Friday, July 3, 2015

Pineapple Cake

It's Independence Day weekend, y'all! I love July 4th, not only for giving me a day off of work (my office is off today and we have a three day weekend because we rock) but also because I love what it represents. In celebration of this holiday, let's just ignore the unsavory nature of a bunch of randos coming to America and basically stealing land from the v. kindly people already living here and concentrate on the fact that oppressed people escaped from an unkindly king and declared their independence. It's a pretty beautiful sentiment, right? Fast forward a couple hundred years and it's basically become a day devoted to barbecuing, day drinking, and donning anything remotely patriotic, even if it's just an old 'I voted' sticker you found in your wallet.

In the spirit of Independence Day, I will not be sharing anything barbecue-y, boozy, or a cloyingly sweet dessert covered in berries swirled in a patriotic scheme. Instead, I'm going to share whatever the heck I want, and in this case, it's a fluffy pineapple cake. To be fair, it is pretty appropriate for the holiday because it's super summery (hello, pineapple) and incredibly easy to whip up, which means you can slap one together to bring to that impromptu get-together you want to host tomorrow afternoon.
Ingredients [yields one 8" x 8" square or 9" round]:
box cake mix (yellow or white)
20 oz. can crushed pineapple (with the juice)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
+ butter for greasing the pan
+ whipped cream
+ toasted coconut flakes

This is a recipe that only requires one bowl and you take a lot of help from the store (with the boxed mix) so it's awesome for last minute baking.

Start by dumping the crushed pineapple into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice (which just adds a bit of freshness and acidity to make the pineapple taste fresher and less like canned fruit), salt, vanilla, egg, and buttermilk and whisk it all together.
Dump in the boxed cake mix and give it a good beating until the batter comes together. The batter will look lumpier than usual, thanks to the pineapple, which is fine. Overmixing is bad so err on the side of undermixed.
Grease up your pan of choice - I went for a square - and pour in the batter in. The batter will be quite thick so it may require some smoothing with a spatula.
Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes or until lightly golden, springy, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once the cake has cooled slightly, turn it out and then leave to cool completely.
Plop the cake onto a platter and then frost generously with whipped cream and sprinkle on some toasted coconut flakes.
This cake is incredibly moist and fluffy. The bits of pineapple are super satisfying and the lightness of the whipped cream complements the cake and the crunchy coconut bits add a lovely textural contrast. It's a delicious summertime dessert and to be honest, I love this cake for breakfast too.
Here's the recipe page:

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