I absolutely adore recipes that use ingredients in an innovative way so that nothing gets wasted. Take this pineapple cake for example.
The first step involves poaching fresh pineapple in a vanilla spiked sugar syrup and then adding the pineapple pieces to the cake batter. Most recipes would then tell you to discard the syrup or ‘keep for another use’ which I’m sure most people do not do! But this recipe uses that precious syrup to moisten the cake into a heavenly wet mouthful.
This alone is fantastic but what really got me itching to make this recipe (other than the fact that I had a ripe pineapple begging for it) was this small note that accompanied it: “The pineapple peel can be boiled for 20 minutes or so with some sugar and makes a delightful juice”.
What! What? What! Why have I not thought of, or heard of this before? I weep for all the pineapple skins in my life that have gone straight into the bin. I weep salty tears for them.
Enough crazy talk. Let’s get on with the recipes…
Sorry, just one more thing before we get to the recipes.
I have to say a million thank you’s to Joumana from one of my favourite blogs Taste of Beirut for this fresh pineapple cake recipe. I read her blog every day and chastise myself for not making more of her brilliant Lebanese dishes.
I started with this cake, but am determined to make kibbeh balls, samke harra and mujaddara hamra (all dishes of my childhood) this year!
There is no ‘recipe’ as such. Simply wash the skins, add to a large pot and cover generously with water. Then sprinkle in some caster sugar – as much as you like – then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain and chill before drinking.
Above is the pineapple skins being boiled. Below is the strained juice in a pink bottle in my fridge.
It is so refreshing served with ice cubes and mint leaves! Go on, throw a bit of gin in there if you fancy it.
That’s all for today. Below is the cake recipe. I have adapted the wording a bit from the original, enjoy!
1 pineapple (approximately 1kg, unpeeled weight)
300g granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
100g unsalted butter, melted
Poach the pineapple.
1. Peel and core the pineapple and chop into 2cm chunks. Place into a large pot with 100g of the sugar, the vanilla extract and 2 1/2 cups of cold tap water. Bring to the boil over medium high, then stir until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and allow to cool.
Make the cake batter.
2. Heat the oven to 180C (375F). Place the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand-held electric whisk (or use a Kitchen Aid type device, if only I had one!). Add the remaining 200g of sugar gradually and continue beating until the mixture turns pale yellow and increases in volume.
3. Sift the flour and salt into the egg mixture, folding carefully, then add baking powder and stir. Add the melted butter in a slow stream and mix with a wooden spoon until the butter is fully incorporated.
4. Drain the pineapple from the syrup – reserving the syrup – and add to the cake batter, folding gently to incorporate the pieces thoroughly. Butter a non-stick cake tin (I used a 20cm round tin) and bake for 30 minutes until puffed and golden.
Assemble to serve.
5. Remove from the oven and prick the cake all over with a toothpick. Place the tin onto a plate, just in case the syrup pours over the sides. Pour the syrup over the cake, it will absorb very quickly. Allow it to cool slightly and then serve warm or at room temperature. Leave covered at room temperature for best leftover results (if there’s any left!).