Ever since my sister and brother in law shifted to a city closer to ours, we have had the fortune of meeting them quite frequently. But, to have my brother in law at our place on his birthday was truly special and I had to create something remarkable for him on this day.
When I discussed with my sister about the cake she immediately said "he loves Pineapple Cake!” Well I knew that it was her favourite but to discover that it was his too meant that my plans of making a chocolate cake with strawberries (which are in season here) went out of the window.
Since making a wet cake with icing is labour and time intensive, with a now almost two year old around, I had shied away from this favourite activity for quite some time now. When I did make such cakes before I used a commercially available soy cream which was fast to whip and easy to decorate but left a slight bitter after taste. Since good cream that whips like a dream is not easily available here I was constantly looking for a method to make real old fashioned whipped cream icing until I discovered Rose Levy Beranbaums method in the Cake Bible through Deeba. I really had a great time making this cake after a long time and the sense of satisfaction I derived was amazing!
We had a cake cutting ceremony for the birthday boy and all of us relished the delicate flavours of this wonderful cake. The cake is soft and moist, soaked with pineapple juice and the cream and pineapple pieces come together with the cake to create an incredible taste sensation.
This cake has subtle flavours and if you love pineapple you will adore this cake and I suspect that if you don’t like pineapple you might still like it. It is that exquisite! One of the best compliments I received for this cake was from a visiting Swiss friend who said that one can't detect the absence of eggs in this cake. Another case in point that you don't necessarily need eggs to create a soft and moist cake with good texture.
Today also happens to be a special day in my life as my parents celebrate their wedding anniversary. Thirty three years of being married has seen them through happiness, distress, struggles, achievements, celebrations and sorrow together. They complement each other so well, give each other space and share an understanding that surpasses all superficiality. I want to dedicate this cake to the two most wonderful people in my life, my parents, my appa and amma and share a slice with them and make a toast to this glorious day in their (our) lives.
Eggless Pineapple Cream Cake Recipe
Although by principle, I don’t use canned and tinned stuff, this is one of those recipes where I suggest using tinned pineapples. It is not only easy but also looks pretty. If using fresh pineapple you need to stew them in sugar syrup or else the pineapple turns bitter.
For the Sponge:
250 gm (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
2 tbsp vanilla custard powder or cornflour (cornstarch)
4 tbsp icing sugar (confectioners sugar or fine sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda/ sodium bicarbonate
1 tin/400gm sweetened condensed milk
100 gm (1/2 cup) butter
175 ml (3/4 cup) water/milk
2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
Grease and line the bottom of an 8” square or 9” round cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment/butter paper.
In a mixing bowl, assemble the flour, custard powder or cornstarch, icing sugar, baking powder and baking soda, mix with a spoon and sieve once to make the mixture uniform.
Preheat the oven at about 150 degrees centigrade.
Put in the condensed milk, butter, vanilla extract and water or milk into the mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients. Beat with an electric hand mixer, whisk or spoon until the mixture comes together and there are no lumps. This shouldn’t take more than 2 to 3 minutes with an electric hand mixer/beater. Be careful not to over beat the mixture as this could result into a hard cake.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for an hour at 150 degree centigrade.
The cake is done when a knife or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Invert the cake on a cooling rack, cool and use as required.
For the Cream Icing:
800gms (3 1/4 cups) low fat cream (I used 25% Cream), chilled
175 gm (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp powdered sugar
Refrigerate the bowl and beater for 15 minutes.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and 3/4 cup cream, stirring all the while until the butter melts completely. Transfer to a heatproof cup or bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
Beat the remaining cream with sugar until you get soft peaks. Now begin adding the butter in a gradual stream, beating constantly on low speed, until stiff peaks are formed.
Because it was hot and humid I could not get really stiff peaks.
The next time I plan to use 600 ml cream, keeping the other ingredients the same to get a stiffer consistency.
250 ml (1 cup) or more pineapple juice
Pineapple slices from 1 tin
Assemble the cake:
Once the sponge cake has cooled, carefully slice it into two halves. Keep the bottom half on the serving plate and sprinkle with pineapple juice until the entire cake is soaked with it. Spread a little cream over the cake and top with finely cut pieces of pineapple.
Carefully place the other sponge over the prepared cake and sprinkle again with the pineapple juice until the top half is soaked with it.
Spread the cream over the sides and top of the cake with a palette knife and decoratively arrange some pineapple rings over the cake.
Chill for 3 to 4 hours before you serve.
Makes one 9” round cake