Recipe: pineapple orange cake
It’s a nice thing to unplug every now and again – to forget about blogs, emails, phone calls, tweets, facebook status updates and just head for the sticks. I learned from our last marathon-road-trip-photo-shoot that all work and no play stresses the hell out of Jeremy. So on this trip, we’re mixing it up a little and I’m working very hard to take it easier. Driving north we popped through wine country with a stop in Healdsburg for a little wine tasting, wine purchasing, and scoping out of things to do for my dad’s birthday this year. Jeremy is in love with wine country. Our first day in the redwoods was spent on the coast. I startled not one, not two, but three snakes. We went in search of river otters but found seals playing in the water instead. The lagoons and beaches are a birder’s delight, full of activity and fishing (I like these birds, they eat sushi).
on the coast
I grew up on the water, but I’m not a beach person. What I really came for were the trees. I am a tree person. We spent the next two days hiking among the majestic redwood forests.
this guy had something to say
lots of ferns
all of that rain has got to go somewhere
My timing seems to be sucking this year because so many of the blooms are “late”. Cold, wet spring weather has delayed the rhododendrons. Of course, all of the domestic rhodies in town are in full glorious bloom. I just prefer the wild ones.
the tallest trees in the world: redwoods
Finishing the shoot a little early, we decided to swing through San Jose en route to the next shoot. That was Sunday – Mother’s Day. I called my mom from the road (Jeremy was driving – as a rule, we do not engage in simultaneous phone yammer and driving) to see if she and Grandma wanted to have dinner together. Yes, yes of course! Jeremy and I stayed in town overnight and helped with a few errands in the morning. I have come to recognize that as people age, what they cherish more than anything is time spent with those they love. We had lunch together at Sushi O Sushi before Jeremy and I drove off for the mountains. As we walked out of the restaurant my mom squeezed my hand and said it was the best Mother’s Day she’s had in a long time. That makes it all worth it.
the sashimi was so fresh and wonderful i could have cried
Jeremy and I are working on our laptops, waiting for batteries to finish charging, and reading last minute weather reports tonight. Before I doze off into full banana sleep (a phrase I shouted as I drifted in and out of consciousness on the long car ride north), I have a recipe from my redneck past to share.
yeah, that’s a box mix and other scary ingredients
thankfully the pecans were not produced by a giant food corporation
This isn’t a recipe you’ll typically find on urb. I generally pride myself in making food more or less from scratch or from raw ingredients. But if you will take note, I hail from southern Virginia. The cake is called a Pig Picking Cake. I have no idea where the name comes from, but it is in essence a pineapple orange cake. It’s a decent go-to dish when you’re in a bind for something to slap together for a potluck.
canned mandarin oranges and eggs
mix it all together
I had brought one to a department picnic in graduate school when someone standing behind me asked if I had made this lovely cake. My response was, “Oh this is just an old white trash recipe from home.” That was before I turned around to see the startled look on the face of the wife of a most revered professor. Smooth move, Jen.
pour into a greased pan
meanwhile, mix the frosting
Pig picking cake is a doctored-up yellow cake slathered with a topping of Cool Whip, instant vanilla pudding mix, and crushed pineapple. If you don’t know what is in it, it’s pretty good. I hadn’t made it in years and it was strange to buy things like cake mix or pudding mix. Sometimes it’s good to look back on your beginnings and see how far you’ve come, how much you’ve learned. That, and it’s always a hit at the potlucks.
top it off and serve
Pineapple Orange Cake (aka Pig Picking Cake)
1 package yellow cake mix (add 1/4 cup flour @8500 ft.)
11 oz. can mandarin oranges, with syrup
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pecans, chopped
20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 package (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
12 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
Preheat oven to 350°F (375°F @8500 ft.). Beat the eggs, oranges, and syrup together. Add cake mix, oil, and pecans. Beat until mixed. Pour into a greased 9×13-inch pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Meanwhile, beat the pineapple and pudding mix together in a bowl. Mix in the Cool Whip and refrigerate until ready to use. When the cake is done, remove from oven and let cool completely. Frost the cake with the Cool Whip topping. Serve.