Posts Tagged ‘PW’

Pig Cake

I have been ridiculously MIA from blogging this past week. As we approach the end of an era (my formal education years), it’s getting quite hectic and I’m trying desperately to spend as much time with my family and friends as possible before my job (JOB! WOOHOO!) starts in June and I move away (not far away but away) and spend sleepless nights at the hospital.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Match Day, or the day all graduating medical students across the country find out where they’ll be working this coming year, was this past Thursday. It was nerve wracking, anxiety inducing, makes-you-need-to-pee-and-want-to-vomit-all-at-the-same-time, and all around torture. But we all got through it. I got my number 2 choice in New York if you’re all wondering. I’m quite happy. Boy is too (he also got his number 2, also in New York, but different institution).

To celebrate, I quickly whipped up this Pig Cake before we all went out for an evening of bad decisions. It was everything I wanted to be. Very few ingredients, meaning less time at the grocery store, whipped up in a matter of minutes, meaning more time hanging out, and tasted wonderfully. Also, it was a single layer cake, perfect for large crowds and for even less kitchen fuss. The cake itself was moist and light and just a bit tropical tasting with the addition of mandarin oranges. The topping was a pure dream. It, too, was light and fluffy with scrumptious chunks of pineapple. The whole cake was sweet but not too sweet and fit in perfectly for the joyous occasion. This will definitely be made again and again without hesitation. I don’t know why exactly it’s called Pig Cake (PW doesn’t either) but I can only surmise that it’s because it’s so incredibly delicious you can’t help but be a little piggy eating more and more!

Sorry there’s only one picture! I was too busy drinking champagne.

Pig Cake
adapted from the Pioneer Woman


For cake:

  • 1 box Yellow Cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 14 oz can of mandarin oranges, drained, 1/2 c juice reserved
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For topping:

  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 4 oz Cool Whip
  • extra mandarin oranges for garnish, optional

For cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking pan.

Using an electric mixer, combine cake mix, butter, reserved juice, eggs, and vanilla on medium-high (start out slow to prevent cake mix from flying everywhere) for 4 minutes. Add oranges and beat until they are broken up into small pieces. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool completely.

For topping: Mix together vanilla pudding mix and reserved juice. Add powdered sugar followed by the whipped topping, mixing to combine. Stir in pineapple. Spread on cooled cake and refrigerate several hours before serving. Serve with extra mandarin oranges if desired.

What’s your reason to celebrate this week?

Olive Oil Cakes

Nom nom nom!

I’m a stress baker these days. It’s pretty much where this blog came from.

The second my life starts to get busy, when it’s a little more difficult to breathe but I’m nowhere near suffocation, I start baking. I consider ingredients, flavors, and shapes. Do I want something with fruit or chocolate? Both perhaps? Neither? What kind of fruit?  What kind of chocolate? What can I add to make it a *little* bit different, to give it that tiny hint of something new? And what form will it all take? Is this a cookie, a cupcake, a full-blown cake, or muffins? Do I want to try a new shape or technique?

The possibilities are endless.

And the prospects are sometimes much more interesting than the idea that baking all of this will eventually give me diabetes and perhaps hypertension so maybe it would be useful to do the studying I’m supposed to be doing instead of dreaming of disease-causing treats.

But, I digress.

Baking. It calms me.

I sometimes let it be my reward.

Sharlene, if you do 50 questions and get at LEAST 60% right (I realize that percentage isn’t great in grade school but in med school it’ll have to do lest I go insane) you can bake a batch of brownies.

Sharlene, if you finish writing up that history and physical you can eat a brownie you just made.

Sharlene, if you read up on atrial fibrillation, you can eat your third brownie since you have no self-control.

Who are we kidding, Sharlene. We all know you need to eat half the tray and feel sick to your stomach at this second because since eating the first brownie you’ve gotten 7 questions wrong since you’re concentrating on EATING ANOTHER so much.

My inner monologue.

At this point in time, my abs (can you talk about your abs even if you’re unsure they’re there under the layer of blub?) are screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

Luckily, that blub is there to muffle their screams.

