Thursday, 19 January 2012

Pineapple and mango upside-down cake - sunshine on a plate!

Do not adjust your display settings. I thought I'd bring you a little edible sunshine in Spring! It this doesn't cheer you up after the freezing, wet days that we've had, I don't know what will! When you think of seasonal food at this time of year, your thoughts might fall to comforting root vegetables but tropical fruits are in their prime right now. Admitedly, they're not grown in the UK so there are a lot of food miles involved but if you're going to buy them, you might as well have them when they are at their best!

Pineapples, mangoes and passionfruits are all in season so I decided to combine them in one tasty cake for a fund-raising event at work. I adore pineapple upside-down cake so I thought that I would go one better and marry all of these exotic beauties together with a hint of lime in this famous retro dish. Its incredibly easy but the results are fantastic plus my colleagues mentioned that it tasted virtuous because each bite was filled with fruit. I'll cast no illusions - this isn't a healthy cake but I'm glad that it felt good to eat.

I'd also like to highlight the fantastic (even if I do say so myself) glaze that gives the cake it's glossy day-glow yellow tone. This stuff is so so morish; it's unreal! It's well worth the faff of sieving the passionfruits - my top tip is to microwave the fruit for less than a minute before halving them as it helps to encourage the pulp to slide out. If I'd have been making this cake for me, I would have been tempted to keep the pips in but as it happened, I stirred them into yoghurt for pudding as they have a lot of flavour. I'm tempted to make the glaze to top cheesecakes or to drizzle on pannacota in future.

Pineapple and mango upside-down cake with lime and passionfruit glaze
Makes 10 servings

For the topping (or should that be... bottoming...?)
1 mango
1 227g can of pineapple (packed in juice) or ¼ fresh pineapple
60g butter, softened
60g golden caster sugar

For the cake
150g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
150g flour
3 eggs
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 lime
3 passionfruits

 - Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 20cm by 20cm square deep baking tin (or a 25cm round baking tin) with greaseproof
 - Start with (what will eventually be) the topping by creaming the butter and sugar together then smearing into the bottom of the pan. Skin the mango and drain the pineapple (retaining the juice for later) then arrange by pressing the pieces into the butter-sugar mix. Make a pretty pattern or go geometric... the choice is yours!
 - Next make the sponge base by creaming the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the zest of the lime and the vanilla extract.
 - Add the eggs one by one, beating well between each addition then fold in the flour and baking powder.
 - Spoon the cake batter over the fruit and gently shake the tin from side to side to encourage the mixture to get between the fruit pieces.
 - Bake for 35 minutes or until the sponge is firm and a knife/skewer comes out clean.
 - Meanwhile, pierce the passionfruits and microwave them for 30 seconds or until they are warmed through. Halve and scrape out the pulp then sieve out the seeds (you don't have to do this if you don't want to but it depends if you want the seeds to pepper your cakes caramel topping or not). Press the pulp through a non-metalic sieve with a spoon or similar for the best results.
 - Simmer the passionfruit pulp with the reserved pineapple juice and the juice from the lime until it has halved and become thick and sticky.
 - When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and set aside for five minutes before turning out onto a plate. Drizzle or brush with the glaze and ideally serve warm with coconut icecream.

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