Tropical Cakes

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pineapples in winter?? I know I was surprised too, my natural instinct being to bypass them at the grocer and this I did for a period until recently when their sweet perfume caught me off guard and voila a pineapple came home with me. And yes they are to be enjoyed in winter too. Combined with a stock of bananas from my cousin's tree it seemed an opportune time to make this cake. You could say it's a close relative of the hummingbird cake from the United States, the addition of coconut sets it apart. I've been making this cake for a good while now and it's the only cake my "I don't like cake" husband raves about and I agree with him. It disappears in a day it's that popular, mostly because the man devours more than his fair share. My approach to cakes is generally a little rustic meaning I don't bother with frostings because vegan toppings take a lot of time to make and the hero is the unadorned cake right? So you could as in the case here layer the bottom of the baking tin with pineapple rings for the pineapple upside-down cake look. And serve with ice-cream, vegan or otherwise.

It's not that random that I'm making this cake, there has been a celebratory tone in the air for the past three weeks, ever since I received my Swedish permanent residency. I didn't think it would happen so quickly, it was granted on the very same day as the interview. "Unheard of..." in his tenure commented the Swedish Visa Officer at the Embassy. The road to Sweden is now wide open, ahhh the possibilities. So yes I'm pretty excited, who would of thought someone from the tropical islands of Fiji would someday venture to the cold north of Europe, to Sweden. I'm guessing the only pineapples I will see in Stockholm are from Africa!

Tropical Cakes
If you make this as one whole cake, adjust the baking time up to about 1 hour. And if you aren't fussed about the pineapple on the bottom just chop it into small pieces, should be a half cup and fold it through the batter before you pour into the tin.

4 slices of pineapple, cut in half with the tough centres removed
1 tsp coconut sugar
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 medium sized ripe bananas
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup macadamia nut oil (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup coconut milk (plus extra 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius/345 fahrenheit.

Line 4 good size ceramic ramekins (each serves up to 2 people) with baking parchment. Sprinkle the coconut sugar evenly amongst the ramekins and carefully place 2 cut halves of the pineapple on the sugar, trim as necessary to fit. Set aside.

Whisk together the spelt flour, almond meal, coconut, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. In a food processor add the peeled bananas, maple syrup, macadamia nut oil, 1/4 cup coconut milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Blend to a uniform consistency and add to the dry ingredients. Combine until you have a nice thick batter, if it's too thick and unworkable add up to 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Divide amongst the 4 ramekins and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the centre. Leave to cool before inverting on wire rack.