Sustainable Pineapple Cake

Lockdown continues, We’ve been home now for 10 weeks (I stopped counting in days a while ago) and we’ve settled into a routine. On weekdays, I teach (or plan lessons) on weekends I sew and bake.

Oddbox opened up sign-ups recently for new customers. I’ve wanted to try them for a while, and my next-door neighbours recommended them. Each Friday we receive a box of fruit and veg that has been rescued from suppliers for a variety of reasons. Maybe it was surplus, or too small or had been damaged in some way. Each week is slightly different, depending on what Oddbox had to share out.

Last week, amongst the box of onions, potatoes, apricots and asparagus was a pineapple. We didn’t know what to do with it, so it sat there for a bit. This weekend we decided it really needed to be eaten!

So I chose to make pineapple upside-down cake, something I haven’t had since my childhood! I figured that pineapples ring covered in basic sponge cake was probably the way to go. So a sharp knife (and a tub of glace cherries from my birthday) turned a pineapple into this:

Next up was a sponge cake. So I weighed out my eggs (top tip, always base the weight of the fat, sugar and flour off the weight of the eggs!)

I made a 2 egg sponge batter (so 104g of margarine, sugar and self-raising flour). I beat the margarine and sugar in my KitchenAid until it was light in colour and fluffy.

Then added in the eggs and flour and mixed to a smooth batter before pouring over the pineapple rings. Then I baked it in the oven at 180°c until it was golden brown and a cocktail stick came out batter free (about 25mins).

I think it looks pretty good! And I can testify that it is delicious.

Not a bad use for a surplus pineapple!

 

The final batch of cupcakes for my birthday were Apple & Maple Syrup cupcakes. These turned out to be quite popular (I called them Caramel Apple Cupcakes). They are very easy to make and, once again, I managed to make them dairy-free.

Apple & Maple Syrup Cupcakes

Dairy-free apple cupcakes with maple syrup frosting.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake, dairy-free
Servings: 18 people

Ingredients

Cake

  • 125 g Pure Margarine
  • 225 g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 300 g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 120 ml Maple Syrup
  • 4 medium Eggs
  • 180 g Grated Apple about 2 Bramley Apples

Frosting

  • 175 g Pure Margarine
  • 500 g Icing Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Oat Milk

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 175°c
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add an egg, followed by ¼ of the flour and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Repeat until all the egg, flour and cinnamon is mixed in.
  • Mix in the maple syrup
  • Mix in the grated apple.
  • Spoon the mixture into cake cases, I found that it filled 18 cupcake cases, each about ⅔ full.
  • Bake for 20 mins, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool, while you make the frosting.

Frosting

  • Mix the margarine, icing sugar, maple syrup and milk until well combined. It should be quite stiff!
  • Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a swirl of frosting onto the cold cupcake.
  • If you don't have a piping bag then you can spoon the frosting on.

The finished cupcakes were moist and delicious.

It’s my birthday party next Saturday. I have decided to make the coffee cupcakes again, but also to make plain vanilla ones (with coloured icing) and hopefully Cherry Bakewell cupcakes. So watch this space, I’ll let you know how they go!

To continue the birthday theme, I also made coffee cupcakes with coffee buttercream icing. I also wanted to make this dairy-free, but this proved to be more challenging because Pure Margerine is quite watery and so I had to adapt the recipe to make a good consistency buttercream. The boyfriend offered to pipe the icing on and added an extra swirl of coffee.

I think they look quite good!

Dairy-Free Coffee Cupcakes

Coffee cupcakes with coffee buttercream. Completely dairy-free.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: cake, coffee, dairy-free
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: kati10705

Equipment

  • cupcake tin
  • cupcake cases
  • (optional) piping bag and nozzle

Ingredients

Coffee Cupcakes

  • 165 g Pure Margarine
  • 165 g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 150 g Self Raising Flour
  • 3 medium Eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp Oat Milk or another dairy-free milk
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 2 tbsp Instant Coffee Granules

Coffee Buttercream

  • 400 g Icing Sugar
  • 100 g Pure Margarine
  • 3 tbsp Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1 ½ tbsp Boiling Water

Instructions

Coffee Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 160°c (140°c fan oven)
  • Use a pestle and mortar (or rolling pin) to grind the coffee granules to a reasonably fine powder. Put to one side.
  • Cream the margarine and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • Add ⅓ of the egg and a spoon of flour and mix in. Continue adding the egg and flour until it is all mixed in.
  • Add the remaining cupcake ingredients (coffee powder, salt and milk) and mix in.
  • Place cupcake cases into a cupcake tin. Then spoon the mixture into the cases, the cases should be ⅔ full.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 mins. Check the cakes are cooked through with a cake tester (or cocktail stick).
  • Place the cakes on a rack to cool down. Do not ice the cakes when warm! The icing will melt.

