Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So Much For My Integrity

A few months ago I learned I had a skill: taking a box of Pillsbury cake mix and coming out with a nice light-textured and fluffy cake. Today I found out, I still have it.

While I've always thought of cake mixes as foolproof, they really aren't. Especially not, if like me when I was little, you followed the directions exactly as written (all the way down to the Crisco oil suggested), with the exception of using a dark cake pan. That cake pan bit me in the butt and I'd come out with dark and overbaked cakes. Though usually they were cupcakes, and slathered in icing, nobody really cared.

Things have changed since then. More accurately (and important in regards to this) is that I've changed. I've realized that muffins from a mix are not much easier than making them from scratch, and taste far too much like cake, and that time is merely a suggestion, not a law to strictly abide by. Which is why it surprises me that I had cake mix on hand. Or more accurately, 1/3 of a box of white cake mix.

There is a reason behind that. It traces back to June (when I discovered above mentioned talent) when I made a cake for my closure project for history. It had to be edible, and I am not creative at connecting things to history and could not decide what to do... so I finally decided to make a standard oil cake to represent horizontal integration. The outside was dull and monotonous and all white and dull. Until you cut into it (which I did as part of my presentation). I sliced across the length of the cake allowing a side to collapse to the side. Once I did that, there were brown, pink, and white sections hidden behind the starkness and command of the icing, showing what used to be.
And then my cake got lots of compliments, which blew me away, because I did what most high schoolers would have done: I used the cheapest cake mix I could find (lucky for me, it was on sale that week) and followed the directions to mix it together, assembled my long flat cakes and covered them with a store bought classic-white icing out of a jar. The cake wasn't even one of those gorgeous cakes with pretty decorations. It was uneven, completely white with some ivory from when I ran out of icing and the store ran out of classic white and I had to use vanilla. It was not something I was particularly proud of from a food perspective.

I saved the leftover cake mix, just because I couldn't bring myself to toss something that had garnered so many compliments even if I was against it. And on Saturday, I finally figured out what to do with it.

My dad's cousin made a cake out of doctored yellow cake mix with bananas and apples and orange blossom water. Which made me think:a tropical cake with bananas, pineapple, and flaked coconut on top. (I'm not always sure how my brain makes these connections.) And that is exactly what I did.

While I'm not sure if anyone would ever want to make this again, it is quite yummy, even if it is against my scratch-made standards and controlling every ingredient way of thinking.
Pineapple-Banana Cake
makes 1 small 9x5 cake

1/3 box (Pillsbury) white cake mix (about 6 ounces)
5 and a few drops teaspoons oil
1/3 cup water
1 egg
1 cup drained pineapple chunks (about 15)
1 small banana, halved lengthwise and sliced
1/4 cup flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, beat together cake mix, oil, water, and egg for about two minutes and smooth. Stir in banana and pour enough of batter into prepared pan to coat bottom. Scatter pineapple chunks over batter in pan and top with remaining batter. Smooth and sprinkle top with flaked coconut. Bake for about 28 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely or serve warm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

just because you use a mix doesn't mean you don't have integrity