A childhood favourite: Pineapple cake with chocolate sauce

Light sponge with creamy pineapple filling and covered in chocolate sauce

Although pineapple is super sweet, it is surprisingly versatile. I love a searingly hot pineapple, coriander and chilli salsa with grilled fish, or stuffed into Mexican tortillas. Pineapple also pairs brilliantly with tropical flavours such as coconut, lime and passion fruit. Slices of pineapple sprinkled with mint which has been bashed in a pestle and mortar with sugar and lime zest is a perfect way to end a rich, spicy meal.

Today, however, I’m eschewing all those globe-trotting flavours and going back to my childhood. When I was little, my dad would regularly do the weekly food shop. Whichever of us children accompanied him to the shop got to choose the cake he would buy for tea that weekend. My siblings would groan in unison as each week we arrived back with the same cake, my favourite chocolate covered pineapple log.

This is my version of that childhood favourite, with layers of light sponge, moistened with pineapple juice, a light creamy pineapple filling and finished with more whipped cream and a generous covering of chocolate sauce.

Tinned pineapple works perfectly here, and not just for nostalgic reasons. Pineapples contain an enzyme which can cause dairy products to separate and can stop gelatine-based mixtures from setting. If the fruit has been cooked, that enzyme is neutralised, so the canning process means the fruit is more versatile for baking. The canned fruit adds a fruity freshness and the juice is also used for soaking the sponge.

It is time to say that this is my final baking column here, as I will be spending more time teaching my online cooking classes. I have adored sharing my recipes over the past three years. It has been a wonderful experience.

PINEAPPLE CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

Serves eight
Ingredients
250g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g butter, softened to room temperature
250g caster sugar
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:
100ml cream, whipped
400g tinned pineapple (drained, but reserve juices from tin)
60ml pineapple juice (or syrup), from tin
Zest and juice of 1 lime
60g sugar
1 tsp liquid glucose (from baking supplies shelves in supermarkets)
100g white chocolate, chopped
60g butter, cubed, at room temperature

For the chocolate topping:
100g dark chocolate, chopped
50ml cream
20g butter

Method
1
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius, fan. Grease and line a 20cm high-sided cake tin.

2 For the sponge: Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter (ensure it has been softened to room temperature), caster sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Using an electric whisk, beat together all the ingredients until combined and smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level the top with a spatula.

3 Bake on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for approximately 40 minutes until well risen, and until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove from the tin, peel away the lining and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

4 For the pineapple cream filling: In a small saucepan, heat 60ml tinned pineapple juice (or syrup), lime juice, caster sugar and glucose together. Pour the hot liquid over the white chocolate chips and stir well. Whisk in the butter to a smooth, creamy consistency. Fold in the lime zest.

5 To assemble the cake: Once the cake is cool, slice through the middle to give two halves. Drizzle five tablespoons of reserved pineapple juices from the tin, evenly over the surface of each sponge layer. Spread pineapple cream over one half of the cake, followed by a layer of the whipped cream. Scatter on about 100g, or to taste, of the the pineapple pieces (patted dry of excess juice), before covering with the second sponge.

6 For the chocolate topping: Place the chocolate, cream and butter in a small saucepan. Melt over a gentle heat, and stir until smooth. Spread the chocolate sauce over the top of the cake. Once the chocolate has set, before serving, garnish with more pineapple pieces.

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