Coffee Buttercream

  • Mix the coffee granules and boiling water together to make a very thick coffee paste, it will be quite sticky! Leave to cool.
  • Beat the icing sugar and margarine together until well mixed and fluffy.
  • Add the cooled coffee paste and mix in well.
  • You should have quite a firm buttercream, if not then mix in some more icing sugar.
  • Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes (make sure they are cool). If you want a coffee swirl then add a stripe of the coffee paste into the piping bag before you add the buttercream.

These cupcakes have a lovely strong coffee taste!

Tomorrow is my birthday. I don’t normally take cakes into work to celebrate, but as it’s my 40th birthday I thought I would this year. I really like polenta cake, but I find the lemon ones a bit too zingy, so I decided to make an orange one instead. I also need it to be dairy-free, so I substitute the butter for Pure Dairy-Free Baking Spread. It does make very good cakes!

Orange Polenta Cake (Dairy-Free)

Moist delicious polenta cake, but orange instead of the usual lemon.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: cake, orange, polenta
Servings: 16 slices
Author: kati10705

Equipment

  • 23cm Springform Cake Tin

Ingredients

  • 200 g Margarine Dairy-Free
  • 200 g Caster Sugar
  • 200 g Ground Almonds
  • 100 g Fine Polenta or Cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 3 Oranges Zest and Juice
  • 130 g Icing Sugar

Instructions

  • Line the base of the cake tin and grease the sides.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (Gas Mark 4, 350°f)
  • Beat the margarine and sugar together, either in a free-standing mixer or by hand, until light and fluffy.
  • Mix the ground almonds, polenta and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  • Add some of the almond mixture and beat into the margarine/sugar mixture, followed by beating in 1 egg. Continue alternating until the eggs and almond mixture are all mixed in.
  • Finally, beat in the orange zest.
  • Put the mixture into the greased cake tin and level and best as possible.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes. The cake may still seem a little wobbly, but a cocktail stick should come out clean.
  • Leave the cake in the tin, while you make the syrup.
  • Mix the orange juice and icing sugar in a small pan. Bring to a boil (the sugar should be completely dissolved.
  • Use a cocktail stick to make several small holes all over the cake. Spoon over the orange syrup Spread the syrup around, so it sinks into the cake.
  • Leave the cake to completely cool in the tin. Then take out and serve.

 

The finished cake is moist and delicious, and not as harsh as lemon cake can be.

About a month ago I made a Delia Christmas cake (yes, I know, I am obsessed with Delia’s Christmas recipes – but they just work!). If you want to make your own next year, then you can see her recipe here. I need my house to be dairy-free (due to an allergic boyfriend and an intolerant child) so I replace the butter with Pure Dairy Free Spread, or as my mother would say “marg”.

Once a week since making it, I have been feeding the cake with brandy. This involves spooning copious amount of brandy over the top of the cake and let it soak through some carefully placed holes (or in my case, spaces where I stabbed the cake with a knife).

But today was the day to decorate it. I have a tiny kitchen and a limited range of kitchen equipment. So my decorating methods are a little unorthodox. First I gathered my equipment.

  • A cake board (I got mine from Waitrose and it came with a ribbon to go round the cake)
  • Good quality apricot jam, with a microwavable bowl and something to spread it with.
  • Ready rolled icing and marzipan (my kitchen counter has limited space, and from previous experience trying to roll out my own is usually a bit of a disaster).
  • A star-shaped cutter.
  • And new for this year, some gold edible dusting powder (I got mine from Hobbycraft).

Now to start icing. After having placed the cake on the cake board, microwave a decent amount of jam for about 10 seconds (to warm it up so it spreads more easily). Try to avoid any chunks of actual apricot! Then carefully coat the cake in a thin layer of jam. This smooths out the surface a bit and helps the marzipan stick.

Next, you need to extract the marzipan from all the packaging – keep the plastic sheet for later. It’s quite useful. Drape the marzipan over the cake, trying to get it centred. Then using your hand smooth the marzipan over the edge and around the sides. My marzipan was quite sticky, so I wet my hand with cold water, so it slid round better.

Trim away the excess with a sharp knife. I like to run a table knife around the bottom because it smooths out any rough bits.

Now repeat with the icing, no need for jam this time (as the marzipan is quite sticky!). Don’t wet your hand this time, or you will have a sticky icing disaster. Trim and smooth as before. Keep the leftover bits of icing, as you will need them.

Then I added the fabulous ribbon that came with the base. I was very impressed that it had food-safe sticky tape on, so I could stick it on the cake! If you don’t have a fancy ribbon, then you can just stick extra stars round the edge.

Squish the leftover icing into a ball and flatten. Put it onto the plastic sheet the icing came in (see I told you it would useful later), fold the plastic sheet over and roll the icing flat. I used a rolling pin, but a wine bottle works just as well.

Using a star cutter, cut out 6 stars (or more if you want to overlap them).

I used my finger to rub some of the gold powder into the stars, but this isn’t essential! Then place the stars onto the top of the cake.

Et voila! Elegant Christmas cake, with hardly any equipment.

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