Toothsome pineapple upsidedown cake

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, May 2011


I was getting tired (or disheartened or full of ennui) of using “yummy” over and over again when trying to come up with a title, so before posting this recipe I decided to search for some synonyms. I found a few that sounded nice…delectable, enticing and tempting…but quickly realized they sounded a bit too sexual for cake. Maybe i’m just in a mood. 😉

Then the word “toothsome” jumped out at me. What a great word. Doesn’t it just make you want to stick it in your mouth? (stay with me now….) It totally makes me want to eat it even BEFORE there is a picture!

Ok. So that is the title covered.

I have been making (or trying to make) a decent upside down cake for a couple of years. For some unknown reason it always had the consistency of pound cake. Very heavy and dense. I was reading an article today about cake and was enlightened on how to make a cake lighter and fluffier. I decided to give it another go.

I used the same recipe I have always used….from a friend on a website created and run by another friend (PROPS to I just incorporated the tidbit of information from the article.

What you will need:



•1 tin of sliced pineapple
•1/2 cup of brown sugar
•1/4 cup of butter

•2 eggs
•1 cup of cake flour (or all purpose)
•1 tsp of baking powder
•1 tsp of vanilla
•1/2 tsp of salt
•1/2 cup of butter, softened
•1 cup of sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the topping, cut the butter into pieces and place into baking device. I used a bundt pan. Put in the oven just until the butter melts. Remove from oven and spoon in brown sugar. Distribute evenly. Arrange your pineapple in the syrup.


Sift your flour and baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl cream together your butter and sugar. Beat vigorously.  This is the secret to a fluffier cake. The more air you can incorporate the lighter your cake will be. Beat in your eggs and vanilla.

Slowly add your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients, stirring the whole time.

Pour over the pineapple slices.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto a cooling rack so the pineapple is now on top of the cake. This is how the cake gets its name.


So far I have 2 invites out since posting these pics on FaceBook. I don’t think they actually want to see me, I think they just want the cake.

I can’t say I blame them.


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick




Extra crunchy, crispy Mozza sticks

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Appetizers, May 2011


One of my all time favorite appetizers is mozza sticks. As longs as they are done right.

The other night a friend and I were at a restaurant and the sticks we a wee bit soggy…and they served them with Ranch dressing. Eww. I had to ask for some sort of tomato based sauce….salsa, marinara….whatever. I’m not a fan of Ranch dressing on a normal day but serving such a great Italian fare with that white goop is just blasphemy (IMO).

So I made the decision right then and there to make some myself. You know what they say….”If you want it done right….”

Obviously you will need some cheese. You could go high end here and get the fresh mozza balls but since I had never made it before I will save that for once I have the recipe down pat. I just bought regular mozza in a block and sliced it. You will also need bread crumbs. Since I wanted them CRUNCH-tastic I used a mixture of regular bread crumbs and Panco (Japanese) bread crumbs. Panco are uber crispy. Grab some eggs (about 3 for an order of 8 sticks), grated cheese (I used Pecorino-Romano but you could also use Parmesan), oregano (1 Tbsp), parsley (2 Tbsps, divided) and black pepper (1/8 tsp). You are also going to need about 3 Tbsps all purpose flour.

In one bowl mix together the bread crumbs (1 cup), grated cheese (2 Tbsps), oregano, parsley (1 1/2 Tbsps) and pepper.

In a second bowl whisk your eggs with 1/2 Tbsp of parsley. And in the 3rd bowl have your flour.


First dip your mozza stick into the flour, then into the egg and then into the bread crumb mixture.



Now here is where it gets a little messy. Take the mozza stick and gently roll it between your 2 hands. This will help compact the crumbs tightly onto the cheese. See the flour helps the egg to stick and the egg helps the crumbs to stick but you still need to smoosh it onto the cheese a little or the crumbs will come off in the frying process. Repeat the egg and the crumbs 1 more time until the mozza stick is a little thicker.


Set the sticks on a plate and refrigerate until you are ready to fry them.


Heat your oil to 350 degrees. It only takes about 3-4 minutes (depending on how dark you like your sticks). I cooked mine for 3 minutes. They were perfectly golden and super duper crispy.


Of course I served mine with my homemade marinara sauce.


I also re-made my ravioli to eat with the mozza sticks and the ravioli turned out perfect this time. I think just to frustrate me Brendan decided to have his sticks with BOTH marinara and Ranch dressing!


Oh well….ya can’t teach kids everything.

At least the sticks turned out fab….nice and crispy on the outside and gooey, stringy on the inside.


YAY ME!!! There could another 3lbs added on to my already imposing frame because of these sticks…I can see these being made frequently in our future. And maybe, JUST maybe, i’ll try them with Ranch next time….but i’m not making any promises.


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick.

Nannys Apple Crisp (June update with PEACHES!)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, June 2011, May 2011


Many children ask for cake for their birthdays or these days its all about the DQ ice cream cakes…not me. As a child we were always asked what “special” meal did we want on the night of our birthday. Entree and dessert. My entree choice would vary year to year but never the dessert, I always wanted my Nanny J’s apple crisp. It was the best. Tart yet sweet, milky and creamy from the whipped cream….delicious.

Anytime I want some comfort food I have to include this dessert. Now it reminds me of my Nanny, who passed in 2001 and of the special relationship we had.

What you will need is:

6 apples (I like to mix sweet, Royal Gala or Cortland with McIntosh)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup all purpose flour

6 Tbsps butter or margarine, melted

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon


Start by peeling, coring and slicing your apples. Lay them in an 8×8 pan.


Take the lemon juice and squeeze on top of the apples. This will add just a little more tartness which is fabulous against the cinnamony sugar!


Next in a separate bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.

Mix well.


Melt your butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and then pour into your bowl with the sugar mixture. Mix again but don’t worry about getting all the lumps out. Lumps are fine in this recipe.


Put the crumble mixture on top of the apples and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.


Let cool a bit before eating. Plus you don’t want all your whipped cream and/or ice cream to melt.


This is the epitome of comfort dessert for me. I hope you enjoy.


ps- Don’t you just LOVE my bright orange Fiestaware!!??


-A Cooped Up Chick



UPDATE June 2012:


I made this same recipe but substituted fresh, juicy peaches for the apples.

I love peaches and wanted to make SOMETHING with peaches in it and automatically thought of Nannys crisp recipe. I made very few changes.

I omitted the lemon juice because I did not want sour peaches.

Also I had read online a few Peach Crisp/Cobbler recipes and heard people had “soupy” issues with the peaches since they are super juicy. The remedy was to dust the peaches in a little flour and white sugar.


I used about 1 Tbsp of each.

Use the same recipe as above for the streusal topping.


Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the topping has browned. I usually turn the broiler on high for about 5 minutes at the end to get the topping nice and brown and caramelized.


Serve warm with whipped cream (or ice cream if you prefer!)

This was just as good as the apple crisp….BETTER if you want sweet instead of tart.