This cake is made with fresh pineapple which, gives the cake a deep intense pineapple flavour. You can omit the walnuts if you prefer. Remove all the stems or tough parts of the pineapple pieces and any thorny bits when you prepare the fresh fruit. You only want the juicy bits. You can replace walnuts with pecans as well or not use nay nuts at all. I used an 8 by 10 by 2 inch deep rectangular cake pan. You can use a 9 inch round, 2 inch deep cake pan as well. Pineapples vary in size. What you need is between 550-600 grams of diced prepared fruit.
1 large fresh pineapple (total weight of 1.75 kgs) peeled, cored, all central stem parts removed and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 550- 600 grams of cut fruit)
100 grams brown sugar
100 grams castor sugar
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
130 grams of sifted maida or all purpose refined wheat flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kitchen salt
125 grams butter softened
70 grams of castor or granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoons pineapple or vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lightly grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon (optional)
2 large eggs or 3 smaller ones at room temperature
⅓ cup plain whole milk at room temperature
30 grams of toasted and skinned walnut pieces (optional)
Grease your baking pan lightly with butter
For the pineapple topping: Cook pineapple and brown sugar in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium flame until light golden and soft 12-14 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent burning. Drain out the cooked fruit using a slotted spoon into a sieve placed over a bowl. Let the pineapple drain. Meanwhile cook the liquid in the pan until it slowly begins to thicken and turns golden. Add the drained liquid from the pineapple in the sieve. When the liquid thickens, bubbles and reduces in volume switch off the flame. Whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Pour this thick syrup into your cake pan and spread around as evenly as possible. It’s okay if there are a few empty pockets because the syrup will spread when in the oven, When the pineapple pieces have cooled, scatter them evenly over the syrup until the entire pan is fully covered.
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and prepare the middle rung.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and reserve.
Using a hand or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar at high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla, lime zest and cinnamon and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula. Then add one egg at a time and beat again. Scrape down bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula then beat again. Now lower speed and add half the milk and beat until just incorporated. Add half the flour and beat again. Add remaining milk and flour and beat again until just combined- don’t over beat. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl to ensure that batter is combined. This is a thick batter.
To assemble cake: Using a large spoon, drop thick cake batter over pineapple pieces to cover as much of the area of the cake pan as possible. Then with an offset spatula or the back of your cake spatula spread batter over fruit as evenly as possible to cover it completely. Smack pan against the counter top to ensure the batter has settled properly into the pan and there are no air pockets.
Bake until cake is golden brown about 40 minutes and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the centre of cake. If it comes out clean your cake is ready. Cool 5-7 minutes. Then hold the pan and shake it slightly to loosen the cake. Then place an inverted serving platter that fits your cake pan over it. Invert cake pan and platter together. Slowly remove the cake pan. Serve warm if you like with whipped cream or ice cream. Otherwise cool then cut into pieces and serve. A rum infused whipped cream is fabulous. Tender coconut ice cream too.