These little cakes are a bit addictive. I added some strawberries and it was seriously a party in my mouth. Highly recommend the addition. I ate 2-3 a day until they were gone. Boy liked them too. He would have had seconds had I left him enough to do so.

Pioneer Woman never fails me.

Olive Oil Cakes
adapted from Ree, but originally from Food Network Magazine

Yields 12.

For cake:
1 tbsp melted butter
2/3 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c whole wheat [I’m trying to use more whole wheat flour because it’s healthier.. this small alteration wasn’t even noticed!]
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
2 eggs
1/4 c olive oil
2/3 c milk
4 strawberries, sliced

For glaze:
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter up a muffin pan and dust with a bit of flour. Whisk together the flour, the baking powder, salt and thyme in a small bowl.

In a blender, pulse the sugar and lemon zest in a blender until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, then gradually pour in the olive oil and milk, pulsing about 30 seconds or until it becomes a thin batter. Don’t overblend! Pulse pulse pulse, check, pulse a little more, check, check, check, pulse. You get the idea.

Add the dry ingredients to the blender in 2 batches until just combined. [See above note on pulsing and checking if you need some guidance.] Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake. Ten minutes into baking, take pan out of oven and layer several pieces of strawberry on top. Place back into oven for another 15 minutes or so [about 25 minutes total of baking time] until the cakes just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and spring back when lightly touched.

While waiting, make the glaze by combining the three ingredients until smooth. You can add more lemon juice if you want it a bit more sour. Drizzle over the cooled cakes and garnish with a thyme sprig.

Sorry I couldn’t save you any 🙂

– Sharlene

Lemon Bars

I’m all about the citrus.

This year I’ve been baking oodles and oodles of lemony (x2)/limey/orangey (will have to post something orange soon!) things and I’m loving it. The refreshing flavor kinda makes you forget about all the buttery sugary filled goodness, you know? I love sugar cookies but sugar cookies with lime? Even better. Also, for some reason, citrus things make me think of breakfast which ultimately means I could SHOULD each such things at breakfast time (which can be as early as 5am.. sometimes 4am if I’m extra lucky). And they’re filled with all that vitaminy good stuff.

Yes, I have just created no less than 6 new adjectives by adding “y” to the end of words. Don’t judge me.

There was once a time I wouldn’t eat citrus.

I know. I was a silly child. At least I always loved coconut. No oranges but coconut = Sharlene had no friends.

Anyway, I had asthma as a child and it was pretty bad. My best friend in grade school who only lived a few blocks away told me once that whenever she heard the ambulance sirens she thought it was me. She was usually right. I was in and out of the hospital and my parents were fairly strict with medications and doctor’s appointments. In an attempt to try anything, my mom took me to some holistic guy who said to stop eating citrus. I don’t remember why but he said it and it stuck. I didn’t really like oranges anyway so what was the big deal? Silly stuff right there. I was missing out.

I convinced myself I couldn’t, and therefore wouldn’t, eat oranges. I also didn’t like lemon flavored things, including lemonade (which I still don’t usually like — too sour — but sometimes when it’s not too sour I rather enjoy it). Lime wasn’t much in vogue back then so not an issue.

I hope that last statement doesn’t make me the girl with no friends again.

Just in case, I have these bars to help. They’re not lemonade but they’re just as good if not better (depending on how much you like lemonade). They’re the perfect balance of sweet and sour, crumbly and silky. They’re also great because you can almost be satisfied with a teeny tiny bite because they’re so tart. But in case you eat half the pan, don’t blame me. They’re good. It’s the Pioneer Woman! What did you expect?

Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Lemon Bars
adapted from Ree (with love, of course)


1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 c brown sugar, lightly packed
1 c old-fashioned oats
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c lemon juice, freshly squeezed
zest of 1 lemon (~1 tsp or so)


Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together. Add flour mixture and oats. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 11 pan (or something similar).

Mix the condensed milk, lemon juice, and zest together in a bowl. Spread onto the crumb layer in the pan. Top of with the other half of the crumb mixture. Don’t press!

Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow to cool on the counter for ~ 30 minutes before cutting into squares and refrigerating until cool. (They’re much better cold. Trust me!)

Love it. You will too.

– Sharlene