Pineapple Coconut Rum Cake

In college, I lived with my two best friends from high school.  We loved to throw parties and gatherings on a regular basis…and let’s face it.  We lived in Myrtle Beach and were in college…so pretty much all of our social gatherings included alcohol.  Okay fine, so ALL of them included alcohol.  Moving on.  Well, one of our absolute favorite kinds of alcohol was coconut rum, so we always had a bottle of Parrot Bay or Malibu in our liquor cabinet.  Several years later while we were spending time together, one of our other friends made me a cocktail.  It was Parrot Bay with some pineapple juice.  I practically guzzled it down because it was so delicious and refreshing…and I’m a sucker for tropical flavored drinks, especially when you can’t really taste the alcohol all that much (which actually can get you into trouble if you’re not careful).  And yeah, I ended up having two more of those same cocktails, until I polished off her pineapple juice.

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When I started thinking about this cake, it was right before I had lunch with our biggest Parrot Bay fan of the group.  After I walked out of the liquor store from picking up a fresh bottle of Parrot Bay, I texted her to let her know what I was making.  I really think she wanted to leave work early to come try this sucker out.  One thing I have learned about making rum cakes is the glaze.  Putting the glaze on the cake is by far the most important step, because this is where your alcohol flavor, the moistness of the cake, and your very slight buzz after eating a big slice (if you’re a lightweight like me) comes from.  When I first made a rum cake and was putting this glaze on it, I only used half because it seemed like it was too much.  Trust me, it isn’t.  Every bit of that incredible glaze will sink into the warm cake.  If you only use half of the glaze, only half of the cake will experience the full effects of this glorious glaze, so please slop this entire batch into the warm cake until it’s all gone.  You won’t be disappointed.  😉

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I made this cake during the day, and hadn’t cut into it before going to bed.  While saying goodnight to my hubster, he made the comment that he was hungry.  I told him that the cake was downstairs if he wanted a snack, and off to bed I went.  In the morning when I was going to get my coffee, I noticed there was a big chunk of the cake missing…and an empty plate with a few crumbs sitting in the sink.  I smiled.  When he got up and was heading out for work, he said, “That cake was awesome.  I had one piece, then went back for another.  It was really moist.”  Again, success.

For the cake:

1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix

1 can crushed pineapple

3 eggs

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon baking soda

Drain juice out of can of pineapple, reserve 1/4 cup for the baking process.  Puree pineapple, eggs, oil, and pineapple juice in blender or food processor.  Mix together all ingredients in bowl and beat at medium speed for 2-4 minutes with electric mixer, spoon into greased and floured bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.  Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, brush 1/3 of glaze on top of cake before turning out of pan.  Cover with remaining glaze while cake is still warm, so the rum seeps into the cake.

For the glaze:

1 stick butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup coconut rum

In a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup rum.  Brush glaze over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze and repeat until all glaze is used.

*Rum cakes usually taste better 1/2 days after they’re made, since it allows more time for the glaze to seep into the cake.

Dark Chocolate Chocolate Coconut Pie

When I started experimenting with some Hawaiian style meals and desserts, I was so excited to try this recipe out.  It’s a little different than the original recipe that I found and made, but the end result was much better than expected.

chocolate coconut pie 1

This pie was actually a second try.  The first time I made it, it was two layers instead of just one.  The bottom layer was the chocolate coconut, and the top layer was the coconut.  I took it over to my brother’s house where my mom was babysitting her grandbabies, because she wanted to try it.  When her, my niece and nephew cut a slice for themselves, I noticed that all three of them picked away the top coconut layer and gobbled down the chocolate layer.  My mom said, “The bottom layer was absolutely delicious, but the top layer didn’t have a whole lot of flavor to it.”  And she was right, because I thought the same thing when I had a couple bites earlier in the day.

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Back to the drawing  board, and here we are with the finished product.  I added more chocolate chips to the melting process, and just made the whole pie one layer.  Success!  The flaked coconut on top was an added garnish, just in case there is any confusion on what kind of pie this is.  Can’t miss that coconut!

Dark Chocolate Coconut Pie Recipe:

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1 cup milk

1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 bag dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake crust for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.  In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, coconut milk and sugar. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in water. Bring coconut mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and slowly whisk in the cornstarch. Continue stirring mixture over low heat until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted, then pour mixture into pie crust.  Refrigerate for at least an hour, until pie is set.  Sprinkle with flaked coconut on top of the pie as a garnish.

Pali Punch

When I made Hawaiian Chicken, this was the punch that went along with that meal.  Shoot, you can’t have a Hawaiian themed meal without the fruity, delicious punch, can you?  No!  My thoughts exactly.  While researching some different types of punch, the ingredients were what jumped out at me when it came to how I thought it might taste.  This was one of those recipes that jumped out at me as something that would be a good, fruity combination…and something that was an actual Hawaiian style punch, and not just something thrown together with powdered mixers.

