yellow cake base itself can be made either from scratch or from a box. My preference is to do my baking from scratch - to me, the cake just tastes better that way. Here is the recipe that I use for the cake.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Grease and flour or spray with nonfat cooking spray a 13 x 9 x 2 inch oblong pan. Beat all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl frequently for 3 minutes. Pour into pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Even though I can bake a cake that tastes good, I don't always bake a cake that comes out of the oven looking pretty as you can see in the photo below. Fortunately, this Easter Cake features a number of very tasty toppings that cover a multitude of flaws.
While the cake is baking, you can begin preparing the first topping. This one is a layer of crushed pineapple. Boil together the following two ingredients until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.
  • 1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple, including its own juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
While the cake is still warm, poke holes across the top of the cake at about 1-inch intervals. 
Pour the pineapple mixture over cake and spread evenly. Allow the cake to cool completely.
After the cake has cooled, mix together:
  • 2 packages (3 1/2 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups milk
Note that the amount of milk for this step is less than what you would use if you were preparing the pudding per the box directions. This smaller volume of milk will result in a thicker pudding topping for the cake. Spread it over the top of the cake.
The next step is to prepare the whipped cream topping. If you wish, you can use Cool Whip. If you are like me, the superior taste of real whipped cream is worth the extra cost and effort. You will need the following ingredients:
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; continue beating until stiff. Spread over cake. Refrigerate overnight.

Before serving the cake, sprinkle with 3/4 cup of toasted coconut. I like to use a "shortcut" and "toast" the coconut in the microwave. I use a microwave safe container (typically a plastic one), and toast the coconut for about 2 minutes, pausing every 20-30 seconds to stir the coconut and prevent it from burning. Here is how the coconut turns out, followed by a picture of the completed cake.

In celebration of the Easter season, here is a song that celebrates the glorious resurrection day! Easter blessings to you all!