Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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 Happy Mothers Day everybody!! When I asked my mum what kind of cake she wanted today, she requested an upside down pineapple cake. I’d never even heard of an upside down pineapple cake! It sounded kind of…gross. Like something you would eat in the 70s with spray cream on top and a glace cherry. In fact I bet that’s what she used to do, back in the old days

Well, this and her birthday is the one time of the year I’m not going to question her cake choices, so a pineapple cake was made. I didn’t even try to make it healthy! I promise! No wholemeal flour here. 

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I couldn’t resist adding some fresh lime zest and juice. We have an entire box of limes, I’m talking hundreds of limes in our house right now. The lime just perks the pineapple up a little bit. Pineapple can be very sweet so a bit of sour worked really well. 

I kind of liked how the cake came out looking today. When I was making it I wasn’t even going to post about it, because I was picturing a lumpy yellow blob coming out of the oven. (That wasn’t an innuendo…) But it looks kind of ‘rustic’ and old school. I’m lazy so instead of making the caramel I just poured a little pineapple juice from the can and a few dots of butter on to the bottom of the pan, and it worked fine if you want to do it that way!

Happy Mothers Day Mum! You’re the best and I love you 🙂 

One Year Ago: Coconut Muffins with Dark Chocolate Glaze

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 Upside Down Pineapple Cake: Adapted from Ready for Dessert 

1 large can pineapple slices (keep the juice!)

30g butter 

30g sugar

juice and zest of 1 lime

210g (1 + 3/4 cups) plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

110g (3.8 ounces) butter, unsalted

150g white sugar 

2 large eggs, at room temperature

125ml (1/2 cup) milk, at room temperature

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Preheat the oven to 180C (355F) and line a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin with baking paper. In a small saucepan, melt the 30g butter, sugar, 3 tablespoons of the pineapple juice and lime juice, and stir to make a sauce. Pour in the bottom of the tin. Cut slices of pineapple and arrange over the caramel layer so that the whole surface is covered. 

Sift the flour and salt. Beat the 110g butter, lime zest and 150g sugar until creamy, and then slowly beat in each egg. Stir in half the milk and sifted flour, then the other half. Stir just to combine and spoon over the pineapple. Smooth with a spatula and bake for about 3-40 minutes, until the cake is golden and a skewer comes out clean. 

Only leave the cake to cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully flip out on to a plate. Serve warm 🙂 

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Tropical Fruits and Coconut Granola Bars (vegan and gluten free!)

Vegan, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Sugar Free

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 At the end of my two month holiday a few months ago, for the first time in my whole trip I had two days by myself. I left my sister and friend at a bus stop in Sukhotai, Thailand and began the seven hour journey back to Bangkok on my own. I shed a little tear watching my friends getting smaller through the window, knowing I wouldn’t see them for a whole month. It’s strange spending every waking minute with someone for so long, and then suddenly not at all. 

By the time I arrived in Bangkok the sun was setting. By the time I got to my hotel and checked in, it was well and truly dark. I had told myself I would get my last street food meal for dinner that night, but I confess I got a veggie subway and a bag of fresh fruit instead. Sitting in my hotel room eating mango slices, watching reruns of The Texas Bachelorette, I felt homesick for the first time. I missed my dog, I missed my family and the friends who I hadn’t seen in weeks. But mainly I just missed talking to people I knew. 

In the airport (which I accidentally arrived at 6 hours before my flight…curse you 24 hour time!) I spent all my remaining money on presents for my family, including two huge bags of dried fruit for my Step Dad. My plans were to make him some tropical granola bars as soon as I got home, because he love granola bars. 

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 My grand plans got sidetracked by a number of other exciting dishes that had to come first, and somehow three months passed before I could get around to it! Better late than never right?

These granola bars are packed full of tropical flavours and they’re the best I’ve ever made, hands down! I have so many issues with granola bars. I hate when they crumble. I HATE IT. I hate when they’re overly sweet or so chewy your teeth almost fall out. Granola bars aren’t something I wanted to settle with, they had to be juuust right. 

It’s hard to get a balance between making a super healthy bar, which is so easy considering how much goodness you can pack in, as well as making them taste as good as a cafe-bought bar. These bars have found a happy compromise. They are rich from a maple syrup and coconut butter caramel, but also bursting with superfoods like goji, sunflower seeds, coconut and mango. 