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It was delicious…in fact, I’ll be making this again for parties in the future.  When it comes to kids and punch, personally I try to avoid the bright red or other dark colors that stain floors and carpet easily, and go with something that’ll be easier to clean up.  This punch definitely falls into that category.  And let me tell you, this stuff did not go to waste, even though I made the whole batch.  My husband and daughter continued to drink it as the week went on.  This made Mama happy.

Pali Punch Recipe:

2 cans guava juice

1 1/2 cups pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons grenadine syrup

1 (2 liter) bottle ginger ale

Combine all ingredients and stir.  Can be served in a large pitcher or punch bowl.

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken with Buttered White Rice

Last night in our house, we had a Hawaiian themed dinner.  The only thing that was missing was everyone getting lei’d walking in the door…  No comment.  My husband and I went to Hawaii on our honeymoon, and we both loved it.  The beautiful scenery, perfect weather, laid back atmosphere…and amazing food.  Just from researching different types of Hawaiian recipes, it seems like the style of food there is a mix between Asian and a lot of citrus fruits.  When I told my brother that we were having a Hawaiian style dinner, he said, “Oh, so it’ll have pineapples all over it?”  Nope.  He’s actually not a big fan of whole pineapples, but like the juice and flavors from it…and he loved every bit of dinner…including beverage and dessert.

hawaiian chicken with buttered rice

In all honesty, I was terrified that the chicken was just going to come out tasting okay.  As it was cooking in the crock pot, I kept smelling it, thinking that it wasn’t going to be anything special.  Then again, I am getting over a sinus infection and my sinuses are still not back to normal, so maybe that could have contributed to being a little weary over how dinner would turn out.  Much to my surprise and pleasure, it was delicious!!  One of the things I remember about Hawaiian food was how deliciously moist and buttery the rice was…so I wanted to recreate that in my kitchen as well.  This rice was SO moist…and SO buttery.  I’m really not a big fan of plain white rice, but could have easily eaten this by itself.  My husband isn’t a big eater, and very rarely goes back for seconds…well, ladies and gentlemen…he went back for seconds!  I stared at my brother in shock and told him we should write down the date.  Even my picky brother went back for seconds and suggested that we have this again.  Needless to say, this went over well.

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken Recipe:

1 cup pineapple juice

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon worchestire

2 pounds chicken breast, cut into cubes

Whisk together ingredients until sugar is blended.  Stir together with chicken in bowl to coat completely, transfer to crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.  Serve by itself, or over white rice.

White Rice Recipe:

1/2 stick butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup long grain rice, uncooked

2 cups chicken broth

Melt butter in saucepan at medium heat, add salt and pepper.  Add rice, cook for a few minutes until rice is lightly browned.  Add chicken broth, stir, and cover.  Lower heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, until rice is fluffy.

Carrot Pineapple Bundt Cake

For dinner this evening, I’m doing a Hawaiian themed dinner…for the first time.  I’m nervous, yet excited.  Since this is experimental, there won’t be any decorations, music, or games this time…just a Hawaiian style menu.  And since this is a first time theme with ALL experimental recipes, my guinea pigs are my family.  Lucky them, right?!  I know.  The good thing is that I’ll get some really honest feedback on the food, which will allow me to tweak the recipes to make them better for next time.  You know, make them REALLY good for dinner guests, and not just family.  Ha!

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This is the dessert that was picked for tonight’s menu.  I wanted to make something fruity, but without the chunks…since there are some picky eaters this evening.  With this recipe, I pureed the carrots and pineapples with the oil and vanilla, and followed the rest of the directions.  This way, we can experience the flavor without texture being an issue.

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The end result?  I called my brother after wolfing down a piece to tell him that he would like the cake.  He said, “Oh good, so if I don’t like dinner, then I can go straight to dessert?”  Absolutely.  In fact, I’m wondering if he’ll “fake” liking dinner just to eat a double serving of dessert.  I wouldn’t be surprised.

Carrot Pineapple Bundt Cake Recipe:

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 cups finely grated carrots

8 oz. pineapple (cut into chunks, pureed, canned)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour bundt pan.  Sift flour with soda, cinnamon and salt.  In large bowl using an electric mixer, combine sugar and oil.  Add half of the flour mixture and mix well.  Beat in carrots, pineapple, vanilla and nuts.  Add remaining flour mixture; beat well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Pour into prepared pan and bake 60 to 70 minutes.  Cool completely, drizzle with pineapple glaze.

Pineapple Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1-3 tablespoons pineapple juice (depends on consistency you want)

Stir together sugar and juice until desired consistency.  Drizzle on top of cooled cake, save extra glaze to add to slices while serving.