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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pineapple Coconut Cake for One

I bought a whole pineapple. At first, I just ate slices of it. Then I put it into stir-fry. Now it’s time for something different. This cake makes you wait for it, but oh! It’s worth it!
For the Cake:
2 teaspoons flax seed meal
1 TBLSP water
¼ cup shredded coconut
5 TBLSP non-dairy milk, divided (I like almond, but coconut would be great)
5 TBLSP chopped pineapple (I used fresh, but canned—crushed—is fine)
¾ cup all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
3 TBLSP vegan butter
5 TBLSP granulated sugar
Slosh of vanilla
For the Icing:
3 TBLSP vegan butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond milk
1 cup flaked coconut
TBLSP chopped pineapple for decoration

Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 5-inch cake pan or two ramekins. I used two single-serving casserole dishes to get wider and flatter cakes.
  1. In a small bowl (like a cereal bowl—you’ll be adding things to this mixture), combine the flax seed meal and water. It will become a nice gloppy mess while you do other things.
  2. Put the ¼ cup of coconut into a mesh strainer and dangle the darlings over a bowl.
  3. Bring ¼ cup of the milk (4 TBLSP) to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot milk over the shredded coconut, catching the liquid in the bowl below. Plop the pineapple on top of the coconut and let its juice drain through too. You might want to squish things around a bit to get the most juice.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Now it’s time to use your flax seed glop. Add the remaining TBLSP of milk to the glop and give it a stir. Now add in the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Cream all of this mess together until it’s a gloppy but thin mixture and the butter has integrated, for the most part. If you’re doing this by hand, it won’t be completely smooth, and if you use a mixer, the flax glop will break down a bit if you keep going until it’s smooth. <shrugs> You choose whether you want chunks of buttery goodness or a softer and more delicate cake.
  6. Add the coconut milk and pineapple juice that you collected to the flour mixture and toss in the butter and flax seed mixture too. Blend until well combined. (You can beat this enthusiastically to get out a few more of the butter lumps, too.) Add in the coconut and pineapple that you’d drained earlier, and mix until just incorporated. Pour evenly into the two prepared cake pans.  
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack (about 45 minutes if the day isn’t too warm), and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before frosting. Overnight is fine too. I leave ‘em in the pans until the refrigeration period is over because they’re sturdier then and less likely to crumble when you remove ‘em to the decorating plate.

Make the Icing:
  1. Cream the butter in a small bowl. Keep going until it starts to seem a bit fluffy. Don’t shirk. This is an important step.
  2. Add the powdered sugar two TBLSPs at a time, blending until the sugar is well-integrated.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and the soymilk, stirring with considerable enthusiasm until the frosting is smooth, fluffy, and spreadable.
  4. The frosting may need a few minutes to cool down so it doesn’t slide off your cake. You might even put it into the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so.

Festoon the Cake:
  1. Put the cake on a pedestal (I overturn a mug and put a serving plate on top) so you can get a good angle for decorating the cake.
  2. Center the bottom layer on the plate and then top with frosting. You don’t need to go quite to the edges as the weight of the other cake will push the frosting out a bit. Place the second layer on top and then frost the top and sides of the whole shebang. You don’t have to be tidy because the next step will cover up any crimes.
  3. Sprinkle the flaked coconut (from the Icing ingredient list) on top of the frosting and press it into the sides of the cake. Make a pretty design or just plop the remaining pineapple on top of the cake.
  4. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow the frosting to set.

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