Pickle Close-up

I grew up watching my Mom make countless jars of strawberry jam and mustard pickles, but never really had any interest in canning myself.  Over the last few years, I’ve been making skillet jams that I can keep in the fridge, but recently I’ve been a bit jealous of my friends who are total canning superstars. These girls are always giving me jars of their dill pickles and homemade jam, and I’ve become more interested in the process. You can see where this is going.

Bread & Butter Pickles

The tipping point arrived when fellow foodie friend Amy from Family Feedbag published her new book, The Canning Kitchen. I picked up a copy when she was in town back in June, and flipping through it gave me all the motivation I needed to finally give canning a try. It wasn’t hard to pick my first recipe: Bread & Butter Pickles. Here’s how I did it:

  • Step 1: I decided this would be a Mother/Daughter project, mostly because I was still a little scared that I would end up with exploding jars or something and I wanted back-up for PICKLE DAY.
  • Step 2: A few days before PICKLE DAY we went to Bulk Barn to pick up all of our spices and to Canadian Tire to get our canning supplies, including pickling vinegar and pickling salt, which I couldn’t find at my regular grocery store.
  • Step 3: The night before PICKLE DAY I cleaned my kitchen and cleared everything off my kitchen counters and set out all my new canning supplies (Amy includes a section on canning equipment in the book, so I knew exactly what I needed). My kitchen is basically the size of a shoebox, so this is key.
  • Step 4: The morning of PICKLE DAY I went to the Farmer’s Market near my house and bought my big basket of cucumbers, brought them home, washed them, sliced them, tossed them with sliced onion and pickling salt and set them aside. It’s really important to read the recipe thoroughly before starting, as there’s a 3 hour wait time here before you can proceed (we went out for lunch while we waited!).
  • Step 5: We followed the rest of the recipe, including making the pickling solution, and then processed the jars according to Amy’s 10-step Processing Checklist in the book. We had the book open on the counter and consulted it every step of the way to make sure we didn’t miss anything (especially since my Mom is like, oh you don’t need to do this part, Grammy never did this, and I’m like, but Mooooommmm, Amy says that according to North American home canning guidelines… {insert Mom rolling eyes at me}).

Overall, the process went very smoothly, even in my teeny tiny little kitchen, thanks to Amy’s clear instructions. The only thing that threw me off was that I ended up with a LOT of extra cucumbers – enough to fill a 1L jar. I ended up making some extra pickling solution, and sticking that jar in the fridge.

Extra Jar

Turns out the most challenging part of making pickles is that you have to wait 2-3 weeks to eat them! I finally cracked open my first jar the other day, and they are LEGIT. I can’t believe we made these in my kitchen! You can find the recipe on Page 102 of The Canning Kitchen.

Now for a GIVEAWAY! You too can become a canning queen or king by winning a signed copy of The Canning Kitchen, plus a $100 Gift Card for Canadian Tire, where you can stock up on everything you need to can. Just leave a comment telling me what you’d like to can (think jam, pickles, chutney) and then fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter (start by filling in your name and email address). You can gain even more entries by following the gang on various forms of social media, but that part is optional.

This giveaway is open to anyone in Canada and will run until next Wednesday, September 2nd. Good luck!

You can click the links below to see what my friends made from The Canning Kitchen:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Fresh Strawberry Bundt

You may remember that when I left my old job at the beginning of last summer, my former co-workers sent me off with a two week farewell treat tour. They took turns either baking something or buying treats to bring in, as a thank you for all the goodies I brought to them over the two years I worked there.

This cake was the very first treat of that tour, made with love by my friend Janelle. I’ve been waiting an entire year to make it. Grocery store strawberries just weren’t going to cut if for this beautiful bundt! I wanted fresh, local, sweet Ontario strawberries, and was willing to wait this long.

Strawberry Slice

I’m so glad I did because this cake is a winner. It’s SUPER hydrated because it has a whole cup of greek yogurt, and it’s one of those cakes that tastes better the longer it sits. I love that.

I shared this with my new co-workers and it was gone in record time. I feel like this is so adaptable to any summer fruit you want to add in. I think a peach version would be particularly delicious, working that whole peaches & cream angle.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Source: A Spicy Perspective


2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

zest from 1 lemon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp lemon juice

1 cup greek yogurt – plain or vanilla

12oz strawberries, diced, tossed with 1/4 cup flour

+ 1 cup icing sugar whisked with 2 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 375° and spray a bundt pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and lemon juice and mix again until well combined.
  4. Alternately mix in the flour mixture (3 additions) and yogurt (2 additions), beginning and ending with the flour.
  5. Add the strawberries and gently fold in. Pour batter into bundt pan and smooth it into an even layer.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes, until a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
  7. Let cool for 30 minutes in the pan then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Drizzle glaze overtop.


Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad

For a long time I have had a very real, very negative reaction to strawberries and goat cheese in salad. This stems, no doubt, from my aversion to Milestone’s, which I have explained at length in the past. They had* a salad with this combination on the menu in the early-mid aughts, when I ate there constantly. I feel sorry for my past self…I just didn’t know any better.

Lately though, my BSF Janelle and I have had another salad with this combination at Joey’s. It’s called The Beach, and is basically that same salad from Milestone’s, but with quinoa, avocado and grilled chicken. It’s actually quite delightful, and I love the strawberry and goat cheese combo as clichéd as it may be**.

I decided to make this at home a couple weeks ago, with a handful of my last precious Ontario strawberries tossed in. I also FRIED THE CHEESE because why wouldn’t you? The whole salad gets drizzled with a tasty poppy seed dressing. This is the kind of thing I would make once a year and then forget about, so of course I’m documenting it here.

*Oh snap! It’s still on the menu

**Speaking of clichés…J and I order a Molten Lava Chocolate Soufflé at Joey’s for dessert. It’s basically a Cathy cartoon when that thing hits our table

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Fritter Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Source: Club Narwhal, plus Joey’s, plus *shudder* Milestone’s



1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp white vinegar

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp poppy seeds

Goat Cheese Fritters

1 log goat cheese, sliced into 1/4″ thick discs – you’ll want 3-4 discs per salad, because that’s the way life should be lived – I used the kind with herbs on the outside

1/4 cup flour

1 egg

2/3 cup panko, seasoned with salt and pepper

+ salad greens (I used red leaf lettuce, Joey’s uses some type of mesclun mix)

+ pecans (candied or spicy if you have time)

+ sliced strawberries

+ avocado


  1. For poppy seed dressing, blend all ingredients (except poppy seeds) with an immersion blender. For this dressing to emulsify properly you need to use a blender. I tried to shake everything together in a jar and it wasn’t happening.
  2. For goat cheese, set up your assembly line with 3 bowls in this order: flour, egg (whisk it), breadcrumbs. Toss the goat cheese discs into the flour, then dunk in the egg, then coat in breadcrumbs. Place in the fridge while the pan heats up.
  3. Set a non-stick pan over medium-heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  4. Fry the goat cheese for two minutes on each side, then set on a paper towel to drain.
  5. Toss up your lettuce and toppings, drizzle dressing over top, and set a few discs of goat cheese on top.

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Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies

by byn on August 5, 2015

in Pies & Tarts

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Sometimes I have a moment when I see a new recipe and I’m like omgineedtomakethisrightaway and I can’t stop thinking about it. This becomes a problem when dealing with seasonal fruit, and rhubarb in particular, because if you don’t drop everything and make it right away, you’ll have to wait like a year for your next chance.

This is exactly what happened when Deb posted these super cute Rhubarb Hand Pies TWO YEARS AGO and I’m only just getting around to making them. I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now.

This was my second time making hand pies, and yeah, they’re obviously a bit more work than a regular pie. But the cuteness that results is just too much, plus I love the crunch factor when you bite into the warm flaky pastry, which just isn’t something you get when you eat a slice of pie (unless you eat from the back to the front, which I don’t).

Hand Pie Bite

These hand pies are filled with equal amounts of a tart rhubarb compote filling and a sweet cream cheese filling. The original recipe uses lemon zest and lemon juice in the cream cheese filling, but I left those out and instead added a bit of vanilla bean paste. I really had to show restraint and not add too much filling, because I didn’t want them to explode in the oven.

Super cute, very portable, and they’re like summer in your hand. Now I want to make these again when I get my hands on some peaches!

