I missed my blog! As much as I loved being a beach bum in Sri Lanka last month, it is good to be back 🙂 The holiday hangover is finally going down, thank God!
If you’re following my Facebook page, you’ll know I had a bit of a blondie-disaster the other day. I thought running out of butter couldn’t do too much harm. So wrong. And that’s why the blog was silent last week. But not anymore.
Summer is here and how. Mumbai’s getting swelteringly hot, even ceiling fans seem to be faltering in the face of it. So, to make the best of it, we should embrace the one and only good thing about Indian summers. Tropical fruits! My favourites are mangoes and pineapples. And that’s what you’re going to be seeing over the next few posts.
This gooey, sticky, caramel-y, moist and bursting with pineapple flavour cake gave me a few panic-stricken moments, I’ll explain why in just a bit. But looks like the tropics were on my side after all 🙂
The recipe for this cake is adapted from here. My favourite blog for basically foolproof recipes 🙂 Here’s a few things I did differently:
1. Reduced the brown sugar in the topping because I used a fresh pineapple which was pretty sweet as is.
2. Used only brown sugar in the cake batter and not white, because it feels like Indian sugars are sweeter than their Western counterparts and I’ve landed up with some too-sweet cakes in the past.
3. Used barley flour instead of regular flour, for a softer, more wholesome cake.
4. Unfortunately omitted the cherries because I couldn’t find any 🙁
And here’s why I had those panic-stricken moments:
1. The topping caramelised and remained a dark brown inspite of reducing the sugar and I realised only later that the cherries would have helped add a tinge of colour too.
2. Using only brown sugar in the cake batter meant I also would up with a darker cake than the original recipe had. Not in itself a bad thing, but I spent a long time just staring at the cake willing it to change colour 🙂 The barley flour also contributed to the dark brown shade of the cake: any wholegrain flour is darker than refined, regular flour. My friend told me not to worry and called it the ‘Indian’ version of the cake: tanned and wheatish 🙂
3. I took a chance and experimented with barley flour but in an already fragile cake (you have to turn it over….my heart literally turned over while doing this), using a flour that doesn’t lend itself to structure was possibly not the smartest move. Luckily I could slice it without too much trouble but I’d highly recommend regular flour.
4. I got an already peeled pineapple from Nature’s Basket but it the core hadn’t been removed and I realised at the end that slicing the cake would have been simpler if I didn’t have a core to slice through for each piece of pineapple. If you’re using fresh pineapple, run a sharp knife around the center of each piece and cut out the core. It’s edible, but doesn’t cut easily.
5. The caramel sauce was gooier on one side than the other and I never figured out why! I also realised baking with fruits leaves moist patches in cakes and muffins, but that doesn’t do any harm.
6. I used a pan that was just the right height for the cake so when I covered it with foil like the recipe instructed, the top stuck to the foil and I had some not-so-pretty patches. All I can say is, thank God this cake is upside down!
Ok, I’m done with my cake thesis. In spite of all of the above, I took a bite and realised the cake tasted exactly the way I hoped it would. The barley made it softer than I thought it would. The gooey caramel adds oodles of flavour to the pineapple and it still remains a light and fluffy cake. All’s well that ends well, right?
Do make this cake. It’s worth the effort 🙂
What you’ll need:
For the topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter, salted or unsalted
5 to 6 slices of pineapple, for a 9″ inch pie dish or round baking pan
For the cake
1 and 2/3 cup regular flour (barley flour if you’re feeling brave)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1/2 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup pineapple juice (I pulped 3 pineapple slices in the grinder and then strained the pulp. If you’re using packaged juice, avoid an already sweetened one, or use less sugar in the batter)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
What to do:
1. Pour the melted butter into the baking dish. Add the sugar and spread evenly. Place the pineapple slices on this mixture making sure there are no overlaps. Set aside.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Sift this mixture if using regular flour. Preheat the oven to 175 C.
3. In a separate bowl, add the 1/2 cup melted butter and sugar and stir well. Add the egg and vanilla and stir again.
4. Pour in the yoghurt, milk and pineapple juice and stir well till combined.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two lots, and mix till you have a smooth batter.
6. Pour this batter on top of the pineapple slices and spread it evenly all over. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, till a toothpick comes out clean. You should ideally cover the top with aluminium foil halfway through to avoid excessive browning but if like me, you use a dish that’s not too high, this could spell trouble. I found the crust was browned, but the rest was ok even without the foil.
7. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes, loosen the sides of the cake with a spatula, place a large serving platter on the dish and upturn it, and shake it slightly to release the cake. Some damage control might be needed if you’ve used a softer flour, like barley.
Let is cool completely before slicing and serving 🙂