Pineapple and coconut layer cake

Back in May I was looped into the #lockdowncakecollab on Instagram with a few avid bakers from across the UK to create a cake that reflected a personal achievement in lockdown.

The past few months have been tough but the silver lining is that many of us have managed to take things a bit slower and take time for ourselves. Whether it be getting through that ever-growing DIY list, fitness goals, self-care or learning something new – I’m sure everyone has achieved something whilst living within restrictions.

Where I’ve always dabbled in a spot of baking, I’m no means a pro baker and used the time in lockdown to push myself out of my comfort zone to learn new baking skills. And the #lockdowncakecollab was the perfect opportunity.

I never do anything in halves so I opted for a pineapple layer cake with coconut frosting and a pineapple topper just to up the quirky levels. And after successfully managing to pull this one off, I could say my achievement of lockdown was baking a layer cake without losing the rag and chucking it in the bin (imagine that one on the CV).

The combination of pineapple and coconut married with fluffy sponge makes this a dreamy eat which fully rewards the time spent creating. Give yourself time and have faith, all will come together.

What you need:

For the Pineapple filling:

  • 1 pineapple chopped into chunks (keep the pineapple top if you want to decorate like mine)
  • 200ml water
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 6 tbsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

For the sponges:

  • 235g butter
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 80g soft brown sugar
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp milk

For the buttercream and decoration:

  • 280g icing sugar
  • 140g unsalted butter (chilled)
  • 30g desiccated coconut (a.k.a cocount shavings)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk

How to make:

Starting with the pineapple filling

  1. Add the sugar, corn flour, salt and water to a bowl and mix with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Add the pineapple to a medium pan and place over a medium heat, allowing the pineapple to soften. After ten minutes the pineapple should lose its structure and create a mooshy (the official baking term I believe) consistency.
  3. Add the corn flour mix to the pan and combine over the heat, stirring continuously while the mixture is brought to the boil. After 5 to 10 minutes the mixture should have thickened and have a glaze to it.
  4. Once the glaze appears, remove from the heat and mix in the butter and lemon juice. Set to one side to cool.

Now the sponge

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c fan or gas mark 6 and grease and line three 20cm sandwich tins.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the egg intermittently and add the vanilla.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt into the mix and gently stir to combine.
  5. Evenly separate the mixture over the three sandwich tins, shake gently to even out the mixture and place all tins on the top shelf of the oven.
  6. Cook for 18 minutes until the tops are golden. Check that the cakes are fully cooked by placing a skewer though the centre of each cake and ensure that the skewer removes clean.
  7. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  8. The cakes will rise high and rounded in the centre so once cooled, slice off the tops to flatten the tops evenly.
  9. Wrap separately in cling film and place in the freezer for an hour. This will make the cake easier to work with in the icing stage and stop cake crumbs breaking away into the icing.

Then the buttercream…

  • Add the chilled butter (make sure it’s firm and not too soft), icing sugar, extract and milk into a bowl and mix together with an electric mix. The mix will go crumbly at first but keep at it and it will create a smooth consistency after a few minutes of mixing.
  • Place the buttercream in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes.

Construction time…

With all your elements made, it’s time to get building.

  1. Grab a cake board, chopping block or plate and take your sponges from the freezer. Place the first sponge layer on the plate and add half of the pineapple filling and spread to cover the sponge.
  2. Add a generous dollop (roughly one and a half to two tablespoons) of buttercream and spread out the mix evenly.
  3. Place the second sponge on top and repeat the pineapple and butter cream process.
  4. Place the third sponge on top and add the rest of the butter cream to the top and sides of the cake, using a palette knife to cover and smooth out.
  5. Once coated, get some coconut shavings and sprinkle around the circumference of the cake top to create a border and cover the sides by holding a pile of coconut in your hand and scattering the coconut on the cake.
  6. Place the pineapple top in the centre of the cake and relax. Give the cake about 30 more minutes to fully defrost before plating up.

For more baking recipes, check out my dedicated baking section full of inspiration and head over to the #lockdowncakecollab on Instagram to see what other cakes were creafted.

Stay safe and eat well.

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