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies

Source: Smitten Kitchen

Yield: ~2 dozen hand pies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter



3 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, cold, cut into cubes

3/4 cup – 1 cup buttermilk

Rhubarb Filling

1lb chopped rhubarb

1/3 cup sugar

Cream Cheese Filling

4 oz cream cheese, cold

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

+ egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water)

+ coarse sugar


  1. For pastry, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle the butter cubes over the flour mixture, and cut in with a pastry cutter until the butter is the size of peas. Pour over 3/4 cup of buttermilk, and use a spatula to mix together. Knead together briefly and lightly until the mixture comes together, adding the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk if needed. Split the dough in half, form into discs, and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. For rhubarb filling, stir together the rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes, then take the cover off, stir and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add rhubarb mixture to a bowl, and set in the fridge to cool.
  3. For cream cheese filling, mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer until smooth. Set in the fridge to chill.
  4. To make the hand pies, first preheat the oven to 400 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Dust the counter with flour and roll out the first disc of dough until about 1/8″ thick. Use a square or round cookie cutter (about 3″, but you could make them a bit bigger) to punch out shapes and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Brush half the shapes lightly with the egg wash (these are the bottoms) and on the remaining shapes, score a little X with a sharp knife (these are the tops).
  7. Add a very small dollop (about 1 tsp) of cream cheese filling onto the bottoms, then the same size dollop of rhubarb filling on top. Cover with a top and gently press around the edges to seal. Use a fork to press down on the edges. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle liberally with coarse sugar.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.


Rhubarb Mojitos

by byn on August 3, 2015

in Drinks

Rhubarb Mojito

So it’s August, and I’m still on rhubarb over here. I know that blueberries, cherries and peaches are waiting for me, so I’ve decided that this is the last week for rhubarb in my kitchen. I made some strawberry rhubarb jam yesterday, am working on a rhubarb recipe today that I’ve had bookmarked for THREE YEARS, and I think that’s going to be it for 2015. I still have a big bag of chopped rhubarb in the freezer, but it’s nice to know I can pop that out whenever I want.

It seems like every summer I try to make a rhubarb cocktail, and there’s always room for one more. Last summer, I learned how to make cocktails with jam, and all of a sudden it became so obvious. Of course the fruit flavour will come through more if you use fruit purees, instead of simple syrup!

This rhubarb mojito couldn’t be easier: muddle some lime wedges and mint leaves in a jar, add rhubarb puree (leftover from Rhubarb Lemon Bars) a shot of rum and top with a bit of sparking water. So refreshing and so delicious.

Rhubarb Mojito

Source: Heather Christo

Yield: 1 drank


1/2 lime, cut into wedges

6 fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup rhubarb puree

2 oz white rum

2 oz (or more) sparkling water


  1. In the bottom of a glass or jar, muddle the lime and mint together (just use the handle of a wooden spoon) which will juice the limes a bit and tear up the mint.
  2. Add the rhubarb puree, rum and sparking water and stir to combine. Add ice and a bit more sparking water if you like.


Everyone's Favourite Birthday Cake

Today we’re celebrating Martha Stewart’s birthday with a classic yellow cake/chocolate icing combination from Baked Occasions. Matt has a deep love for Martha which he writes about in the book, and while I wouldn’t consider myself a disciple, I can appreciate her domestic goddess-ness and attention to detail.

This recipe is very straightforward, and I don’t have too much to add about it (unlike, say, the Ube Cake for example!). The cake has a hefty scoop of sour cream in it to keep it hydrated, but the real star of the show is this chocolate cream cheese frosting. It’s unbelievably delicious, and it’s getting flagged as my new go-to. Based on my experience with the Ube Cake’s cream cheese frosting, I used cold cream cheese instead of room temperature, and it worked out perfectly.

Sprinkle Jamz

The only change I would make to this cake is to bake it in three layers, instead of two, as I found the layers quite thick, and basically this would be an excuse to fit in more frosting. I think it would also make outstanding cupcakes.

I brought this to a barbecue at my friend Christina’s house, and instead of “Everyone’s Favourite Birthday Cake” it acted as “Everyone’s Favourite Culinary School Graduation Cake” as we celebrated Jenny‘s recent milestone.

Jenny's Cake

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!


July on Planet Byn {2015}

by byn on July 31, 2015

in Monthly Recaps

Cute Donuts

After a low-key start to the summer, things really kicked into high gear over here. July felt long, hot and full of fun. Here’s what was happening on the foodie front:

  • The Food Blogger Mafia descended on Taste of Toronto and unleashed a high degree of food snobbery all up in there. My favourite savoury dish was from Montecito; a meatball in tomato sauce on top of polenta. Sounds simple, but it was perfectly executed. Every dessert we tried was a disappointment though. I don’t know if I’d go back next year.
  • My new work friend Sarah organized after work drinks at El Patio, a hidden gem up behind El Caballito where there are pitchers of boozy, slushy drinks and a food truck serving tacos and patatas bravas. Definitely gotta go back.
  • I spent a Saturday afternoon at my friend Janelle’s house baking with her two little girls, and we had so much fun. We made S’mores Cracker Candy and chocolate chip cookies with lots of sprinkles.
  • I *finally* went to Playa Cabana (the Hacienda location) and it deserves all the hype! My favourite taco I tried was the crispy short rib one, and then we had CHURROS POUTINE for dessert. This means churros (fries) with caramel sauce (gravy) and marshmallows (cheese curds). Yasssss.
  • Christina hosted us for a barbecue at her house, but instead of burgers and hot dogs, she put her pizza stone on the grill, mixed up a huge batch of dough, and we all got to make our own personal pizzas. It was so much fun! Heather brought all kinds of drinks, Lou brought a caramelized onion and bacon dip, Meg brought a super garlicky caesar salad (with avocado in the dressing! and brioche croutons!), Jenny brought treats from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, Brit brought the donuts you see pictured up above and I brought a Baked Sunday Morning project you’ll see this week.

Other non-foodie things I was obsessed with this month:

  • My friend Alexis is a teacher, so she’s off for the summer and has organized Kristine’s and my entire summer movie going schedule. This month we saw Magic Mike, Trainwreck and Southpaw, which has refreshed my Jake Gyllenhaal obsession in a very real and time-consuming way.
  • Pan Am fever overtook Toronto, and I got to see some gymnastics which was super fun, but kind of hard to watch in person! So much happening at once!
  • Kristine and I went to see Kelly Clarkson last weekend at Molson Amphitheatre. Kelly, we love you, but you need a new stylist!
  • I have your must read of the summer right here: Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. It’s engrossing, disturbing, fascinating and disgusting all at the same time. Read it and let’s discuss.

I’ve been writing these monthly recaps for two years now! Crazy!


Rhubarb Lemon Bars

by byn on July 27, 2015

in Bars & Squares

Rhubarb Lemon Squares

When I was sick back in June and lying around on my couch drinking hot water with honey and lemon, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was going to completely miss rhubarb season this year. I accepted the sad tragedy that it would be a rhubarb-less summer here on Planet Byn.

But then I resurfaced at the beginning of July and made my first trip to the big Farmer’s Market near my house, where there was one stall that still had rhubarb. I was so excited, and I bought about 12 huge stalks, mind on overdrive thinking about all the recipes I pinned in the Spring, but thought I’d have to wait another year to make.

I knew when I saw these bars on Broma Bakery that they would be my first recipe. Every year I try to find a new application for rhubarb, or a twist on something I’ve made in the past. These squares are basically a lemon square with the addition of rhubarb puree. The original recipe also uses a bit of red food colouring to up the pink factor, but I kept things natural, and liked the pretty peach colour I ended up with.

I wasn’t quite sure the rhubarb flavour came through, but my #1 rhubarb recipe testers (Mom & Dad) loved them and assured me you could definitely tell it was rhubarb. The rest went to work, but people ate them so fast, I don’t think anybody even wondered what they were, besides a free treat at 9am.

The recipe makes a little more rhubarb puree than you’ll need for the bars, so I’ll show you what I made with the leftovers next!

Rhubarb Lemon Bars

Source: Broma Bakery


Rhubarb Puree

3 cups chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water


5 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups flour


4 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup rhubarb puree

3 tbsp lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup flour


  1. First up, make the rhubarb puree. Add the rhubarb, sugar and water to a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, which will break up the rhubarb. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 and line an 9×13″ baking pan with foil. Spray the foil with non-stick spray.
  3. To make the crust, add the cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt to a bowl, and cream together on medium speed for a few minutes until smooth. Add the flour and blend until combined. Add to pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. While crust is baking, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, rhubarb puree, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the flour then pour over crust. Bake for 20 minutes, then let cool. Chill in the fridge before slicing.

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Ube Cake

I was so excited back in October to finally get my hands on a copy of Baked Occasions. Even though I had a preview of the book after testing out almost a dozen recipes, I couldn’t wait to see what other treats were inside. After the launch party at Baked Tribeca, I went back to my hotel, got into bed and cracked it open. My jaw dropped open when I found an UBE CAKE inside. How did the Baked boys know about ube?!?!

When I was growing up, ube desserts were always on the tables at my Filipino friends’ houses, and this was how I was introduced to this pretty purple vegetable. My friend Kristine would always pass on an ube treat from Red Ribbon whenever her family brought some for her, and we also made sure to visit a Red Ribbon in Vegas last time we were there together. I have been obsessed with making ube treats ever since (you can see it in my blog-iversary goals from back in 2011), but could never find purple yams anywhere.

Ube Cake Slice

I immediately knew this would be the most fun recipe for me to make from Baked Occasions, and when I saw it on our schedule for this summer, I was so happy. After a small matter of procuring ube powder (I had to order it off Ebay because Amazon.com wouldn’t ship it to Canada) I was in business. The first thing you have to do for this recipe is rehydrate your ube, so you just cook the ube powder with water until it reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Once you add the rest of your standard cake ingredients, the purple is quite muted, and I’d say the cake batter is looking pretty gray. I didn’t want to add too much purple food colouring to it (read this post on red velvet cake to find out why) but then again, when you look at Red Ribbon’s ube treats, they are pretty bright. I compromised and added enough food colouring to make it look purple, but not enough so that it was fake looking. Here’s what a Red Ribbon Ube Cake looks like in comparison (Kristine had just given me one last week, perfect timing):

Ube Colour Comparison

The layers baked up nice and flat, and I got my cream cheese frosting mixed up and ready to go. The frosting was a bit runny for me, and I ended up adding about 2 more cups of icing sugar to it. I think the real solution is to always start with cold cream cheese, instead of room temperature. I also had my customized purple sprinkle mix ready that I made by going to Bulk Barn and buying a few sprinkle shapes, picking out the purple ones, and combining them all together. I copied this from Sweetapolita, who is selling her own sprinkle mixes in her Etsy shop, but mine cost me less than $5 and I had so many left over.

Ube Cake Sprinkles

I absolutely loved the way the cake turned out! Just so, so, cute. I sliced it up and was excited to see my purple layers inside. Maybe they could have been more purple, but I’m glad I showed a bit of restraint with the food colouring. It’s really hard to describe the flavour of ube, but I will say the cake was dense, hydrated and almost earthy tasting, but that’s not really the right word. I ate a slice, cut two to share with friends at work, and wrapped up the rest of the cake to take to Kristine and her family, since it was her sister Mae’s birthday yesterday.

Ube Cake Top

This is no doubt the most fun baking project I have had in a long time. I need to get my hands on more ube powder!!!

Note: Each recipe in Baked Occasions corresponds with a holiday, and the one for this recipe is Hunter S. Thompson’s birthday. It’s actually called Gonzo Cake in the book, and Matt writes about his love for the author and his style of ‘gonzo’ journalism. Obviously I only saw UBE and read no further!

You can find the recipe here!

More Baked Sunday Mornings here!


Hummingbird Cake

by byn on July 13, 2015

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Icing

Hummingbird Cake

Baking layer cakes is pretty much like therapy for me. I can rush my way through a batch of cookies or make a pan of brownies practically with my eyes closed, but layer cakes demand time, patience and love. We have a few coming up on our Baked Sunday Morning schedule and I can’t wait to make them.

I made this little cake for dessert for Father’s Day last month, and decided to try my hand at decorating it ‘Naked Cake’ style. I’ve seen this everywhere on blogs and Pinterest lately, but Christina Tosi from Momofuku Milk Bar has been leaving the sides of her cakes unfrosted for years.  Some styles I’ve seen leave the sides totally bare, while others add a very thin coating, which I tried to do here. I think it looks cute, but also kind of like I did the crumb coat and then ran out of icing. But let’s be honest here, the main problem is that there is LESS ICING ON THE CAKE WHEN YOU EAT IT. Not okay!

The cake itself is a banana/pineapple situation called a Hummingbird Cake. My Dad has been saying he’s sick of Carrot Cake lately, which is one of his faves, so I thought this would be sort of similar but with a twist. The original recipe also includes a whole bunch of chopped pecans, but I left those out. I can’t emphasize enough that this is the most hydrated cake that I have ever made. So much so that after I started to pile on the fresh strawberries and blueberries, things were getting very lopsided very quickly. We absolutely loved this, and I would totally make it again.

Hummingbird Cake

Source: Cake Brown Eyed Baker // Icing Annie’s Eats



1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

4 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork

1 16oz can crushed pineapple, drained and 1/3 cup juice reserved

1 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)


10 oz cream cheese, chilled

6 1/2 tbsp butter, room temperature

3 1/4 cups icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray two 8 or 9″ cake pans with non-stick spray. (I actually halved the recipe and baked it in 3 little 6″ pans).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  3. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  4. Fold in the bananas, pineapple and nuts (if using).
  5. Divide batter into pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  6. For icing, beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the icing sugar and mix on low until incorporated, then mix on high until smooth and light, a few minutes more. Add the vanilla and mix again until combined.
  7. Assemble and frost as you see fit!