Pirate Kitchen

Chocolate Chip Crunchy Cake

Baking, Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, General | February 24, 2013 | By

Chocolate Chip Crunch Cake

There is a light at the end of the tunnel:  4 days until March! And to celebrate, anything with chocolate is in order. Thank you to my friend Patty and her daughter Rachel for sharing this lovely cake recipe (I tweaked it just a tiny bit!) – a dense, moist yellow cake with a cinnamon, sugar and chocolate chip filling and topping. The sugar is what gives it the slight “crunch” and I just love a cinnamon/chocolate combo, don’t you?


Cold Oven Pound Cake

Baking, Cakes, Desserts, General | August 26, 2012 | By

Cold Oven PoundcakeThis should be called “The Cake That Almost Wasn’t”. The first time I made this cake, the recipe called for baking it in a tube pan. No problem, I have one.  Correction:  PROBLEM since it leaks! Of course, I didn’t know this until the baking process started and I could smell blobs of batter burning on the bottom of the oven. I wanted to sit down and cry, but instead I realized (yay) that this batter is soooooo thick that it might just make it! So I put a sheet pan on the rack below it and gave it a shot. I noticed (and you can see from the photo) that it wasn’t leaking like, say a box cake batter would and the cake was still holding its shape in the cake pan. It worked.


Sort of Back in the Groove with Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

Hammock View 1

I needed this hammock today. Notice Max getting in the groove too and rolling around on his back. I’m finally posting after too long and I thought what better way to kick off my re-entry into blogland than with a spicy snack. I’m also paying tribute to two friends (and one of the members of one of my all time favorite musical groups the Beastie Boys) who recently passed away. Two in a month is two too many, but they would love this:  kicking back with a snack and a glass of wine and listening to the Beastie Boys.

In Loving Memory Of My Friends
Cindy Robertson
1957 – 2012
Frank McBride
1962 – 2012
Adam Yauch (MCA of the Beastie Boys)
1964 – 2012


Max and the Great Butter Escapade

Baking, Cakes, Desserts, General | June 19, 2010 | By

Coffee Cake on Mackenzie Childs

Cheater Coffee Cake

This is what happened on my way to writing about a recipe:  Max.  Max happened.  Max is our year-and-a-half old lab/husky puppy.  Did I mention that he’s 100 pounds?  100 pounds of pure exuberance, joy and happiness.  He’s so happy he can hurt you, but in this case, he hurt (or rather, ate) a pound of butter.

Max Loves Butter II

Max Loves Butter II

It was my fault.  I left the butter out to soften for baking and Max…well, the rest is the usual foregone conclusion.  The good news is , he loved it.  The bad (if there really is bad news just depends on how you look at it):  he LOVED one whole pound of the most-perfectly-softened-for-baking unsalted butter.  You know when it’s so perfectly softened you can see a slight indentation in the top of the stick, the wrapper shimmer, and there’s that whiff of butter fat in the air?  You know what I’m talking about.  There wasn’t a wrapper, blob or even smear left.  But oh the look on his face:  pure exuberance, joy and happiness.

Max the dog licking his lips

Butter Eater

Once I recovered with another pound of butter, I set about making this cake.  Let me tell something about this particular coffee cake:  it rocks.   The cake is made from a box cake mix and the crumb topping proudly boasts a pound (yes, pound) of butter in its list of ingredients.  This is a definite go-to recipe if you need to whip something up for work, house guests or if you’re just plain old in the mood for a scrumptious, unbelievably easy to make coffee cake.  My family loves it and recently it was my stepson’s birthday cake.  This would definitely make it to the Paula Deen butter lover’s hall-of-fame.  I love making cakes from scratch, but with this recipe there’s really no need.  It falls under the heading, “Why Fix It If It Ain’t Broken”.

Cheater Coffee Cake
The cheating part is our secret!
Can serve about 8 depending upon how much the baker (or dog) eats first!



  • 1 box Betty Crocker Butter Recipe Yellow cake mix (any yellow box cake mix will do, but there is yet another stick of butter (!) needed for this brand)


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tsps. cinnamon
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1 lb (4 sticks) melted butter (yes, 1 POUND)
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the (bottom only if glass, bottom and sides of all other pans) of a 13″x9″ pan.  Follow the instructions on the cake mix box and mix as directed.  Bake slightly under the time recommended on the box – until it is slightly firm, 20-25 minutes.  The cake will go back in the oven when the topping is added (after the next step) for another 15-20 minutes.

While the cake is baking:

Combine the topping ingredients in a large bowl and mix by hand.

Remove the cake from the oven.  Scoop large chunks of topping mix, by hand, and crumble over the top of the cake.  This is the fun part and you get to eat chunks of it and lick your fingers – yum.  Cover the entire surface of the cake – there’s plenty to cover and then start to pile on top.  Put the cake back in the oven for another 15 – 20 minutes to slightly brown the topping.  Cool and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Credit: Recipe courtesy of a former co-worker’s daughter who has no idea where she got it.