Mo Knits

She also gardens, bakes, reads and exercises. But mostly Mo Knits.

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Ironic Cake Pineapple Upside Down Edition

What happens when you bake a classic from an ancient cookbook for the birthday of your dear friend and pastry chef? You embellish with better techniques and tastier ingredients. Isn’t it ironic?


Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare all inner surfaces of a 9 inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Line bottom with a round of baking parchment and spray once more. Cut strips of parchment and line sides. Do not spray side parchment, as this makes a nearly flat topped cake.

Into a microwave friendly bowl:
2 tablespoons butter. If using unsalted add a dash or two of salt.
4 tablespoons brown sugar firmly packed
1 tablespoon water.
Nuke until melted, and place in bottom of prepared baking pan

Into a medium sized mixing bowl stir together:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Into a small mixing bowl combine:
1/4 cup butter. If using unsalted add a dash of salt.
1/3 cup sugar

Cream together then add:
1 egg
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean. Do it it’s yum.
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Zest of one citrus fruit. I used blood orange. Delicious.

Beat together then add:
2/3 cup milk. Use whole milk for something wonderful or half and half for something decadent.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. You can beat for a minute, but I didn’t. Mishaps happen.

Ok. Here’s the fun part.
1 can pineapple rings.
14 maraschino cherries cut in half.
Arrange 5 or 6 pineapple rings around the outside of cake pan and one in the center. The cake is most beautiful if you squish a total of seven rings into the pan, as it helps everything stay in place. place half a cherry into the center of each pineapple ring and in each little spot along the edges. Carefully pour batter into pan, and spread evenly. If you used seven rings they won’t move. If you use six they will probably shift a bit.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

The pineapple part of this cake is very sweet. The cake part is a delicately flavored. If you have a sweet tooth cut into six servings. If you don’t cut into 12 servings. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream or french vanilla ice cream.

BTW: Pastry chef loved it.




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Happy Valentine’s Day

Remember my 50% off Halofox ends tonight at midnight PST. Discount applied upon checkout. It’s my Valentine for you, so gogogo get yours now.

At our house we celebrate holidays with cut iced sugar cookies. Here’s my original recipe. Enjoy!

Ravenous Knits
Be My Sugar Cookies
Want a sweet snack? Crisp on the outside. Soft on the inside. Let’s bake.

Cream together
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
zest of one orange
insides of one vanilla bean (do it its yum)
Once thoroughly blended add 1/2 cup milk

In a separate bowl stir together
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until flour mixture is moistened. There may be small lumps. Resist the urge to over mix. Dough will be very sticky. Do not fear. Tear off two large sheets of plastic film. Turn out dough and divide in half. Loosely wrap each portion and flatten into disc. Chill for 20 -30 minutes. Dough should feel firm but give to gentle pressure.

Preheat oven to 350°. Generously dust both board and dough with flour one portion at a time and roll to 1/8th inch thickness. Roll in one direction only. Turn dough 90° after each roll. Flour top and bottom as needed. Work quickly. Dough must remain cool. If in doubt return to fridge and cool.

Cut into fancy shapes, or freehand it. People will be delighted with shapes, but these are good cookies. Flavor will sell them. Place cookies onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes. The edges will be slightly brown when done. Let cookies stand for a few minutes after baking to firm up then transfer too cooling rack.

Continue to roll out. Refrigerate scraps. Roll until dough is all gone. That last sad tiny piece. Flatten and bake it. You need something to test to ensure these cookies aren’t poison.

Royal Icing

Zest one lemon. Juice one lemon. Add zest to juice and set aside. Strain out the zest before adding to powdered sugar mixture for decorating fancy shapes. Leave it for drizzling over un-fancy shapes.

In a large mixing bowl beat 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar and 2 drops glycerine. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Stir together. If icing is too thick add more juice. If icing is too thin add more powdered sugar.

Make sure cookies are completely cool before icing – except that last lumpy scrap. Dunk it in the icing. You need something to test to ensure the icing isn’t poison either. Violà. Yum! Add food coloring and do fancy icing if you wish, or drizzle if you’re in a hurry.

These are my favorite sugar cookies ever. The cookie dough alone has a faint and delicate flavor. Adding lemon zest to the royal icing really wakes up vanilla bean and orange zest flavors in the cookie. I’ve used lime or grapefruit zest in the cookie dough with equally delicious results. Zing!

Tonight my sweetheart and I will enjoy a quiet evening in. I have a special surprise for him. My darling neighbor Elise has a Cricut, and she helped me papercraft a heart bunting to hang over the fireplace.


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Time is Running Out!

Hello again friends,

Just a reminder Halofox is 50% 0ff in my Ravelry Store. Time is running out.


When I named Halofox I was thinking of the ring shape – like a halo- and the lace motif brought to mind fox faces, but now the season of LOVE is upon us. I see hearts.

It’s a perfect gift for the knitter in your life. Treat yourself or a friend for Valentine’s Day.

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I’m super excited to announce the self publication of my newest design Halofox.


Halofox is knit in the round. A ring shaped cowl with shawl-like drape. Lace motif resembles charming fox faces. Encircle the neck once, twice or three times. Halofox requires no shawl pin yet stays in place effortlessly.

Get your copy of Halofox at half price from now until midnight 31 Jan 2014 in the Ravenous Knits Ravelry store.


What A Year!

I can hardly believe I turn the big four-oh this year. Yep I’m turning 40.

Something else I can hardly believe: it’s been more than a year since I wrote a blog post. When I read this on blogs I always wonder what gives? For me there’s a short answer. Thirty-nine wasn’t good to me. There were high points, but mostly it was a truly hard year. I’m glad it’s over. Hey 40. Let’s do this.

A million years ago I promised an updated Lotus Ring pattern. I corrected the pattern last summer, but forgot to post. The problem was a single pesky yarn over located on the wrong side of a stitch marker. Since then several knitters on Ravelry have made Lotus Ring using the updated pattern with impressive results. It’s always good to get several finished user projects to boost confidence – both yours and mine- in my editing.

Two favorite Lotus Ring projects were made by Raveler chezlouie. One is lacy and delicate knit in Buffalo Wool Co. “Lux”, and the other appears bulky and very warm knit in an 8 ply wool. Click to see. Worth it.

In other news, I’m knitting a Holden Shawlette by Mindy Wilkes. I’ve knit several of the “most popular” shawl projects on Ravelry. It’s a mystery what sends a pattern into the popular page stratosphere. Like many of Ravelry’s most revered patterns Holden is very simple. You can bust one out in no time at all.

Holden uses an old school motif called “fan shell.” You can find it on p. 206 of A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara G. Walker. Various other stitch dictionaries contain this pattern, and the one Mindy uses streamlines instructions to the most essential stitches. Perhaps Mindy herself edited it. It’s terrific.

I’m nearly finished knitting my Holden, and I can’t help contemplating using fan shell in a new way. So of course I stopped and swatched. A good idea came to me. I hope it’s a really good idea. If it is I can’t wait to share it with you.

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I guess it’s a good thing I knit four of them because….

It took four times knitting Lotus Ring to see the error in the pattern.

Lotus Ring Errata:

From Round 5 through Round 15 the YO’s at the end of round on the far left side of the chart should appear on the far right of chart.

I am busy working on a magazine submission. I expect to complete the  magazine project and get working on an updated Lotus Ring pattern late next week.