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[Eds: Michelle and Taiwan T, who were instrumental in helping us "test" margarita's, have returned to 365foods with their first solo blog post. Shower them with loving comments, won't you!]
It’s called ‘Escape’…that Pina Colada song that invariably enters everyone’s mind at the mere mention of pina coladas. Flashback moment and a reminder of the chorus:
“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
If you’re not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.
You’re the love that I’ve looked for, come with me, and escape.”
Pina Coladas are the white, fluffy, easy-drinking beverage of tropical vacations where airy-fairy drinks seem most appropriate. So imagine my surprise when in our courting stage my man, Taiwan T, takes me for dinner and while I order my standard vodka martini with lots of olives (heck of a day at the office y’know)…my new found love orders a Pina Colada!! And to be clear, we were NOT on a beach in Jamaica. Heck no….downtown Victoria in the bleak winter months! ‘Taiwan T’ loves his Pina Coladas and is never hesitant to order one when the mood strikes him. So in honour of his love and finely honed Pina Colada taste buds we volunteered for this blog entry. In fact, Taiwan T even got suited up for the occasion!
History Lesson: In Spanish, piña colada means “strained pineapple”. In 1978 Puerto Rico declared it the national drink of the country. It was invented in 1954 by Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan. He wanted to capture all of the flavours of Puerto Rico in a glass. It took him three months of experimenting before he came up with the piña colada. Ya gotta admire Ramon’s dedication to his craft.
Here are the two versions we created and drank:
4oz. White Rum
1 tub Udder Guys Roasted coconut ice cream
4 Pineapple rings from tin, with about half the juice
Blend and add crushed ice, blend some more.
*courtesy of our former neighbours who believed MORE was better!
International Bar Association version (no lawyers where harmed in the making of this version)
1 part white rum
1 part cream of coconut
2 parts pineapple juice
Mix with crushed ice until smooth. Pour into chilled glass, garnish and serve. Garnish with pineapple slice and maraschino cherry.
Hands down the roasted ice cream versions was the winner. Creamy, subtle sweetness and yummy tidbits of coconut and pineapple. The coconut cream lacked the sweetness we were craving and was too bitter. We added more juice and (gasp) Malibu rum in an attempt for more sweetness…we just got more tipsy instead (hic!)
Have you figured out who the artist of ‘Escape’ is yet?… *drumroll*……… Rupert Holmes
~ M. and Taiwan
Pound cake is one of those desserts that everyone has eaten at some point. If you haven’t made one yourself someone in your family probably has. No dessert table, picnic basket or bake sale is complete without some version of this baking basic. The original recipe is British in origin and dates back to at least the early 18th century. By the 19th century, pound cake recipes had appeared in American cookbooks. The question is, with all the ingredients and techniques available to us now, how has the humble pound cake defended its place amongst the gastronomic giants of the pastry world?
Sorry, no original photos today. Never got home to bake a cake especially for today. But I have made the one pictured above and it is fantastic. Check out the recipe at Epicurious.com.
One might also wonder, what makes a pound cake a pound cake? It’s a piece of genius really. The name is the recipe, as long as you can remember four ingredients that is. A traditional pound cake is a pound each of flour, sugar, butter and eggs. There are no artificial leaveners in the original. All the lift comes from the air whipped into the eggs. Of course, most modern recipes make use of baking powder to create a lighter cake. That said, the heavier and denser original has its merits and in some applications is the better cake. The other great thing about the basic recipe is that you can reduce or increase the recipe according to your needs without the typical disaster incurred by messing with the chemistry of other pastry recipes. Just remember to maintain the 1:1:1:1 ratio.
Here’s the basic recipe, the one I can give you since the copy right for a 300-year-old recipe has probably expired. As for variations, I’m afraid, I have to send you to consult the cookbook library.
- 1 pound butter, softened
- 1 pound sugar
- 1 pound eggs (about 10 large)
- 1 pound cake flour, sifted
- 2 tsp vanilla
- pinch of salt
With an electric mixer whip butter and sugar together until light in colour and very fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions. Stir in vanilla and salt. Turn mixer speed to low and add flour in three batches. Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
How easy is that?! If you want to jazz things up a bit, add a couple teaspoons of lemon zest to the batter and drizzle a lemon glaze over the glazed cake.
The real beauty of pound cake, beyond how ridiculously easy it is to make (remember I am a confirmed non-baker) and how it lends itself to be the ingredient in other things. A big slab of pound cake, toasted on the grill with a slice of grilled pineapple and a drizzle of caramel sauce is a fantastic “barbeque” dessert. Cubes of pound cake are perfect for dipping in a chocolate fondue. For the fondue, I really do recommend the traditional recipe. You’ll need a nice dense cake for dipping. I like a heap of strawberries and nice dollop of sweetened whipped cream with mine, a sort of strawberry shortcake.
It’s easy to see why pound cake can still be found in modern cookery. Pound cake is one of those simple, versatile and delicious creations that needs little embellishment but can take anything you throw at it. All on it’s own or as a component of something much more grand pound cake deserves a place in your culinary repertoire.