Before POG was a game in the ’90s, it was an acronym for a juice blend invented in the ’70s on Maui. The tart yet sweet blend of passion fruit, orange, and guava juices is nostalgic for many — especially my Dad.
(Oddly enough, the game “pogs” is named after the juice — in ’91 a school teacher used POG juice caps to teach a modern version of a plantation-era game flipping ‘milk covas’ from the ’30s. My ’90s mind would have been blown!)
POG is relatively unknown on the mainland, and it is near impossible to find. I have only seen Aloha or Hawaiian Sun brands on the east coast, which are thick, syrupy, and lack freshness.
But, the POG experience can be re-created. For my sister’s rehearsal dinner in March we catered dessert from Taste of Aloha and the POG cupcakes were non-negotiable.
I asked baking kumu Amy if she would share her cupcake recipe so I could make it into a birthday cake for my Dad. Thankfully she obliged!
POG cupcakes from my sister’s rehearsal
The POG cake was a hit (again!). Since I made cakes instead of cupcakes, the baking time was much longer (~40 minutes), but the cake was still incredibly moist and flavorful.
I also opted for 2 different fillings since there were 4 layers of cake. Filling 1 was a tropical fruit curd which consisted of: peach-passion fruit juice, palekaiko tea, ginger, orange puree, li hing powder. Filling 2 was the incredibly creamy and smooth liliko’i butter from Kahuku Farms that I recently lugged back from Hawai’i.
I covered the cake in toasted coconut because I didn’t want to make candied orange peel, but in hindsight it would probably be quicker to make the orange peel!
Wow, I can’t believe I’ve been gone for so long! I’ve been quite busy the last few months. I got married in September and just got back from my honeymoon to Maui, O’ahu, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Before all that happened, I took an impromptu trip up to Pittsburgh to visit my bridesmaid, Stephanie. I was a bit hesitant to make the drive all by myself, but after a grueling bus trip last October, I was convinced that driving would be better.
Stephanie’s birthday is also in August, so I took the opportunity to make an attempt at a super cute Pocky cake from Sprinkle Bakes. My version turned out pretty well, though when frosting the cake I accidentally mis-aligned the layers, which affected the way the pocky sticks stacked.
I like a strong green tea flavor, so I used about a cup of organic matcha powder between the cake and frosting. Paired with the dark chocolate and yuzu filling, this was the perfect light and refreshing cake to snack on after a long drive.
About the matcha I used: Sugimoto America is a complete supplier of Japanese green tea and a subsidiary of Sugimoto Seicha, a Japanese green tea company founded in 1946. Based out of Seattle, they were nice enough to send me some great samples of their product, including some powders to bake with.
Their tea is grown and harvested on the mountain slopes of Shizuoka, the tea capital of Japan. All of their tea is blended, roasted, and packed by Tea Maestro Sugimoto, who received the Agricultural Minister Award in 1986.
Banoffee Pie is one of my favorite desserts. It’s a simple combination of bananas and toffee that together taste, as a whole, more than their parts. I’ve only seen a few banoffee “in the wild”, and whenever I see it I snatch it up.
That’s why when I was browsing Christie’s site “A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures” for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I knew I had to make the Bannoffee Danger Pie. Not only do I get to eat one of my favorite desserts, but I also get to learn how to make it. Calling it a recipe is a bit of a misnomer. I took some shortcuts and what follows below is more similar to assembly instructions.
Wondering why it’s called “Danger Pie?” From the source:
Why “danger”? Glad you asked. Danger is this pies middle name not only because is it tasty and calorically sinful but its also incredibly easy to make! A dangerous combination. If you are on a diet, avert your eyes.
You would think pouring a whole jar of caramel into a pie would make it far too sweet, but this is a case of “sum of its parts is greater than it whole.” The bananas and cream cut the caramel to the perfect level of richness.
I attempted to make a non-dairy whipped cream topping using coconut cream and it worked perfectly – except I let it continue to whip while I poured the caramel and it separated. I left half of the pie plain for my friends and family that are dairy sensitive. I also baked up a few of these as mini-pies and they were irresistible.
Head on over to A Kitchen Hoor to see what else she has, including: Emeril-famous Sweet Potato Skins, Creamy Jambalaya Pasta, Vanilla Cupcakes with Blackberry Curd, and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies.
Last week I celebrated my 27th birthday. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago I was starting college and dating my-now-fiance Dan. We’ve started a tradition where each year Dan bakes me a cake for my birthday. Last year he baked this amazing Coffee & Donuts cake and this year we decided on an Espresso Biscoff concoction.
This recipe, also from Sprinkle Bakes, was sure to be a winner. I love coffee and speculoos, so there was no risk. I also had a super cute dinosaur candle I had picked up a few years ago while on vacation and was waiting for just the right moment to whip out.
Since Dan didn’t cut the cake into a heart and pipe the frosting on, he sprinkled some crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans on it.
All in all, the cake tasted good, but the cake part itself was lacking a bit of flavor. Though there was a lot of Biscoff cookie spread and espresso in the batter, it tasted plain in comparison to the filling. If I were to make this again, I would change the cake to be a deep, dark chocolate cake with brewed coffee in the batter. The bitterness would help the Biscoff filling and Biscoff-mocha frosting stand out more. I would also see if it were possible to fill the cake with pure Biscoff instead of adding the sugar and butter to it. It tasted great, but without a bold cake, the filling got too sweet for me rather quickly.
This slice of cake was a perfect excuse to whip out my new Anthropologie plates! My best friend and I had this cake for breakfast, warm from the oven, before heading out to a local flea market and holiday popup. I do think this cake might taste better the day(s) after, when the coffee-flavor has had time to become more pronounced.
The only thing that could have made this birthday better was if it were warmer outside (I hate the cold)!
This week marks many things –
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Leopold’s gotch-ya day, and my 27th birthday.
These recipes came out of a conversation I was having a few weeks back at my in-laws dinner table. My father-in-law (it’s almost official, right?) whipped out some pumpkin bread he had recently picked up at Wegman’s thinking “why not?” We all agreed the bread was good, but just not the same as “Beth’s Pumpkin stuff”. What was this pumpkin bread-muffin-cupcake and why had I not heard of it? More likely I had heard of them, possibly eaten them, and just forgot about them and their reputation. I made my mother-in-law promise to send me the recipe and later that night it arrived in my inbox.
There aren’t many recipes that I don’t make modifications to. I kept the cake recipe the same, even leaving in the pecans. There are two camps in the “nut” baked good battle; some like the textural contrast of the nuts and some find it offensive and disharmonious. I added the pecans because: 1) I love pecans and 2) I had them in the apartment. My mother-in-law leaves them out and they taste just as good.
In this case, I took my mother-in-law’s recommendation and switched the original recipe’s frosting out for her tried-and-true and award-winning cream cheese frosting. I added in a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree leftover from the cake into the frosting and topped these with some cranberry orange relish, which I had already added a few tablespoons of to the batter.
You might think topping a cupcake with relish is crazy, but pumpkin and cranberry are both flavors that can go savory or sweet. This relish is more like a coulis and the tartness and brightness of the topping really do a great job to keep this treat from getting too heavy. You can even argue that this has fruit and vegetables in it–with cream cheese, it’s great for breakfast! Plus you know there’s going to be leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving.