Breaking the rules

Growing up, I wasn’t exactly one to break the rules.

Similar to most kids, I didn’t like behaving for babysitters, going to sleep at my bedtime or wearing clothes. (Wait, was that just me?)

Otherwise, though, I was pretty cooperative.

That is with the exception of one time that remains clearly etched into my memory: It was second grade and I was up against a spelling test.

For just a little more background, I didn’t used to be so great at spelling. In fact, that same second-grade teacher even told my mom that  she should “try to speak better English around the house,” (as opposed to her Texas accent) so that I would be better at spelling.

Apparently that wasn’t working, because I was about as scared as a armadillo on the middle of a highway about taking that test. Ya’ll understand?

So, rather than subject my mom to a little more wrath from my teacher, I decided to take matters into my own hands. When the teacher turned her back, I oh-so slyly leaned over to my desk partner and whisper, “Hey, let me see your answers.”

“No, that’s cheating,” he anxiously responded.

“Psh, no, we’re supposed to work together,” I convincingly said. But, no sooner had he slid his paper over that my teacher turned back around.


It was during the subsequent five-minutes in time-out that I swore to always follow the rules.

For the most part, I believe that was a good idea. I did well in school, was accomplished with sports and got along with my parents, all thanks to “listening to the rules.” But, in some other aspects of life, I came to realize that “following the rules” can actually be constraining…

That used to be the case when I baked. I would get tied up in precise measurements, rigid combinations of ingredients and specific formulas. When something was missing, I felt like it was a total lost cause…

This usually resulted in me, a bowl half-filled with batter and a lot of sadness. Rare was there any cake (or cookies or pie or etc…). Rarer was there any happiness.

It was for that reason that I decided to amend my own rules. Now I go by, “Always follow the rules until it’s a better idea not to follow the rules.”

That’s why, when I found myself with a big ol’ container of pineapple juice, I didn’t stress out.

Instead, I decided to toss caution to the wind and employ some baking swaps of my own.

First up was breakfast (which was so good that I hinted to it in a previous post).

Tropical Pancakes


  • 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • flax egg (alternatively, one whole egg)
  • 1 C pineapple juice (Rule breaking alert: In the original recipe, I used milk)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t coconut extract (alternatively, vanilla)
  • 1/4 C add-ins (I used banana chips!)


  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flours and baking powder.
  • In another bowl, beat together flax egg, pineapple juice, coconut and vanilla.
  • Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix in add-ins and then allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Heat skillet to medium-high. Grease pan and pour on 1/4 C batter. Cook until pancakes until bubbling on one side and then flip and finish cooking on the other side.

As I always do with pancakes, I finished it all off with a little maple syrup and called it a rule-broken success.

The only problem was that I didn’t use up all my pineapple juice. So, I decided to solve one problem by creating another problem: I traded extra pineapple juice for an extra whole cake.

Virgin Piña Colada Cake



  • 1.5 C whole-wheat flour
  • 1.5 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 C oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 2 C pineapple juice


  • 1.5 C powdered sugar
  • 3 T vegan butter (alternatively, butter)
  • 2 T soy milk, more as needed (alternatively, skim milk)
  • 1 t coconut extract
  • 1 t vanilla extract



  • In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  • Build a well in the middle and add in applesauce, vanilla, vinegar and pineapple juice. Mix everything together.
  • Thoroughly grease and then flour a 9×11 in. cake pan. Evenly pour in batter and bake for 45 minutes in 350 degree oven, or until firm to touch.
  • Remove and allow to slightly cool and then flip out onto wax paper.


  • Mix everything together in medium-sized bowl until fully combined and smooth.
  • Once cake is flipped onto wax paper, spoon frosting onto center of cake and allow to drizzle down. Then, carefully place wax paper-bottomed cake back into the cake pan. This allow the glaze to be absorbed and makes the whole cake extra moist.
  • Spread unsweetened, shredded coconut on cookie sheet and toast in 300 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes, or until browned.

In both these case, I ventured into the unknown by swapping milk and water for pineapple juice. Yes, this was a little scary. And, yes the risk was a little bit higher.

But, the reward was equally great… And, I think that my fellow copy editors who helped consume the cake agreed.

Questions: Are you a rule breaker? How do you break the rules?



8 responses to “Breaking the rules

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