Saturday, October 31, 2015

Simply Simple Pineapple Cupcakes

How about pineapple cake that isn't upside-down cake or coconut-pineapple combo (piƱa colada-ish)? This recipe uses a standard recipe for yellow cake mix and crushed pineapple. Pineapple juice replaces the water. If you want to try an easy scratch recipe, visit "EZ Pineapple Cupcakes".

My cake recipes are usually for cupcake or mini-cupcake/muffin serving sizes; portions and handling are convenient for groups of people. They also take a lot less time to bake than sheet or round pan cakes. I can't work up enthusiasm for making a pineapple upside-down cake—too much mess and hassle for me, I guess.

I originally planned to try the bundt cake recipe that called for adding pudding, which I referred to in my "EZ Pineapple Cupcakes". This Dole recipe made my eyes glaze over, especially the need for 4 eggs and 3/4 cup of oil.

Fortunately, I spotted a related but more intriguing recipe. Although I want to bake a pina colada-type cake, I'm glad I read enough of the recipe to spot the part about replacing water with pineapple juice.

My pixstrip shows the following image sections:
  1. Initial preparing
    1. Implements
    2. Ingredients
    3. 20-oz can of pineapple (measured for juice and divided fruit). Note: I squeezed the fruit a LOT to obtain the 1 cup of juice I needed.
  2. Mixing
    1. Bowl with eggs, cooking oil, pineapple juice ("wet" ingredients)
    2. Lightly blended "wet" ingredients
    3. Cake mix powder poured onto the blended "wet" ingredients
    4. Mixed
    5. Pineapple poured onto the mixture
    6. Mixed
  3. Baking
    1. Batter in pans
    2. Baked cupcakes
    3. Cupcakes turned over onto cooling racks
    4. Cupcakes in tins (8 cut into halves and in checkerboard placement with the other 16)
  • mixer
  • medium-large mixing bowl
  • rubber spatula(s)
  • measuring spoon
  • measuring cup(s)
  • spoon and bowls for divided pineapple, measuring cup or jar for juice
  • cupcake pans (Use different size pans if desired, following baking time suggestions on the cake mix box.)
  • cooling rack for baked cupcakes
  • 1 box (16.5 oz) yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Classic Yellow cake mix.)
  • half of well-drained crushed pineapple (6 to 6 1/2 ounces)
  • eggs, number as listed on cake mix box (3)
  • cooking oil, amount as listed on cake mix box (1/3 C)
  • pineapple juice as replacement for the water called for on cake mix box (1 C)
  • spray oil
Instructions (Have the cake mix box handy!)
  1. Preheat the oven (350°).
  2. Prepare baking pans with spray oil. (The box says to use baking cups for cupcakes, but I didn't.)
  3. Lightly blend the eggs, juice, and oil.
  4. Pour the cake mix powder into the bowl of liquids and beat as directed.
  5. Pour the crushed pineapple into the batter and blend.
  6. Distribute the batter into the baking pans. (Cupcake wells will be almost full.)
  7. Bake for time recommended (18-21 min for cupcakes). Test for doneness with toothpick.
  8. Remove the pans of baked cupcakes and place on cooling racks (~15 min).
  9. Place cakes upside down onto the racks. You might need to use a knife to loosen cakes from wells.
  10. When the cakes are totally cooled, you can serve them up (with or without frosting), or pack them up.
The recipe yielded 24 whole cupcakes. I cut 8 in half, then arranged all of them in checkerboard pattern. People can pick half size, full size, or combination cupcakes.
Post-Recipe Thoughts

 White Cake Mix Instead of Yellow Cake Mix
The day after I made the cupcakes with yellow cake, I tried the same recipe with Duncan Hines Classic White cake mix. I used the other half of the crushed pineapple and added 1 cup of canned pineapple juice. I also added 8 drops of yellow food coloring before I folded in the pineapple, but the outcome was still paler than using yellow cake mix. Interestingly, the white cake mix calls for 1/4 cup of oil instead of 1/3 cup for the yellow cake mix. The calorie amounts reflect the difference in oil amount.

The table contrasts calorie amounts for yellow vs. white Duncan Hines cake mixes that I used.
Ingredients yellow white
prepared mix
each cupcake (1/24 cake)

EZ Pineapple Cupcakes vs. Using Boxed Cake Mix
The process for the scratch vs. cake mix pineapple cupcakes mainly differs for mixing methods. Scratch requires gentler batter combining, and cake mix requires more vigor. The scratch results were moister than using cake mix. The calories for scratch is 125 (assuming 2 cups of sugar), same as for yellow cake mix. I skipped frosting the cake mix cupcakes to minimize calories and extra effort. I had also passed on adding extract.

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