Monday, July 1, 2013

Rain or Shine Desserts

If there's one holiday that screams for cooking on the grill, it's the Fourth of July. For many, that means easy cooking. For a lucky few, it means hubby does most of the cooking. When I'm faced with a dinner from the grill, I like to grill everything, or as much as I can.

I throw veggies on the grill. I butter and salt potatoes, wrap them in foil, and let them bake on the grill. I posted ages ago about how I make garlic bread on the grill. But what about dessert?

This year, the fourth falls on Thursday and that means a lot of us will have spent the week working. The fourth is usually a day of fun. Picnics, fireworks, boating, swimming, hiking. Who wants to miss out on all that fun to stay home and bake pies and cupcakes? Well, okay, so a few of us will do that but others would prefer to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.

As luck had it, I saw two grilled dessert ideas in a Kroger flyer that were very easy. They utilize some, shhh, store bought goodies but still make for great desserts.

Grilling fruit isn't the most original idea. I do that every time I light up the grill. If you have never eaten grilled pineapple, you'll be blown away by the delicious caramelized sweetness. I usually serve that as a side dish with dinner. Not your cuppa? Grill peaches! And serve them over vanilla ice cream. How easy is that? Yummy warm peaches over ice cream? Not many people would turn that down. And your time in the kitchen is limited to scooping ice cream.

Now I admit that I baked a cake for the second idea. Two cakes, actually. After all, you guys expect a recipe, right? But if you buy a pound cake from the deli or Sara Lee (whose frozen pound cake is pretty good!), I'll never tell.

Who has baked a pound cake recently? It's been years for me. When I saw recipes with one pound of butter, seven eggs, and three cups of sugar, my arteries started hardening. I was certain someone must have found a way to bake a lower fat pound cake.

My first attempt omitted butter entirely. I used vegetable oil and 2% Greek yogurt instead. While it baked up with a decent crumb, it just wasn't pound cake. It was obvious to me immediately that pound cake really does need butter. As it happens, while I didn't care for the first cake, my mother loved it!

But I kept going. Apparently, I'm not the only person who has thought about this. Lisa Schumacher, a recipe tester and stylist for the Chicago Tribune put her talents to work and modified something called a Dutch pound cake recipe. Apparently, her tasters liked the lower fat version even better than the original. Now this isn't going to win any health or diet awards, but it might make you feel a little bit better about enjoying it.

While it wasn't mentioned in the recipe I read, I brought the butter and eggs to room temperature. I also skipped the cake flour and used with regular flour. The results are terrific. If you chose to bake it in small Bundt pans, check to see if they're done in 45 - 50 minutes. It turned out of the pans perfectly, slices beautifully, and has the dense texture and buttery flavor of pound cake. This recipe is a keeper for me.

Lisa Schumacher's Lower Fat Pound Cake

1 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature) plus extra for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease two loaf pans. Cream the butter with the sugar. Combine the flour and baking powder and set aside. Beat in the four eggs. Add the flour mixture about 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with the milk. Add vanilla and beat. Pour into pans. Bake about 1 hour.

But that's not all! The Kroger flyer suggested an grown-up version of S'mores using pound cake. How clever is that? Unfortunately, just as I was ready to put my peaches and pound cake S'mores on the grill, I noticed two of my dogs acting scared. Sure enough, thunder rolled through the air and rain came down. Not just rain. A deluge with lightning and sound effects that sent poor Queenie into hiding.

If that happens to you, all is not lost. Preheat the oven to 350. Place the peach halves in a oven safe baking dish, sprinkle with sugar and cover. Bake 20 minutes. Serve hot on vanilla ice cream.

Slice the pound cake about1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and marshmallows and cover with another slice. Bake at 350 about 7 minutes. Serve warm.


  1. I always figured I couldn't beat Sara Lee's version. And I confess that I'm addicted to butter (my cholesterol level is fine, than you).

    But this sounds tasty, and the grilled fruit sounds like a great addition.

  2. Sheila, I was just thinking about this. The ingredients for the pound cake are things most of us have at home. It takes mere minutes to make the batter. If you don't count the hour in the oven, for most of us it would be faster to make it than to go to the grocery store to buy one.


  3. Terrific idea, Krista. I love desserts that are tasty and don't take all day and leave the kitchen looking like a battlefield.

    We love grilling peaches and now we know that if there was any left, we could make one of these desserts!

    1. I've even enjoyed the leftover peaches today. It's a dessert that keeps on giving!


  4. And pound cake is great toasted, so it ought to take well to grilling! Grilled pound cake, grilled peaches, ice cream. Yes, I can certainly see it!

    1. That's weird. My reply didn't go through! You're absolutely right. It's very much like toasted pound cake, Libby!


  5. This recipe sounds delicious!
    I love Pound Cakes! ( and S'mores )!