Pineapple Upside-Down Life

Things never go “as planned” it seems like.  While on the rare occasion they do, for the most part it seems as though somewhere along the line there is some unexpected twist or turn that catches you off guard.  I’ve learned and respected this silent understanding of “plans” this past year more than ever.  I have never been so challenged, confused, or desperate in my life than in this past year.  And when I say “desperate,” my desperation is in that of the Lord.  A longing for His satisfaction, contentment, understanding, and hope.  I can assure you, however, I have never lost the hope of Christ and I never will.  I know that he is always with me, always hears me, and always loves me.  My greatest challenge is being the counterpart in that relationship;  returning my loyalty, faithfulness, and satisfaction to Him.

Have you ever baked a Pineapple Upside-Down cake?  Mm.  It’s yummy.  It’s fantastic too because it’s not like other elaborate cakes, you just dump some melted butter, brown sugar, and pineapples in a pan, top it with cake batter, bake and viola.  You have a delish one-pan-wonder.  The tricky part, though, is flipping the cake out of the pan.  You honestly never know what to expect- will the pineapples stick, will they not. Ahhhh… the anticipation.

I have made many a upside-down cakes and I can guarantee, they have not all turned out perfectly.  In fact, I don’t think I have made one where all of the pineapples come off the pan cleanly.  Was it in my plan that should happen?  No.  Did the recipe say they would happen?  Certainly, not.  You can thank me later for being honest that your pineapples may stick; it’s less heartbreaking upon the flip.  However, the beautiful thing about this messed up plan is that it is so easy to fix, no one will ever know your pineapples didn’t obey your flip command.  Grab yourself a spatuala, peel off the pineapples, and put them where they belong.  In the empty ring-mold on the cake.  No one will ever know the difference.  (As my cake is in the oven, filling the kitchen with a sweet, brown-sugary scent, I’m wondering when how it will turn out. Lol).

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So, on those Pineapple Upside-Down days, the days when you don’t know what to expect or how something will turn out or even the fear of knowing things aren’t going to turn out how you have planned, do not lose heart.  Trust in the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, and strength, from your pineapples to your life, He is in control of it all.

Happy Baking!

Girl Gone Nom

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“I’ll take one Red Velvet Cupcake & one Phonological Processes intervention… with sprinkles, please!”

I have decided that at some point in my professional career, I will open my own speech-language therapy clinic.  One half of the facility will be my practice, the other half will be my bakery.  How amazing would that be?!  You wouldn’t even have a speech problem and would want to come to my clinic.  I know, it’s brilliant.  All jokes aside, one day I would love to own a bakery.  Nothing is more relaxing, flavorful, or fulfilling to me than baking for people who like what I concoct.

These past few weeks I have tried a multitude of new recipes and been baking up a storm in my kitchen in order to raise money to pay for a mission trip I am going on in May.  I will be going to Ambato, Ecuador with my church in Panama City with a great group of folks in order to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  Each day I am blown away by the kindness and support from my peers, professors, and friends.  I have raised more money than I thought I would, and am still baking!

I wanted to post this specific recipe because I L.O.V.E. a good Red Velvet cake.  Can I get a nom, stinking nom?  Ah.  Red Velvet, I have found is something people either love or hate (if that’s you… that’s just really unfortunate).  Seriously, let’s break this down.  Moist, velvety, cake with a whisper of cocoa, accompanied with a fluffy, cream cheesey, allllllmost too rich (but not) frosting.  OH! and sprinkles… You canNOT forget the sprinkles.  What is not to love?  Each time I would prepare Red Velvet cake I used a different recipe because I hadn’t found one that was quite good enough.  However, the search is over.  Put away the Taste of Home, Food Gawker, Pinterest, and Paula Deen’s recipes because this is it.  I pinky promise you will not be disappointed.

I don’t think I will ever get tired of baking, because I will never get tired of making the people I love happy.  I really, really wish I could send my sisters a cupcake.  They are fellow Red Velvet obsessors.   Oh well, I’ll bake for you guys the next time I see you :).  I hope you enjoy this recipe.  It’s a spin off Georgetown (D.C. Cupcakes) recipe.

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

Makes about 24 Cupcakes

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1, 1oz bottle red food coloring

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon natural cocoa powder, sifted

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

3/4 cup milk, I use fat-free

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes

16 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups confectioners sugar

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the cupcakes:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffins tins with paper liners.

2. Combine flour and salt in a small mixing bowl.

3. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.

5. In a separate bowl, mix the food coloring and cocoa together… Make sure there’s no lumps!

6. In a large measuring cup, (if you have one, it’s just easier to pour into the mixing bowl) combine the buttermilk and regular milk.  Then, starting with the flour, at 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/3 of the milk mixture; add the rest in this manner until you have no more!

7. In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the lemon juice. Mix well and add to the batter. Mix until just incorporated, about 10 seconds.

8. I like to use a 4oz ice cream scoop to portion my cupcakes.  So, if you have that use it to put the batter into the tins and you will come out with exactly 24 cupcakes.  If not, put the cake batter into a large (gallon) ziplock back and fill each cupcake liner until it’s about 3/4 the way full.  This makes for a cleaner, and easier distribution.

9. Bake the cupcakes for 22-25 minutes.  Always start with the lowest time.  So, check on the cupcakes at 22 minutes, if they aren’t done, check on them every minute after that.  By 25 minutes they should definitely be done!

For the frosting:

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and powdered sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

2. Add in the cream cheese, 1 block at a time, until well blended, about 30 seconds. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition to ensure it’s all well-incorporated.  Add in the vanilla extract. Whip the icing on high speed for about 1 minute to make it light and fluffy.

3. Use immediately, or refrigerate until you are ready to frost.  I like to use a large ziplock bag to pipe the frosting.  Start in the middle and swirl to the outside rim, then go over the middle again to add some height!

Viola!  Red Velvet Cupcakes ❤

Enjoy, my friends!

Girl Gone Nom