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 I’m sad that the granola bars were oh so good, but the photos came out oh so bad! Sometimes I just can’t even deal with my photos. I mean, please. There needs to be an intervention. Someone needs to come and sit me down and explain everything there ever is to know about anything to do with my camera because my brain has turned to mush after all the uni work I did this week and I can’t improve by myself. I JUST CAN’T. 

You’re just going to have to trust me with this one. It’s such a great recipe, I know I’ll be using it from now on when the need for granola bars arises. You don’t have to take it down the tropical road if you don’t want to, that’s just an idea I had while I was waiting in Bangkok airport for my lonely flight home. 

I also ate four scoops of banana and chocolate ice cream while I was there, but that’s another story. 

If you try adding different flavours, let me know how it goes! And happy May! 

One Year Ago: Chocolate and Caramel Banana Muffins

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Tropical Granola Bars: Adapted from Ottolenghi

45g each hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and desiccated coconut

190g rolled oats

30g ground almonds 

50g dried mango

50g dried pineapple

50g dried goji berries

1 ripe banana

 

For the caramel:

75g raw sugar

85g coconut butter, or oil I think would work too

85g maple syrup (or honey for non-vegan)

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Method:

Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line a 20 x 23cm tin with baking paper. Soak the fruit briefly in water to soften a bit. Cut into small chunks, about the size of the goji berries. Roughly chop up the nuts. Stir together all the ingredients except the caramel and the banana in a large bowl. 

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut butter and syrup and sugar and stir well so that everything is combined. Cook for a minute, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well. Mash the banana and stir through the mix. Pour into the lined tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden on top. Allow the bars to cool completely before chopping with a serrated knife. 

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Hummingbird Maple Cake

Sugar and Butter Free

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 My little brother is a strange boy when it comes to food. When he was little whenever there was a food platter, I remember he would be the one reaching for the olives and sun-dried tomatoes, whilst all the other babies ate the jatz biscuits and cheese cubes. When we ate pasta he would refuse plain tomato sauce and cheddar cheese, but absolutely love marinara sauce full of squid and mussels with parmesan flakes. I knew for his twelfth birthday he wouldn’t want a plain chocolate or vanilla cake. That’s not his style. So I decided to try making a Hummingbird Cake, which is probably the coolest cake recipe I’ve ever read. 

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 It’s kind of like a carrot cake in that it has a cream cheese frosting and warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. But instead of carrot it’s filled with bananas and pineapple and sometimes passionfruit. I used this Valli Little recipe from Taste.com, changing things up to make it more my style of cake. Instead of butter there is oil and plain yogurt, and replacing the sugar is dates and maple syrup. I also used half wholemeal flour and changed up the icing to make it a little lighter. The result is a really cool cake! It’s so moist, and so flavoursome, and so cool. And my brother loved it, which is the ultimate test. 

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 Making this cake was actually really easy, although a little time consuming. For some ungodly reason I bought the ‘ringed’ pineapple instead of the ‘crushed’, meaning I had to do it myself. I literally looked at both tins and thought “crushing pineapple sounds fun”. What is wrong with me. The hard part came later though. As many know I am technologically challenged but today took that to all new extremes. To begin with I couldn’t even get the photos off my camera, then whenever I tried to move them from editing into a new folder they shrunk to 79 Ks! And then the editing I’d done all reversed, and then I deleted the folder they were all in, and now I have to put them on my desktop and upload them from Iphoto, so apologies for the complete lack of editing. Technologically. Challenged. Anyway hours of computer-ridden angst aside, in the end there was cake, and it was really good. So you should give it a try. And we should all leave photographing to the professionals. 

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 Hummingbird Maple Cake: Adapted from here

125g (1 cup, 4 ounces) self-raising flour

125g (1 scant cup, 4 ounces) wholemeal flour

60g (1/2 cup) walnuts

1.5 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp nutmeg and ginger

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 bananas, mashed

100g (1/2 cup) dates, seeded and mashed (or blended)

30ml (2 tbsp) maple syrup

1 x 440g (1 pound, 15.5 ounces) tin of crushed pineapple

2 eggs

100ml (1 cup) olive oil

100ml (1 cup) plain yogurt

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 Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a 23cm tin with baking paper and put to one side. Sift the flours and spices in a bowl and set aside. Mix the mashed bananas, pineapple, dates, eggs, oil, yogurt and maple syrup until combined. Sift over the flour and stir together until just combined. Stir in the walnuts. Bake for 40 minutes until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. 

For the icing:

Mix 250g cream cheese with 100ml of runny honey. Either pipe or spread over with a spatula on to the cool cake. Lasts un-iced for 4 days or iced for 1 day. Yum. 

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