Archive for September, 2012


How Martha Stewart gave me a bloody knuckle: Jamaican-spiced upside-down cake

Ingredients for Marth Stewart's Jamaican-spiced upside-down cake

This was my first attempt at a Martha Stewart recipe–or more accurately, a recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Food. I’ve tasted baked goods based on her recipes before. They’ve always been good, but not good enough for me to demand the recipe. Would this Jamaican spiced upside-down cake be any different?

The recipe (couldn’t find it online; similar one here) incorporates some of my favorite flavors: coconut milk, lime zest, fresh pineapple. I expected it to be a totally exotic, decadent take on the pineapple-upside down cake.

The most complicated part is layering the pineapples on top of the brown sugar and melted butter.

Laying out the pineapples on top of the brown sugar and melted butter, which will caramelize with the heat.

Don’t get me wrong. The cake’s decent, a solid B-. It’s just not as good as it should be given what went into it, ingredient- and assembly-wise. Like Empire Martha itself, it’s a little safe, beige, pleasant-yet-forgettable. Or maybe I’m just bitter from grating the skin off of my knuckle while zesting.

Bloody knuckle as a result of overzealous zesting.

I may have zested those limes too aggressively.

The consistency reminds me of gingerbread (due to the molasses in the brown sugar). Not my favorite texture, since it starts getting cement-like in the mouth. Also, I wanted the cake and topping to be sweeter–I’d probably add at least 1/4 white sugar to the cake batter if I were to try this again.

The finished product: Martha Stewart's Jamaican-spiced upside-down cake.

Honestly, the best part of this cake wasn’t the eating. It was the part where you flip it onto a plate and the whole thing slides out in one piece. Now that’s gratification.


Baskin-Robbins done me wrong

When you’re taking out ads left and right for a new item like these waffle chip dippers, you’d better be pretty damn sure your stores are stocked with the ingredients.

Sloppy eater? Then waffle chip dippers make perfect sense. For the rest of us, they're a waste of time.

Here’s what they’re supposed to look like.

But when I went to the Rehoboth Beach Baskin-Robbins to try these “ice cream nachos” (forgoing The Ice Cream Store’s many creative flavors, I might add)  it didn’t take long for the remorse to set in. This particular store had run out of the brownie chips AND the Snickers/M&M toppings. Say whaaaa? Does McDonald’s ever run out of fries?

Getting the waffle chip dippers will make you feel like the most gullible person alive.

Here’s what they actually looked like.

In theory, I knew the chip dippers these were just a less messy way of eating a soft-serve waffle cone. But to say they were underwhelming would be flattery. Give me a 99-cent soft serve cone from a truck any day. Baskin-Robbins, take your hyphen and shove it. The only way you can make this up to me is to start selling your ice cream cake by the slice.


Cherry-pistachio tea cakes

Cherry pistachio tea cakes

This recipe comes from Food Network. I need to be more wary of recipes on that site that don’t have a critical mass of user reviews. These came out somewhat short on flavor. Maybe they need some lemon zest, or pistachio extract. Also, if I were to make these again, I’d cut back on the butter. If you were actually having these with tea, you’d expect to see that film of grease on top of your tea after taking a bite.

Draining dark morello cherries from Trader Joe's.

I used Trader Joe’s morello cherries from the jar to avoid any pitting issues.

The recipe calls for fresh cherries, but I used cherries from a jar. These morellos from Trader Joe’s come in a huge jar for less than $3. I’ve found them to be good for creating cherry toppings for cheesecake, like this Paula Deen recipe–especially if you want to avoid that fluorescent-red cherry pie filling you get from a can.